- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 4, 2003


Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor yesterday threw out an emergency stay that barred a former webmaster from putting DVD decryption programs on the Internet.

Justice O'Connor had imposed the stay last week, at the urging of a group that licenses software to film studios to block the illegal copying of DVDs.

New York lawyer Jeffrey Kessler said the association fears that Matthew Pavlovich will repost programs that help people duplicate movies for free.

Mr. Pavlovich's attorney said that he has no plans to do that and argued to Justice O'Connor in filings that the stay was unnecessary because decryption programs are already available on hundreds of other Web sites and they have been published in magazines and newspapers.

The DVD industry has been aggressively trying to stop illegal movie copying, which it says costs the industry billions of dollars.

Justice O'Connor's decision was the latest development in a running dispute between the California-based DVD Copy Control Association and Mr. Pavlovich. The association sued him in California when codes that allow people to copy DVDs were posted on his Web site in 1999. He was a college student in Indiana at the time.

A ruling by the California Supreme Court, in Mr. Pavlovich's favor, makes it more difficult for the movie industry to pursue people who use the Internet to share copyrighted material.

The court said because Mr. Pavlovich does not live in California and his Web site was not based there, he cannot be sued in California courts.

A lower-court judge had issued an order that prohibited Mr. Pavlovich from putting DVD copying programs on the Web; the California Supreme Court decision nullified that prohibition.

The DVD industry persuaded Justice O'Connor to issue a temporary stay last week and said it planned to appeal the state court decision.

Mr. Kessler said yesterday the group may reconsider an appeal, because of Justice O'Connor's action.

In dissolving the stay, she did not comment on the merits of the case.

Mr. Pavlovich now lives in Dallas. His attorney, Allonn Levy, said he did not put the DVD copying information on the Web site in 1999 it was posted by someone else and that "it's unlikely he'll post it in the future."

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