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[dvd-discuss] DVD Jon wins appeal

Jon, if you're still reading this list, congratulations!


DVD-Jon wins new legal victory

Norway's most famous computer whiz got an early Christmas present on 
Monday. An appeals court in Oslo upheld Jon Lech Johansen's earlier 
acquittal on all counts of alleged copyright violations.

A verdict in the case, which has caught international attention, wasn't 
expected until early January. But the appeals court (Borgarting 
lagmannsrett) apparently didn't see any need to wait with its decision.

A panel of judges Monday cast aside the appeal that prosecutors had filed 
to a lower court decision handed down in January. That means the lower 
court's decision will stand, at least until another eventual appeal takes 
the case to Norway's supreme court.

The lower court had ruled that Johansen, now 20, did nothing illegal when 
he helped crack DVD copy protection codes in 1999 and then publicized how 
he did it. The prosecution had sought a suspended jail term, confiscation 
of his computer equipment and a fine of NOK 20,000 (less than USD 3,000).

Prosecutors had put Johansen back on trial earlier this month for his role 
in creating a software solution that removes copy protection from DVD 
films. He was dubbed "DVD-Jon" after he helped crack the copy protection 
code as a teenager and then published it on the Internet.

He became an instant hero to those who finally could watch DVD films on 
their computers instead of being forced to buy expensive DVD players, but 
he incurred the fury of some of the biggest players in the entertainment 
industry. It all turned into a classic "David and Goliath" situation, with 
Johansen ultimately facing prosecution by Norway's white-collar crime unit 

In January, Johansen won. An Oslo court cleared him of all charges that his 
role in creating the so-called "DeCSS" program was a violation of copyright 
and an invitation to wide-scale piracy.

Prosecutors appealed the verdict, only to be knocked down once again by the 
higher court.

The new ruling was made by a panel of three professional judges backed up 
by four lay judges, two of whom had technical expertise relevant to the case.

Aftenposten English Web Desk
Nina Berglund

James S. Tyre                               mailto:jstyre@jstyre.com
Law Offices of James S. Tyre          310-839-4114/310-839-4602(fax)
10736 Jefferson Blvd., #512               Culver City, CA 90230-4969
Co-founder, The Censorware Project             http://censorware.net