Forwarded from: Frode E. Nyboe <frodeenat_private> http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article.jhtml?articleID=466519 Kjetil Kolsrud 07 January, 2003 A Norwegian teenager who helped crack a code meant to protect the content of DVDs won full backing from an Oslo court on Tuesday. The court acquitted him on all charges, a ruling that comes as a crushing blow to public prosecutors and entertainment giants. The case had been widely described as a "David vs Goliath" battle, pitting 16-year-old Jon Lech Johansen from a small town south of Oslo against huge corporations and organizations including the Motion Picture Association of America. "David" clearly won. Norwegian prosecutors, acting largely on a complaint from the powerful American entertainment industry, had maintained that Johansen acted illegally when he shared his DVD decryption code with others by putting it out on the Internet. Prosecutors, who indicted Johansen after a raid on his bedroom three years ago, also had claimed the decryption code could enable pirate copying of DVDs. They seemed mostly interested in achieving victory in principle, rather than tough punishment for Johansen, and sought a sentence equivalent to three months on probation. Instead, they lost badly. Johansen and his defense attorney Halvor Manshaus won on all counts, with the Oslo court ruling that Johansen did nothing wrong when he helped cracked the code on a DVD that was his own personal property. The court ruled there was "no evidence" that either Johansen or others had used the decryption code (called DeCSS) for illegal purposes. Johansen therefore couldn't be convicted on such grounds, nor for acting as an accessory to other alleged illegal activity, wrote judge Irene Sogn in the court's ruling. Nor, wrote Sogn, was there any evidence that Johansen intended to contribute to illegal copying. The court determined that it is not illegal to use the DeCSS code to watch DVD films obtained by legal means. Johansen, who was just 16 when the fuss around him started, maintained all along that pirate copying was never his intention. Rather, he claimed, he was merely trying to avoid buying an expensive DVD player to view DVDs that he had bought. Johansen felt strongly that since he owned the DVDs, he should be able to view them as he liked, preferably right on his own computer. He needed to break the code on them in order to do so. The court, citing Norwegian laws that protect what a consumer can do with his or her own property, agreed. The decision had been eagerly awaited, with some legal experts contending it will have ramifications for Internet use as well as content property. - ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org To unsubscribe email majordomoat_private with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY of the mail.
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