The Sixth Appellate Court of California decided that Matthew Pavlovich, who is not a California resident, could be tried for violating the state's trade secrets law.
"The reach of the Internet is also the reach of the extension of the poster's presence," the ruling stated.
The decision follows what appeared to have been a small victory for Pavlovich in December 2000, when the California Supreme Court ordered a lower court to show he should remain in the case even though he is not a California resident.
Because of the ruling, others involved in the case living outside California will remain under the state's jurisdiction. The ruling could show that the Internet is not immune to California's long-arm statutes even when the publisher of the site is located outside the state.
The DVD Copy Control Association originally filed a complaint in December 1999 against Pavlovich for allegedly posting the DeCSS code on his Web site. The suit was meant to prevent the dissemination of DeCSS, a code whose original intent was to let programmers create a DVD player for Linux machines.
The movie industry and DVD CCA argued that DeCSS could be used to illegally copy DVDs and have taken legal action against people posting the code on their sites. In a federal case filed in New York, for example, the Motion Picture Association of America is suing 2600, a site that published and linked to the DeCSS code.
Allonn Levy, the attorney representing Pavlovich, could not be reached for comment.
"The very significance in it has held that persons like Pavlovich in various parts of the country are subject to jurisdiction in a California court if they did what Pavlovich did," said Robert Sugarman, an attorney at Weil, Gotshal & Manges and a legal counsel for the DVD CCA.