Washington, DC – The Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) today commended the California Supreme Court’s decision yesterday to deny jurisdiction in Pavlovich v. Superior Court (DVD CCA). The court determined that jurisdiction in California may not be based on the mere act of posting information on a website accessible in the state. This ruling prevents a dangerous precedent that would have harmed all website operators.
Matthew Pavlovich helped maintain a website where DeCSS, a program that is alleged to violate the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), was posted. At issue was whether state courts in California could exercise jurisdiction over Mr. Pavlovich without a showing of more significant contacts with the state. Mr. Pavlovich was a student in Indiana at the time the suit arose and currently is a resident of Texas.
Ed Black, President and CEO of CCIA said: “Our nation’s legal precedents are clear: one must ‘purposefully avail’ himself of the benefits of a particular forum to be subject to the jurisdiction of that forum. Mr. Pavlovich’s only contacts to the State of California were that he, like millions of people, helped maintain a website that could be viewed there. He neither lived nor did business in California and had no real contact with California. Clearly, he did not ‘purposefully avail’ himself of the benefits of California law, the standard required by the United States Supreme Court. To subject Mr. Pavlovich to personal jurisdiction in California would have set a disastrous precedent. If followed in other states, any website operator would be subject to the laws and courts of any jurisdiction in the United States that has Internet access — jurisdiction anywhere and everywhere.”
CCIA filed an amicus brief in this case, which can be found here. The brief did not take a position on the underlying dispute.