From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Jan 15 2002 - 08:00:15 PST

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    Forwarded from: Frode E. Nyboe <frodeenat_private>
    This is the English version of EFN's Norwegian press release.
    The text is also found at the following URL:
    FRIDAY, JANUARY 11, 2002
    The civil rights movement Electronic Frontier Norway (EFN) notes
    that ěkokrim (The National Authority for Investigation and
    Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime in Norway), after
    two years of investigation, has brought charges against Jon
    Johansen in the 'DVD case'.
    Xkokrim's leader Inger Marie Sunde claims to the Norwegian News
    Agency NTB that public interest necessitates indictment in this
    EFN declares that this prosecution is opposed to public interest
    and contributes to undermining and erasing fundamental consumer
    rights.  The authorities are uncritically giving in to lobbying
    from and a shortsighted and unchecked self-interest of American
    film- and entertainment industry giants.
    Jon Johansen, in collaboration with others, made a program (DeCSS)
    which allows anyone to play a DVD-disc on computers which have
    open operating systems such as Linux installed.  DeCSS circumvents
    a software access control mechanism called CSS, which is
    incorporated in most DVDs.  The essence in the DeCSS case is that
    CSS restricts PLAYBACK, and NOT copying.  So in fact, CSS bars a
    consumer from playing a legally obtained DVD disc in a player of
    choice.  These kinds of restrictions on playback not only reduce
    the value of the DVD disc to the consumer, they also erase the
    right to watch a DVD where, when and how a consumer wants to.
    CSS does not restrict the copying of DVDs, and can therefore not
    be seen as a protection against unauthorized copying/piracy.
    Piracy can be done with or without (bypassing) CSS.  However,
    American film and entertainment industry giants have contrived,
    via intense lobbying, to get laws passed which have made it
    illegal to circumvent all types of digital restrictions
    (software-based obstructions) on digital content.  These digital
    restrictions are user access blocks that apply to playback as well
    as copying.  This way, the consumer's right to choose playback
    equipment, and the right to produce copies for personal use, has
    effectively been outlawed.  This is no different than a law
    restricting, for example, the right to copy music from a CD to an
    audio tape for use in one's car or at work, or to create an audio
    tape with one's own selection of music.
    Unfortunately, there is a dangerous trend involving all types of
    digital media and content whereby all carrier products of digital
    content (such as DVDs, CDs, E-books, and others) are encumbered
    with different types of user access restrictions which severely
    impede or eliminate the user's ability to play back as well as
    copy.  The reason or impetus for this trend is the film and
    entertainment industry giants's unchecked craving for shortsighted
    economic gain by forcing consumers to (1) buy playback equipment
    at inflated prices (cheaper competing products are forced out of
    the market by the digital access restrictions, thus establishing
    an artificial monopoly) and (2) buy many separate copies of the
    same work (one for the home, one for the car, one for the
    workplace, one for the cell phone...).
    EFN affirms that the indictment against Jon Johansen is alarming
    and hostile to all consumer interests.  A ruling against Johansen
    would imply a criminalization of normal and fundamental consumer
    rights.  A victory for Jon Johansen, however, would be a victory
    for all consumers, and a step in the right direction towards
    restoring consumer rights and interests.  Jon Johansen is innocent
    and must be found not guilty and be given full redress.
    EFN Press Contacts:
          Bjxrn Remseth (EFN president)
          Email: rmzat_private
          Cell phone: +47 9134 1332
          Knut Yrvin (EFN member of the board)
          Email: knutyat_private
          Phone: +47 2232 0202
    EFN is a Norwegian civil liberties organization working to protect
    and promote freedom of expression, privacy, the use of open media
    formats on the net, public access to online resources and
    information, and open standards for IT infrastructures.  Inspired
    by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in the USA, EFN was founded
    January 19, 1995.
    ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org
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