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Jon Johansen Indicted by Norwegian Authorities 331

Posted by michael
from the free-jon dept.
phlawed writes: "This story (norwegian) states that the authorities responsible for investigating economic crime in Norway today (after 2 years of "investigation") charged JLJ for violating a law regarding computer "break-ins", commonly known as the "hacker paragraph". This is for distributing the DeCSS sourcecode. The analysis so far (by media) is that the authorities not necessarily thinks JLJ is guilty, but due to unclear wording in the relevant law they seem to think that the courts should have a look at it... It is worth noting that JLJ has *not* been charged for violating any law regarding IP, piracy or such." I've only found one story in English, which is quite vague. Hopefully the above poster is correct in summarizing the situation.
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Jon Johansen Indicted by Norwegian Authorities

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  • by bodin (2097) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:08AM (#2816327) Homepage
    The norwegian version here [aftenposten.no] is identical to the English one.

    The motivation is that Jan has broken the crypto. "When you buy the disc, you buy the rights to play the movie, not to copy it".

    They just don't get it. You have to be able to decode the data to play it.

    It has NOTHING to do with copying.
    • by Hater's Leaving, The (322238) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:18AM (#2816399)
      Add to that the fact that it wasn't even Jon (not Jan) that broke the crypto, he merely hosted the source code files. The actual reverse engineer who wrote the original code was allegendly German, and as far as I know to this day remains anonymous (though pseudonyms, and the name of the cracker group they belonged to are known).

      I was thinking that maybe I could pack up my "Got DeCSS" T-shirts for posterity just last week, but hell no. The world is still full of shite and nonsense, and _we_ are still a tiny minority.

      THL.
    • by TheTomcat (53158) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:42AM (#2816560) Homepage
      [note: this is not going to be a popular opinion, but, please, think before slapping]

      It has NOTHING to do with copying.
      Originally, you are correct. DeCSS was built to decode discs without using one of the proprietary (and unavailable) players.

      BUT, unfortunately, it has opened the door to DVD copyright infringement ("piracy"), like it or not.

      You don't have to go far to find DeCSS being used in "shady" ways:
      http://www.dvd-copy.com/ [dvd-copy.com]
      http://www.dvdcopycentral.com/ [dvdcopycentral.com]
      http://www.howtocopydvds.com/ [howtocopydvds.com]
      http://www.dvdcopypro.com/ [dvdcopypro.com]
      .. I could go on.

      While it shouldn't be inherently illegal to decode and copy discs for legitimate purposes, that's not how DeCSS is being used, the majority of the time. It sucks, but it's true.

      To many people, it has EVERYTHING to do with copying (or decoding and re-encoding to other media, distributing, etc).
      • While it shouldn't be inherently illegal to decode and copy discs for legitimate purposes, that's not how DeCSS is being used, the majority of the time.

        Do you have some evidence of this? Some data? I could claim that Americans use guns to protect their homes, but most often guns are used to kill people. Is this because we always hear about it when somebody is murdered, but rarely hear about it when somebody repels a burgler by threatening with a gun?

        I can tell you that 100% of the people I know who use LINUX and own a DVD drive do not copy DVDs.

        The point is that you should not make these unproven claims. It strengthens the case of those who want to steal our fair use rights.

      • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:25PM (#2816867) Homepage
        the first thing to remember and to yell louder than everything else you say needs to be, DeCSS is not needed nor aids in copying DVD movies. DVD movies can easily be copied without DeCSS and were being copied without it easily before DeCSS existed. DeCSS does nothing to aid DVD copying, it was happening already.

        That needs to be the soundbite that every lay-person needs to hear fors and at at least 15 decibels louder than the rest of the explination.

        and I would add at the end how most every tool has a dark use.
        • Please explain how a DVD is copied without DeCSS. Are you claiming that I can make a bitwise copy of a DVD with consumer equipment, and that I will be able to play the copy in my DVD player?

          I didn't think this was possible using current _consumer_ equipment due to special sectors of the disk, media capacity, etc.

          The fact that commercial production houses can copy DVDs with their DVD mastering equipment is not relevant to any discussion of DeCSS since DeCSS makes _widespread_consumer_ copying possible.

