posted Aug 28, 2000

EFF DVD Update: LiViD Leader Challenges CA's Jurisdiction DVD & DeCSS8/28/2000; 10:58:42 AM I've subscribed to the EFF newsletter updating people on the DVD cases as they are occurring. They seem to have stopped archiving them, so here it is (as I assume they want this spread far and wide):This Tuesday, August 29th at 9:00 a.m., Judge William Elfving will hear oral argument over LiVid Project leader Matthew Pavlovich's motion to quash the California court's jurisdiction over him because he lives in Texas and has no contacts with California.DVD-CCA obtained a preliminary injunction when it filed a lawsuit in California state court against hundreds of individuals all over the world for publishing DeCSS software. DVD-CCA claims that anyone who posts the code is guilty of trade secret misappropriation and asked the California court to assert dominion over any foreigner who publishes the software. The preliminary injunction obtained earlier this year against Andrew Bunner and other named defendants is currently on appeal to California's Sixth District.Defense attorney Allonn Levy of Huber Samuelson will make a special appearance Tuesday morning on behalf of Pavlovich to challenge the California court's jurisdiction over the Texan. A ruling by the judge on the jurisdictional question is expected at the hearing, which is open to the public.Matthew Pavlovich's Motion to Quash for lack of jurisdictionDVD-CCA's Opposition to Pavlovich's Motion: the opening of the DVD-CCA's opposition; it demonstrates either a complete lack of integrity or a complete lack of understanding about who they are fighting, particularly the first sentance; the last clause is an outright lie.My impression of the competing claims is that it hinges on whether or not, by putting up a website containing DeCSS code, available to the general public, this can be considered as entering into a relationship with the State of California based on the fact that DeCSS's primary 'victims' are in California. If we take the truth of the plantiff's claims as given, this does not seem legally unreasonable. Under today's conditions, however, this effectively means that internet activities in the US can fall under the jurisdictions of any and all of the 50 states in completely non-obvious ways. While I object to the implications in the Internet era, which has swift and effective communication to the whole world all at once, I predict that the sqaushing motion will fail, because under established common practice, that's exactly what should happen.Interesting hypothetical question: If at the time the current ideas of jurisdiction were being created, it was possible and east to violate the laws of potentially every other state at once (except the one you are in), would we have the same ideas of jurisdiction as we do now? What would they be instead?For extra bonus points, how would we handle this problem if the LiViD author was in Libya? It's not just theoretical, either... there are international parties involved.


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