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[dvd-discuss] Jon Johansen indicted ([wild@eff.org: EFF: Norwegians Indict Teen Who Published Code Liberating DVDs])

There are lots of news articles on this now.

----- Forwarded message from Will Doherty <wild@eff.org> -----

From: Will Doherty <wild@eff.org>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 13:04:07 -0800
Subject: EFF: Norwegians Indict Teen Who Published Code Liberating DVDs

Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release

For Immediate Release: January 10, 2002


Robin Gross
  Intellectual Property Attorney
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  +1 415 436-9333 x112 (office), +1 415 637-5310 (cell)

Cindy Cohn
  Legal Director
  Electronic Frontier Foundation
  +1 415 436-9333 x108

Norwegians Indict Teen Who Published Code Liberating DVDs

U.S. Entertainment Industry Pressured Norwegian Prosecutors

Oslo, Norway - Acting years after pressure from the U.S.
entertainment industry, the Norwegian government yesterday
indicted teenager Jon Johansen for his role in creating
software that permits DVD owners to view DVDs on players
that are not approved by the entertainment industry.

On January 9, 2002, the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit
(?KOKRIM) charged Jon Johansen for creating software called
DeCSS in 1999 when he was 15 years old.

"Johansen shouldn't be prosecuted for breaking into his own
property," said Robin Gross, staff attorney at the
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). "Jon simply wanted to
view his own DVDs on his Linux machine."

"Although prosecutors in Norway failed to defend the rights
of their citizens against Hollywood?s unprecedented
demands, we are confident that neither the Norwegian people
nor their justice system will allow this charge to stand,"
added EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn. "The movie studios
have used intellectual property rights to silence
scientists, and censor journalists. Now, they are declaring
war on their customers."

Johansen's indictment comes more than two years after the
Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) initally
contacted ?KOKRIM prosecutors to request a criminal
investigation of the Norwegian teen and his father, Per
Johansen, who owned the equipment on which the DeCSS
software was posted.

Johansen originally published DeCSS as part of the open
source development project LiVID (Linux Video) in building
a DVD player for the Linux operating system. The MPAA CSS
licensing entity, named DVD-CCA, refuses to license CSS to
projects such as LiVID, which is an open source project
collaborating on the Web to build interoperable software
tools. LiVID's independently created DVD player software
would compete with the movie studio monopoly on DVD players
while offering more consumer friendly features.

DeCSS also enables people to exercise their fair use
rights with DVD movies, like fast-forwarding through
commercials or copying for educational purposes.

In January 2000, Johansen won the prestigious "Karoline
Prize" for his DeCSS software innovation. This national
prize is awarded yearly to a Norwegian high school
student with excellent grades who makes a significant
contribution to society outside of school.

?KOKRIM Chief Prosecutor Inger Marie Sunde indicted
Johansen, who recently turned 18, for violating Norwegian
Criminal Code section 145(2), which outlaws breaking into
another person?s locked property to gain access to data
that one is not entitled to access.

Johansen's prosecution marks the first time the Norwegian
government has attempted to punish individuals for
accessing their own property. Previously, the government
used this law only to prosecute those who violated
someone else's secure system, like a bank or telephone
company system, in order to obtain another person's records.

Norwegian prosecutors did not indict Per Johansen, but
his son Jon Johansen could face two years in prison if

MPAA also requested ?KOKRIM charge Johansen with
contributory copyright infringement; however prosecutors
declined. Johansen?s trial could start before summer 2002.

On November 1, 2001, the California Court of Appeal for
the 6th District unanimously overturned a lower court's
injunction that banned the publication of DeCSS on trade
secret grounds, citing the First Amendment rights of
individuals to independently obtain or derive information
claimed to be a trade secret by DVD-CCA.

In another legal case to outlaw DeCSS, brought under U.S.
federal law, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York
recently upheld a lower court's ruling that ordered 2600
Magazine to remove DeCSS from its online publication,
including hyperlinks. Jon Johansen provided testimony
in the 2600 Magazine case.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will continue to
handle both of these U.S. DeCSS cases and is determining
its role in the Johansen case.

Additional information on Johansen case:

Jon Johansen?s testimony at the 2600 Magazine trial in New
York under the DMCA (July 20, 2000):

Declaration of Jon Bing, Norwegian legal expert on lack of
legal precedent in Norway to support ?KOKRIM?s indictment
(filed in California DeCSS trade secrets case):

Additional information on DVD CCA cases:

About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression, privacy, and openness in the information
society. EFF is a member-supported organization and
maintains one of the most-linked-to websites in the world at


----- End forwarded message -----

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