      • "While it shouldn't be inherently illegal to slice and dice vegitables for legitimate purposes, that's not how kitchen knives are being used, the majority of the time. It sucks, but it's true. To many people, it has EVERYTHING to do with killing. Thus, kitchen knives should be banned and those who make them locked away."

        Now, does that argument make any sense for banning kitchen knives? No. The creator of something should not be held legally accountable for what people twist their creation to do. If a terrorist uses a VISA credit card to slit someone's throat, should VISA be punished for the murder? No. Are manufacturers of CD-ROM drives punished for the copyright infringement committed by people who read CDs with their drives?

        JLJ did not create DeCSS for the purposes of copyright infringement. While some people may have twisted it to that purpose, JLJ should not be punished for their actions.

        Never mind that the entire argument being used for this case is void. When you buy a DVD, you buy the DVD - the disk, the packaging, and a copy of the work. In Norway, at least, where they do not yet have an equivalen to the DMCA, you are still allowed to do anything you want with your property. (Except distribute copies)

        • JLJ did not create DeCSS for the purposes of copyright infringement. While some people may have twisted it to that purpose, JLJ should not be punished for their actions.

          IIRC the likes of the DMCA deliberatly ignores the issue of intent. (With many laws intent is the primary, possibly only, issue.)
          Also the determination of "primary usage" appears to be up to the plaintiff.
      • by Mr. Fred Smoothie (302446) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:44PM (#2817007)
        While it shouldn't be inherently illegal to decode and copy discs for legitimate purposes, that's not how DeCSS is being used, the majority of the time. It sucks, but it's true.
        Boy you're right.

        Also, look how guns are being used:
        http://www.police.nashville.org/news/media/1998/no vember/111298.htm [nashville.org]
        http://www.co.ramsey.mn.us/attorney/pr_thao.html [ramsey.mn.us]
        http://www.dallasnews.com/metro/arlington/arlingto n_news/STORY.ea7fa58a63.b0.af.0.a4.33ca3.html [dallasnews.com]
        http://woub.org/news/Stories/2001/January/010109-0 4.html [woub.org]
        http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/43950_murder24 .shtml [nwsource.com]

        <sarcasm>Looks like it's time to go after those gun manufacturers. After all, their products are clearly being used to break the law with disastrous results for society.</sarcasm>

        In our society, people are supposed to be held responsible for their *own* misdeeds, NOT the potential misdeeds of others. That was the heart of the Betamax decision, and it seems like the same standard should be applied here. DeCSS is not required for copying, and can be used for significant non-infringing purposes. PERIOD!

        • DeCSS is not required for copying, and can be used for significant non-infringing purposes. PERIOD!

          If that were true than using DeCSS would be OK and the MPAA wouldn't have a leg to stand on. But they do. The fact is that DeCSS doesn't have substancial no infringing uses. In fact, I can't think of a single non-infringing use that _requires_ DeCSS. If you can think of any please enlighten me.

          Keep in mind that the "Fair Use" right exalted here on /. doesn't protect the activities DeCSS is being used for. Playing a DVD under Linux is not a non-infringing use unless the Copyright holder tells you so. When you buy a DVD you have a license to play back that DVD on a licensed DVD player. PERIOD! You do not have a license to back it up, copy it to your harddrive, trade it on usenet, make a copy in a different format, play it in public, or play it on your computer witout a licensed player. None of these activities are protected by fair-use, first-purchase, or any other doctrine of US copyright law.

    • The motivation is that Jan has broken the crypto. "When you buy the disc, you buy the rights to play the movie, not to copy it".

      Remember that the software industry, in combination with the likes of the MPAA and RIAA, have pushed the view of using "equating" to "copying" WRT to anything "digital".

      They just don't get it. You have to be able to decode the data to play it.

      "They" most definitly do "get it", in terms of wanting to control the paying of the media. Even to the point of getting new laws created to give this kind of control a legal basis...
  • by bryan1945 (301828) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:08AM (#2816332) Journal
    Now that we have these super-encompassing, yet vague laws regarding computers, data, and the Internet, the authorities have to go and arrest (you'd figure after 2 years of investigations they would have a good idea if he was guilty or not!) people just to "try out the ideas in court"!

