DeCSS Litigation Timeline

Below is a table that outlines Hollywood’s various legal battles to outlaw DeCSS software.

v. Mathew Pavlovich

Filed by DVD-CCAIn California State Courts under trade secret misappropriation claim.(Jurisdictional question).

v. Andrew Bunner

Filed by DVD-CCAIn California State Courts under trade secret misappropriation claim.(First Amendment issue).

v. 2600 Magazine

Filed by Eight Hollywood movie studios in NY Federal Court under the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

v. Jon Johansen

Filed by OKOKRIM & MPA in Norwegian Court under a data theft law for accessing own DVD on unauthorized computer.

Oct. 1999 – An Indiana University computer science student, Mathew Pavlovich maintains the website for the LiVID project onto which DeCSS was originally posted. Oct. 1999 — DeCSS published by 15-year-old Norwegian Jon Johansen on LiVID project, an open source software development team working to build a DVD player for the Linux operating system.
Dec. 1999 — DVD-CCA files lawsuit in California against hundreds of DeCSS re-publishers alleging trade secret misappropriation including Mathew Pavlovich. Dec. 1999 — DVD-CCA files lawsuit in California against hundreds of DeCSS re-publishers alleging trade secret misappropriation including Andrew Bunner, who originally read about the software on Slashdot. Dec. 1999 — Web publisher2600 Magazine covering California DeCSS litigation includes controversial code in publication.
Dec. 1999 – California Superior Court denies DVD-CCA’s first request to enjoin DeCSS web publishers.
Jan. 2000 – California Superior Court reverses earlier ruling and issues injunction against DeCSS web publishers. Jan. 2000 – Eight major Hollywood movie studios file new lawsuit against 2600 Magazine for publishing DeCSS under the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in New York. Jan. 2000 – Attorneys for DVD-CCA and MPA filed a complaint against Jon and Per Johansen with the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit (OKOKRIM) requesting their prosecution over publishing DeCSS.
Jan. 2000 – 2600 Magazinepreliminarily enjoined from publishing information on DVD decryption pending outcome of trial under DMCA.
May 2000 – Bunner/DeCSS publishers appeal injunction to California Court of Appeals for the 6th District as an unconstitutional restraint on freedom of speech
July 2000 – Trial of 2600 Magazine in New York for publishing DeCSS code, in violation of DMCA’s ban against providing information or tools that help to bypass technological controls.The defense presented testimony by Jon Johansen, Emmanuel Goldstein, Mathew Pavlovich, Professor David Touretzky, and Professor Edward Felten, among others.
August 2000 – District Court in New York sides with the movie studios and permanently bans 2600 Magazine from publishing DeCSS or even hyperlinking to other web sites that publish the information.
Sept. 2000 – Mathew Pavlovich appeals to California appellate court contesting the lower court’s assertion of jurisdiction over him since he is a non-resident with no connection to the state.Pavlovich also appeals to California Supreme Court.
Dec. 2000 – California Supreme Court grants Mathew Pavlovich’s petition for review and orders the appellate court to dismiss the case or show why jurisdiction is proper over Pavlovich.
Jan. 2001 — 2600 Magazineappeals district court decision on First Amendment grounds.Over a dozen diverse groups filed amicus briefs with the appeals court urging reversal of the lower court’s decision to ban DeCSS, including the ACLU, American Libraries Association, numerous law professors, journalists and publishers groups, among other public interest groups.
August 2001 – California Court of Appeals for 6th District rules that it has jurisdiction over out-of-state defendant Mathew Pavlovich for publications made to the mailing list he maintained.
Sept. 2001 – Mathew Pavlovich appeals to California Supreme Court (again) contesting appellate court’s decision which asserted jurisdiction over him.
Nov. 2001 – California Appellate Court over-turned the injunction against Andrew Bunner based on the First Amendment rights of Web publishers who republish information obtained in public domain.–DVD-CCA appeals decision to California Supreme Court. Nov. 2001 — 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals affirms lower court’s ruling to ban DeCSS under the DMCA, rejecting journalist’s First Amendment and fair use arguments.
Jan. 2002 –Jon Johansen indicted in Norway by OKOKRIM under Norwegian Criminal Code Section 145.2, a data theft law that carries a penalty of up to two years in prison.
July 2002 – 2600 Magazineannounces it will not seek U.S. Supreme Court review of the decision, but wait for a better challenge the DMCA.~ CASE  CLOSED ~
Nov. 2002 – California Supreme Court rules that the lower courts lacked jurisdiction over Mathew Pavlovich.
Dec. 2002 – Trial of Jon Johansen in Oslo City Court for building his own DVD playing software.
Dec./Jan. 2003 – U.S. Supreme Court initially grants and then withdraws a stay in lifting the injunction against Mathew Pavlovich pending DVD-CCA’s appeal of the California Supreme Court’s ruling that it lacks jurisdiction over Pavlovich. Jan. 2003 – Norwegian court found Jon Johansen innocent since he was accessing his own property when he tried to watch his DVDs on his computer and he made no infringing copies of movies.–Prosecution attorneys announced they will appeal Johansen’s acquittal on Jan. 20, 2003.
Aug. 25, 2003 California Supreme Court upholds free speech protections, but send case back to appellate court for re-consideration. Norwegian Borgarting appeals
court agrees to rehear Johansen
case on Feb. 28, 2003.
Nov. 25, 2003 – California Supreme Court rules state lacked jurisdiction over Pavlovich.
2nd Trial of Jon Johansen held by  seven-judge panel at appellate court in December 2003.
Jan 2004 – DVD-CCA files Motion to Dismiss case against Bunner.  Court denies request. December 22, 2003 appellate court exonerates Johansen (again).  Prosecutors fail to appeal  ruling to Norwegian Supreme Court.
Feb. 27, 2004 California’s 6th Appellate Circuit (once again) rules Superior Court’s issuance of injunction was an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of expression rights.


Table updated on Feb. 27, 2004

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