Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Advisory

California Court Asserts Jurisdiction Over Non-resident Internet Publisher

For Immediate Release: August 8, 2001


Robin Gross, EFF Staff Attorney - Intellectual Property,
  +1 415-436-9333 x112
Lee Tien, EFF Senior Staff Attorney,
  +1 415-436-9333 x102

On August 7th, the California Sixth Appellate District issued an opinion denying Matthew Pavlovich's motion to dismiss the case against him for lack of personal jurisdiction over him.

Pavlovich, who was a college student in Indiana and now lives in Texas, claims postings made to the LiVID mailing list, which he ran from his home computer should not subject him to defending himself in California. LiVID is an open source development team working to build a DVD player compatible with the Linux operating system that could compete with the movie studios' monopoly on DVD players. In January 2000, a California judge issued an injunction banning dozens of individuals, including Pavlovich, from publishing DeCSS computer code.

Today, the court held that because Pavlovich knew the movie business was in California, publishing information that might have an effect on its profits was a sufficient connection to find Pavlovich within the court's purview.

This ruling magnifies the ability of Hollywood or other businesses to successfully sue anyone in the world who publishes information on the Internet which the movie studios claim could hurt their profits. Pavlovich is considering an appeal of the order to the California Supreme Court on Constitutional Due Process grounds.

Text of ruling:

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