    "Hey you, come over here. I've been watching your for 2 hours, and I'm not sure if picking your nose is illegal, but let's see if the courts think that is obscene" (yeah, bad analogy)
    • Re:This is great (Score:2, Informative)

      by KenRH (265139)
      He has not been arrested, under Norwegian law you go free until such time as the court has found you guilty, unless there can be shown a risk for him destroying evidence, repeat offence or trying to run away.
    • Re:This is great (Score:4, Insightful)

      by M_Talon (135587) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:20AM (#2816415) Homepage
      "Hey you, come over here. I've been watching your for 2 hours, and I'm not sure if picking your nose is illegal, but let's see if the courts think that is obscene" (yeah, bad analogy)

      I don't think that's a bad analogy. That's just about what's happening with the copyright vs. fair use issues in America and apparently the world. The real problem is that too many times the person under indictment doesn't have the same financial (and thus legal) power to prove the law is flawed as say a mega corporation who has near endless resources to "prove" the law is correct.

      To extend your analogy, you've been arrested because nose-picking is obscene, but AOL-Time Warner helped put that law into place and they can spend $15 million on lawyers and lobbying to make sure the law is proved right. You can't afford that much, so you're already fighting on a non-level field. Most likely, you'll settle for a small fine or sentence, and now the law has been "proven" to work...even though no good argument against it has been presented in court.

      And that, my fellow /.ers, is the real obscenity.
      • To extend your analogy, you've been arrested because nose-picking is obscene, but AOL-Time Warner helped put that law into place and they can spend $15 million on lawyers and lobbying to make sure the law is proved right.
        Back in 1985, in Outremont, Québec, hassidic jews (the jewish equivalent of the taliban) were offended that people would sunbathe in public parks, since the display of human flesh is prohibited by their stupid religion. So, those first-class bigoted assholes pressured the mayor, Jérôme Choquette (whose fantastic human-rights track record includes a suspension of basic human-rights in 1970, when he was minister of justice, and invoked martial law, just to scare some political opponents). He obliginly passed a bylaw prohibiting bathing-suits within the municipality, since the jews have so much money and corrupt laywers (as Choquette is) really love money. (After stunts like that, the jews wonder why everybone hate them to guts...) Anyway, the happy ending is that the bylaw did not last 6 months, it was stuck down by the provincial court as inconstitutional, as only the federal government has the power to regulate, through the criminal code, how people should dress...

        To celebrate, the local newspaper had a picture of Santa-Claus in the park in question, wearing a red bathing suit with white fur edges...

    • Re:This is great (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ymgve (457563)
      a better analogy:

      "Hey you, come over here. I've been watching your for 2 hours, and I'm not sure if picking your nose is illegal, but since it's illegal in Bigcountryia and they feel offended by it, you'll be charged with obscenity. Come now..."
  • It might be worth noting that VG Nett has the same story here [www.vg.no].
  • by GauteL (29207) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:12AM (#2816353)
    .. and even though IANAL, I think the whole thing is pretty weak. He seems to be charged with paragraphs mostly used for cracking computers.

    The norwegian article states that the same laws were used to prosecute people cracking TV-coding so that they could watch TV-signals without paying. The norwegian supreme court concluded that those paragraphs could not be used to punish this incident.

    The weakest part to me seems to be the prosecutors words on buying a DVD:
    "When you buy a DVD, you buy the right to view it, but not to copy it".
    This is blatantly false, as people in Norway also have fair use rights to their purchases.

    I was actually a bit shocked to see that he was prosecuted. I would understand it under the DMCA, but Norway does not have these kind of laws.
    • by ymgve (457563) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:22AM (#2816422) Homepage
      The real reason that they're prosecuting him is that Økokrim (The department responsible for investigating computer crimes here in Norway) and their state prosecutor Inger Marie Sunde are dreaming about a police state where they have absolute control. A week or so ago, she said she wanted to outlaw the use of anonymous email. Normally, one would just ignore such a person, but her high position makes her really dangerous if she ever manage to pass the laws she want to.
    • Well, he did break the law. Me, I think Jon is a talentless semi-cracker that bragged about his efforts (He said first that he did the cracking, but later said the code was from a German guy and he only did the GUI and decrypting.


      here's the Norwegian law he broke:

      145. 1)Den som uberettiget bryter brev eller annet lukket skrift eller på liknende måte skaffer seg adgang til innholdet, eller baner seg adgang til en annens låste gjemmer, straffes med bøter eller med fengsel inntil 6 måneder.

