This essay proposes a way of dealing with the strict liability of Internet sellers of other manufacturers’ products, such as Amazon under its ‘Fulfillment by Amazon’ program. I discuss and reject two approaches to the problem that have been proposed by the courts, and advance a view according to which the relevant inquiry is whether Internet intermediaries such as Amazon could have prevented a defective product from reaching the US market. This view accounts in a satisfactory manner for the notion of responsibility that is at the core of US strict products liability law, and avoids the pitfalls of alternative policies. However, since this view also entails a de facto quasi-immunity to lawsuits for Internet intermediaries in many cases, safeguards to that quasi-immunity are also addressed. While the essay focuses on US law, the principles and policies under discussion should be applicable in other jurisdictions as well.
Ioan-Radu Motoarcă, A market-based approach to internet intermediary strict products liability, International Review of Law, Computers and Technology, https://doi.org/10.1080/13600869.2020.1792687. Published online: 13 July 2020.