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About Dan Svantesson

MJuris (Luleå Tekniska Universitet, Sweden)
Research Highlights - Legal Actions Cause Technological Reactions
The fact that the Internet has changed the way people act is widely recognised. But the fact that the way people act is leading to changes in how the Internet works, has gained much less attention.
IT law researcher Dr Dan Svantesson, from Bond’s Faculty of Law is examining how legal actions have motivated the use of Internet technologies that restrict access to websites based on the web-surfer’s geographical location. “One of the greatest risks with online publications is that once something is available on the web, it is virtually being published globally”, says Dr Svantesson.
Since the rules of private international law often focus on the location of the effect (i.e. the place of downloading), this means that once you publish online you can be sued almost anywhere in the world where your content is deemed illegal. In response to this situation, many website publishers have started to try to limit the geographical reach of their websites. If you sit at a computer in Australia and, for example, visit the website of US-based TV network, Showtime (, you will be greeted with the following message ‘We at Showtime Online express our apologies; however, these pages are intended for access only from within the United States’ – you simply cannot access the website!
While there are other reasons, such as marketing motivating the use of these sorts of technologies, they are frequently used as a direct response to the risk of legal actions being brought against the publisher of the website.
The High Court of Australia has contributed to this development through its overly broad decision in the Internet defamation dispute between Melbourne businessman Joseph Gutnick and the US publishing company Dow Jones & Company Inc. In that case, the Court decided that Mr Gutnick could sue Dow Jones in Australia, under Australian law, despite the fact that the article complained of might have been lawful in the US where it was uploaded. Dr Svantesson comments that “While the decision may have been appropriate in the circumstances of that particular case, the Court has created a dangerous precedent”.
As those who publish on the Internet become more aware of the legal risks associated with such publications, they will inevitably start taking measures to avoid those risks. As such, the development of so-called geo-location technologies is only natural. The problem is that insufficient attention has been given to the public policy consequences of this path. We are clearly witnessing how the Internet is being transformed from the world’s first and only ‘borderless’ communications medium, into something that much more resembles our ‘real’ world, divided by borders of different kinds.
Other Research Interests
Apart form his interest in IT related law, Dan is also an active researcher within the law of obligations. Currently, he is examining plausible structures for the codification of Australian contract law. “The volume of case law, particularly when combined with what seems like an endless flow of lengthy and complex statutes, put the Australian contract law in an unhealthy state.” says Dr Svantesson. In codifying Australian contract law, he suggests it could be made more systematic, simpler, clearer and more accessible. Further, the codification process could be a vehicle to unify Australia’s contract law and to let it evolve and become better adjusted to international conditions.


Present Professor of Law, Bond University

Curriculum Vitae


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Honors and Awards

  • 2016 Faculty of Law Research Excellence Award
  • 2016 Vice-Chancellor’s Research Excellence Award

Contact Information

Faculty of Law Bond University Gold Coast, Queensland, 4229 Australia
PHONE: +61 7 55951595


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