      2)Det samme gjelder den som ved å bryte en beskyttelse eller på lignende måte uberettiget skaffer seg adgang til data eller programutrustning som er lagret eller som overføres ved elektroniske eller andre tekniske midler.

      3)Voldes skade ved erverv eller bruk av slik uberettiget kunnskap, eller er forbrytelsen forøvet i hensikt å skaffe noen en uberettiget vinning, kan fengsel inntil 2 år anvendes.

      4)Medvirkning straffes på samme måte.
      Offentlig påtale finner bare sted når allmenne hensyn krever det.


      What applies to this case is the second and fourth paragraph. The secon says that an attempt or breach of any security measure in a computer system or stored data is punishable. The fourth paragraph says that assisting to do this is equally punishable.


      OK, let's see how Jon can get out of this mess. If he has a decent lawyer, the third paragraph would come in to play. It says that damage has to occur before the law can punish him (With up to two years in jail) or it has to be a profitable crime . What damage has he done, exactly? Making more people able to watch DVDs? Hardly.


      Disclaimer: IAALS (I am a law student).

  • by Christianfreak (100697) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:12AM (#2816358) Homepage Journal
    Hopefully the above poster is correct in summarizing the situation.

    I love /.! :)
    • I donno, saying "I hope it is right" has a lot more credibility then just reading off the teleprompter and sitting above the logo. Real news agencies get stuff wrong too, in fact they almost always get technical stories wrong, but they almost never warn you ahead of time that they are a bunch of cluebags...

  • I've got fifty karma, let's play devil's advocate and see how many people I can get torqued at me.

    When you purchase a DVD, you are paying for the ability to play it on players approved by the people who made the disc. As much as everyone hates to admit it, there is nothing illegal about this. You can buy a DVD without owning a player, and if you do you can't sue about not being able to watch it. Likewise, you can't write a program that lets you watch it on something the makers don't want you to watch it on. Because if they knew you were doing that, they wouldn't sell you the movie.

    We have no 'rights' to view any movie, really. If we did, theaters couldn't make a profit off of tickets, and DVDs would only be priced high enough to cover costs.

    If you want to watch a movie, get a real DVD player. Don't complain because you can't do it on your Linux box. Don't write software that does something illegal. Just like you shouldn't sell de-scrambler kits for cable TV. Same thing, only software.
    • Re:What the hell.. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by smileyy (11535) <smileyy@gmail.com> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:24AM (#2816430)
      When you purchase a DVD, you are paying for the ability to play it on players approved by the people who made the disc.

      Under the DMCA this is true. The question is whether this will hold up under existing copyright laws.

      Your cable descrambler analogy is invalid, as in that case, the "pirate" has not paid for the content. In the DVD case, the user *has* paid for the content, and, (wholly IMO) has a right to use that content for personal use in whatever way they see fit.

    • "When you purchase a DVD, you are paying for the ability to play it on players approved by the people who made the disc. As much as everyone hates to admit it, there is nothing illegal about this. You can buy a DVD without owning a player, and if you do you can't sue about not being able to watch it."

      All true

      "Likewise, you can't write a program that lets you watch it on something the makers don't want you to watch it on."

      Here's the problem. In fact, you can write a program for that purpose. Reverse-engineering is allowed for the purposes of interoperability (at least at the moment in the USA). And I have the right to do whatever I want with that disc as long as I do not violate the copyright -- which means I cannot distribute, publicly broadcast/show the content, etc. Watching it on a linux player in my home, ripping it and converting it to Divx or a VCD, taping it onto VHS, none of these activities are illegal, because they do not violate the copyright.

    • Re:What the hell.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by klaun (236494)
      We have no 'rights' to view any movie, really. If we did, theaters couldn't make a profit off of tickets, and DVDs would only be priced high enough to cover costs.

