The Chronicle of Higher Education informs us:
- The California Supreme Court ruled on Monday that a movie-industry group could not bring a lawsuit in the state’s courts against Matthew Pavlovich, a former computer-engineering student who published online a code to unscramble encrypted DVD’s. The court’s 4-to-3 decision held that California does not have jurisdiction over the case because Mr. Pavlovich is not a resident of the state and because his postings did not specifically seek to harm California businesses.
The decision was hailed by the Student Press Law Center, which defends students’ free-speech rights and which had filed a brief in support of Mr. Pavlovich. Officials of the organization had worried that if the movie industry won the case, students everywhere would be reluctant to publish on the Internet because they could be sued by companies or organizations in distant states.
“For college students, it’s especially important,” said Mark Goodman, executive director of the center. “They don’t have the resources to defend themselves thousands of miles away.”
But the court’s ruling was tempered by the justices’ statement that the movie-industry group probably could pursue a lawsuit against Mr. Pavlovich in Texas or Indiana. Mr. Pavlovich lives in Texas, and at the time of his Web postings, in October 1999, he was a student at Purdue University.