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Hollywood Can't Sue Texas Resident
By Jon Newton, p2pnet.net
(more articles from this author)
2003-01-16
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The US Supreme Court has upheld a California Supreme Court decision ruling that the entertainment industry can't force a Texas resident who published a software program on the Internet to stand trial in California. Its decision reversed an earlier temporary hold on a case involving DVD descrambling.

DeCSS is free software that allows people to play DVDs without technological restrictions, such as region codes and forced watching of commercials imposed by movie studios.

Norwegian teenager Jon Johansen originally published DeCSS on the Internet in October 1999. Under pressure from Hollywood, he underwent criminal prosecution in Norway.

On November 25, 2002, the California Supreme Court ruled that Matthew Pavlovich, who republished DeCSS online, won't have to defend a trade secret lawsuit simply because he knew his publication could cause "general effects" on the motion picture and technology industries in California.

And in the process, the court laid out clear jurisdiction rules for claims arising from publishing information on the Internet.

The Pavlovich decision is one piece of a larger legal struggle over Internet publication of DeCSS by thousands of individuals in fall 1999.

European open source developers created DeCSS so they could play their DVDs on Linux computers among other uses. DVD CCA, the sole licensing entity for a DVD-scrambling technology called CSS, sued hundreds of named and unnamed individuals and entities in the case on December 27, 1999.

The decision also impacts other defendants named or served in the legal struggle, all but one of whom are located outside California. The appeal of the preliminary injunction entered against the sole California resident named in the case, Andrew Bunner, is awaiting an argument date before the California Supreme Court.

SOURCE: p2pnet.net


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