      The problem with this line of argument is that when you go to a theatre, it doesn't look like you are buying anything. The transaction doesn't make you believe that you are buying the theatre or the spool of film. When you buy a DVD the transaction does look like you are purchasing something, not like you are entering into a contract, or licensing agreement. There has been strong legal precedent that if a transaction looks like you are buying something then you are.

      Elsewhere the poster said: When you purchase a DVD, you are paying for the ability to play it on players approved by the people who made the disc. As much as everyone hates to admit it, there is nothing illegal about this. You can buy a DVD without owning a player, and if you do you can't sue about not being able to watch it.

      How did you get to be the arbiter of this? I'm sorry but the courts disagree. If it looks like a purchase then it is. Basically, you are saying that DVD purchase is a privelege of "club members" and that you get to be part of the club by purchasing an approved DVD player. Most states have laws governing how such clubs operate that as far as I know are being ignored by DVD player manufacturers and retailers.

      P.S. I have moderator points, but I replied to this post rather than mod-ing it down, so all you people that bitch about that should mod me up!

      • More devil's advocacy from me:

        Yes, of course you may do with the DVD what you wish, short of violating copyright, under pre-DMCA law.

        However, the DMCA forbids trafficing in a tool to circumvent access control mechanisms used to protect copyright. Thus, it is difficult, if not illegal, to obtain the tool to let you excersize your fair use and explicit interoperability rights.

        The problem is clearly that the tool necessary to excercize your rights is the same tool that can be used to violate the copyright holder's rights (even as this can be done without the tool), and because of this "danger" access to the tool is restricted.

        Consider the following analogy (which may not hold in some parts of the world, particularly the U.S.): you have a right to defend yourself, but there is a prohibition against posession of firearms (gotta love that second amemdment). There may be circumstances where shooting someone is the only available self-defense option. Yet, firearms are restricted, even as they have legitimate, and legal uses: the dangers supposedly outweigh the benefits.

        Of course, I think such laws are insane, and I have intentionally used code like libdvdcss.so to enable me to watch DVDs that I purchased under GNU/Linux. The firearm case is more controversial, of course, because it deals with life and not just money (though you'd think that Valenti, Rosen, et. al. have those priorities reversed).

        The way I see it, under present law (ObWarning: I am not a lawyer), is that you may view that DVD any damn way you wish, but it might be illegal for others to provide you with the means to do so if you can't do it yourself. This is absurd.

    • Re:What the hell.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pmc (40532) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:32AM (#2816486) Homepage
      I'm bored, so I'll bite. I'll stop at your first error.

      When you purchase a DVD, you are paying for the ability to play it...

      When you purchase a DVD then you can do anything you want with it - except distribute copies of it. Manufacturers may try to contrain your use to uses that they approve of, but none of these are enforcable.

      Your argument falls to bits after this cornerstone is removed.

      3/10 - Must Try Harder.
      • Nope. Read the recent court decision in the 2600 case. The Appellate court dismantles the defence's right to view argument and specifically states that with the DMCA it is the right to decrypt the work that is at issue.

        Furthermore, it is the copyright holder who retains the right to give permission to decrypt. So if the MPAA thinks their isn't a legitimate DVD player for linux they are perfectly in their rights to say you can't play a CSS encrypted DVD using software like LiViD.

    • by Sloppy (14984) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:35AM (#2816501) Homepage Journal

      When you purchase a DVD, you are paying for the ability to play it on players approved by the people who made the disc.

      Nowhere on the packaging does it say this. There isn't any indication, prior to the sale, that the usage of the DVD is so unusually restricted.

      Just as when I purchase a book, I am not just paying for the ability to read it by the light of some particular manufacturer's lamp.

      When you buy something, you're paying for what you expect. Sometimes when you buy something, there is a detailed contract that actually spells it out explicitly. In the case of most "consumer" things, it is not explicitly spelled out, and it's just common sense.

