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I was wondering if all websites in the world need to be compliant with the EU Cookie Law.

For example a company website of a US company, hosted in the US but serving visitors in the EU.

Also, does the situation change when that US hosted website used a CDN (content delivery network) and cache content (partly) within the EU?

In other words (like @Mowzer suggested):

Does merely serving content alone constitute "operating" in the EU (or any other specific jurisdiction)? Which, in turn, subjects the operator to that jurisdiction's internet laws and regulations?

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  • Do you mean "are legally required" or are you asking if it would be a good decision? – user6726 May 1 '16 at 20:32
  • I suppose it would be a good decision to be compliant with it. But indeed "are you legally required to"? – Bob Ortiz May 1 '16 at 20:33
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If you operate in a given jurisdiction you must comply with that jurisdictions laws. There are over 190 sovereign nations in the world many with sub-national jurisdictions; no one said this was easy.

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  • But the interesting part is that visitors can come (unexpectedly) from all over the world? So should every website prepare for EU visitors to comply with the EU law? – Bob Ortiz May 1 '16 at 21:15
  • Is the website operating in the EU. An information website for a plumbing maintenance company based in Mobile, Alabama is probably not. A book publisher who will ship to the EU probably is. – Dale M May 1 '16 at 21:29
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    My interpretation of @dwarf015 's question is: Does merely serving content alone constitute "operating" in the EU (or any other specific jurisdiction)? Which, in turn, subjects the operator to that jurisdiction's internet laws and regulations? And I think DaleM's answer is. No. It does not. – Alexanne Senger May 1 '16 at 21:41
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    @Mowzer probably not. Until someone gets taken to court over it we don't really know. – Dale M May 1 '16 at 21:43
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    It's worth noting this is a common answer to most questions of the nature: Am I subject to regulation X? One can really never know for certain until the regulator seeks enforcement action. This is because regulators rarely if ever cede their regulatory authority a priori. In fact, regulatory agencies generally tend to behave in the opposite fashion. Most tend to err on the side of over enforcement. As this is the nature of bureaucracies in general. – Alexanne Senger May 1 '16 at 21:48
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This is an unanswerable question. The closest thing that can be given as an example is yahoo vs Union of Jewish Students and the International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, where yahoo (a US based company) was selling Nazi memorabilia in france which is illegal. The French court threatened yahoo with fines and yahoo said we are not in your jurisdiction, the us court said that they were not going to get involved until the fines were issued. In the end yahoo conceded and put ip restrictions on the Nazi memorabilia.

No fines or prosecution was ever handed down only ever threatened.

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