      Also, keep in mind that when DIVX was still around, people who promoted DVDs said that one of the advantages of DVD over DIVX was that DVD was a real standard. Calling something a standard has huge implications about what you can do with it. Now that DIVX is dead, they're trying to take back what they said? Sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want the larger marketshare and competitive advantages that come with adhering to a standard, then you accept that your product will be used in a manner where it interoperates with other parties that you have no relationship with. You can't have standards and monopolies at the same time. It is too late for MPAA or DVDCCA or whoever it is, to redefine what the customer's expectations are. That would be fraud.

      • When you buy something, you're paying for what you expect. Sometimes when you buy something, there is a detailed contract that actually spells it out explicitly. In the case of most "consumer" things, it is not explicitly spelled out, and it's just common sense.

        Even where these are specifically spelled out they can't rewrite regular statute and case law. Indeed the legal status of shrink/click-wrap contracts was unclear enough to prompt the invention of UCITA.

        Sorry, you can't have your cake and eat it too. If you want the larger marketshare and competitive advantages that come with adhering to a standard, then you accept that your product will be used in a manner where it interoperates with other parties that you have no relationship with.

        There is also another way in which, especially proprietary software, trys to "have it's cake and eat it". That is by attempting to apply the kind of contract which would be applicable if the customer had specifically contracted the producer to make the product whilst at the same time selling the product like a tin of beans...
    • Re:What the hell.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Genom (3868) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:57AM (#2816639)
      When you purchase a DVD, you are paying for the ability to play it

      When I purchase a DVD, I'm paying for a plastic or cardboard clamshell-style box, (with accompanying boxart, liner notes, etc...) containing a DVD disc - a physical object - that contains data which, under the right circumstances, can be converted to a viewable picture and accompanying sound.

      If I only wanted to purchase the right to watch the movie, I'd go to a theatre, use Pay-Per-View, or go rent the movie.

      Purchasing the DVD allows me to own a physical object, in the same way that purchasing a hammer, book, or notebook computer allows me to own a physical object.

      If I want to use that hammer to pound nails, I can. I don't have to buy a specific brand of nails, or buy them from a specific store. I can buy any nails I want, from wherever I want, and pound them with the hammer. I can even forego the nails alltogether, and use the hammer in a manner that doesn't involve pounding anything, if I can find a use for it. I own the object.

      If I want to read the book, I can. If I want to photocopy or transcribe parts of it for use in a review, educational work, etc... I can. I can even rip out all the pages of the book and use them as toilet paper if I want. I can burn all the pages of the book (as long as the resultant fire doesn't set the house alight, of course) as kindling to start a fire in the fireplace. I can put the book under a table leg to even out a wobbly table. I can make photocopies of the pages, and plaster my walls with them if I so desire. I can run the pages of the book through OCR software and a text-to-speech program to listen to it (I might be blind) I own the object.

      I can disassemble the notebook computer (voiding the warranty, most likely) and put it's parts back together into a completely different machine - or mix and match parts to build a better machine. I can install any software or operating system I want. I own the object.

      Yet, the argument with DVDs is that you're ot buying the object, that you're instead licensing the content on the disc. What a load of bullshit. I see no "licensing agreement" plastered on the outside of the clamshell case. Yet, if I legally purchase a notebook computer with a DVD drive (blessed by the DVD-CCA, as it's illegal to sell one that isn't) and legally purchase a DVD, unless I'm also running a blessed PLAYER, I can't play it? Bull.

      In addition, if you buy a DVD player, you can (generally) only buy DVDs in the same country as the player. Unlike the hammer, where you could buy your nails in Urugway, China, or England, and still use them, with DVDs, your'e forced to only buy from the country you bought the player in. They do this so they can charge different prices in different areas of the world. This is also called price fixing, and is VERY illegal - yet because the DVD consortium is a giant monied cartel, they are able to simply buy their way around these international laws that would normally prohibit such actions.
    • Re:What the hell.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sql*kitten (1359) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:25PM (#2816863)
      When you purchase a DVD, you are paying for the ability to play it on players approved by the people who made the disc.

      If that's true, and I subsequently damage the physical DVD in a way that's no-one's fault but my own, I should be able to get a replacement from the publisher for no more than the cost of the media, duplication and shipping. The fact that this isn't the case suggests that there's little legal precedent for your point.

      Obviously, accidental damage may be covered by insurance, and a faulty DVD has to be replaced for no extra charge because it's not fit for the purpose for which it was sold.

      The argument that you're paying for the right to listen to a piece of music too falls apart, because if that's what you'd bought, then everyone should have been able to upgrade from vinyl to CD for cost of media and distribution. That wasn't the case either.

      So, the media conglomerates are trying to have their cake and eat it, selling you a piece of commodity property and a contractual obligation in one go. The free market is in the process of solving this by disintermediating them. It will just take a while to get the technology out there for musicians and fans to interact directly.
    • Re:What the hell.. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by wurp (51446)
      You are arguing about what is legal, with the tacit assumption that what is legal is right. This is not the case. It is our obligation to try to ensure that what is right is legal. If something that is wrong is legally mandated, or if something that is right is illegal, it is our obligation to break the law.

      As an extreme case, I would imagine that one was legally obligated to turn in your Jewish neighbors in Nazi Germany. It doesn't take too much thought to recognize the fallacy of confusing morality with legality in this instance.

      There are rules that are good for everyone if everyone follows them, but it's beneficial for the individual to break them. Everyone benefits if there is some entity there to enforce everyone behaving that way. That's what government is for. Anything that the government does beyond that is tyranny, and don't let them fool you into thinking that legality == morality. We give great power to the government, and if they can trick you into thinking that anything they use it for is by definition right, they will abuse it hideously.

      So, to bring this back on-topic: Decide for yourself if it is beneficial for everyone overall to allow decrypting DVDs. Then try to make the government do what's right. Personally, I think that restricting reverse engineering, restricting people from reporting security flaws, and the lot of other restrictions that come with the DMCA is tragically imbalanced with the 'benefit' that it theoretically gives (helping put our money in the pockets of some already filthy-rich media executives).
      • Hear, hear!

        As one who has made a public decision to use whatever tools I can so I can listen to, watch, archive, and distribute (within my own home, for my own purposes) audio and video in the form of CDs and DVDs for which I have paid dearly, even as I may be breaking some inane law in the process, I applaud you.

        I do not believe what I am doing is wrong, and therefore do it openly and publicly. While I probably wouldn't redistribute a turnkey system that would significanly ease others' attempts to violate copyright law, I'd have no qualms in eventually describing what I did and how to anyone who wants to reproduce my efforts for their personal convenience.

        In my case, the stakes are rather higher than for most: I am a Canadian in the U.S. legally on an H1-B visa, with a green-card petition pending. I can be deported for breaking the law. I am supposed to be a law-abiding person. And, against the ultimate law of the land, the U.S. Constitution, I believe that I am. In fact, it is my respect and admiration for the principles in that document and the Bill of Rights that compel me to object to what I perceive as unconstitutional laws, and to disobey them in a civil manner. I believe H. Thoreau had a lot to say about that.

        I've seen what happened when Canadians took their rights for granted, and didn't defend them: we have a "notwithstanding" clause in our constitution, added c. 1982 that effectively lets the government trump the courts. This has been used to prevent public communication and commerce in languages other than French in Quebec (ironic, since it was a separatist Quebec government that used that law to their benefit), among other things.

        Americans are in grave danger of losing the liberties they value above life itself (if Patrick Henry is to be taken as an example of a patriot) to a combination of rapacious fictional corporate citizens and corrupt government. It would be a sad day indeed, if the principle of liberty set forth by such a great nation was to be snuffed out by it's own hand.

    • ..., and if you do you can't sue about not being able to watch it.

      Yeah, maybe. But I can put the disc under my ass and fart on it, can't I?

      But then again, I wouldn't do that, as that's a waste of my energy on something I disdain. Well, even farting requires energy, so...
    • When you purchase a DVD, you are paying for the ability to play it on players approved by the people who made the disc.BR>
      This is stated exactly where?

      As much as everyone hates to admit it, there is nothing illegal about this.

      Nor is there anything legal about it either.
  • by yggdrazil (261592) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:16AM (#2816380)
    A quick translation of the law in question: "To break a protection mechanism or otherwise getting unauthorized access to data which is stored or transmitted electronically or by other technical means, and cause damage by gaining or using such unwarranted knowledge." (Copied from story [aftenposten.no] in Aftenposten in Norwegian.)

    Aftenposten also has a story [aftenposten.no] in English.

    This is the exact same paragraph which is used to convict hackers in Norway.

    He might very well get convicted, I'm sad to say. He did break a protection mechanism, or distribute a means to break a protection mechanism. Although that mechanism was severely flawed.
    • A quick translation of the law in question: "To break a protection mechanism or otherwise getting unauthorized access to data which is stored or transmitted electronically or by other technical means, and cause damage by gaining or using such unwarranted knowledge."

      But what about the ", and cause damage by gaining or using such unwarrented knowledge" bit? It's not illegal to break in, it's illegal to break in and cause damage. At least, that's how I read it.

      • Not only that... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by schon (31600)
        But what about the ", and cause damage by gaining or using such unwarrented knowledge" bit? It's not illegal to break in, it's illegal to break in and cause damage.

        Not only that, but unwarranted knowledge is the kicker - it says that you can't break in to something you don't have the rights to

        Since you've already purchased the DVD, you have the rights to view it.

        The previous posts about this being applied to TV descramblers makes sense - you don't have the right to view the scambled signal, because you haven't subscribed.. but since you can already legally view (you have "warranted knowledge") the disc, the whole thing goes out the window.
    • I'm Norwegian too, and I think actually the law is pretty clear, and I really can't understand how they can indict him after this wording.

      The encryption isn't protected, the movie is. So, if he hadn't bought the movie but grabbed without having bought it, he would have broken the law. But he didn't do that. The movie was his. He bought it. He has the right to access it, according to the law.

      Even Jon Bing, a law professor and a huge authority in Norway, and well, I guess I should refrain from any characterizations of him, even said that he thought JLJ didn't break the law.

      I don't think they can win this case.

    • But the access was authorized. He bought the DVD. There is no law I am aware of that says you can't minutley examine your own possessions.
    • From the law you describe, the courts would have to prove that he got "unauthorized access to data ... and cause damage by gaining or using such ...".

      If he bought the DVDs that he used to break the encoding, then does he have the right to access the data? If so he hasn't gained 'unauthorized access' so hasn't broken the law.

      And even if he doesn't have the right to break the encryption on his own DVD, they still have to prove he caused damage because of the unencrypted data. The law is protecting the data on the disks he decrypted, not the encryption. Thus, I would have thought he is pretty safe.

      Oh, and by the way, I guess the Slashdot interview with him [slashdot.org] may be of interest again.
    • Authorized? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by friartux (89443)

      I suspect someone's going to have a field day talking about the word "authorized" in that law.

      Obviously access is authorized, otherwise no one could play the movie on *anything*.

      And who gets to "authorize" the access? Does Norway permit companies to write their own little bits of legislation defining "authorization"? And to "authorize" helping themselves to more money by creating more middleware (pay for the disc with the movie, pay for the decoder, pay for the displayer, pay for a chair to park your ass in while you watch it)? Is building your own furniture now illegal, too? :)

      Alternatively, are those who write versions of "login" equally culpable under this misbegotten law? After all, it permits access to systems and data, and might conceivably be misused to gain "unauthorized" access.

      Hopefully Afterposten will continue with English translations on this story...
      • (pay for the disc with the movie, pay for the decoder, pay for the displayer, pay for a chair to park your ass in while you watch it)?
        Actually, until about 25-35 years ago in France, whenever you went in a park and sat on a loose chair (loose chairs were provided in the parks and squares), a lady would come and collect a minimal fee from you... At least, you had a comfortable chair your could put wherever it suited you (shade/sun). Just as whenever you went in a public loo, you'd have to pay a pittance to the dame pipi that kept the premises spotless...
  • by InterruptDescriptorT (531083) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:17AM (#2816390) Homepage
    Hey, if the Norwegian authorities determine that it is indeed illegal to distribute the DeCSS source code, does that mean that the Norwegian authorities will call the FBI to have US citizens arrested, detained and then extradited to stand trial in Norway?

    I mean, after all, isn't that what the FBI does now? When a foreign national breaks a US law but is not currently in the country, we have foreign law enforcement authorities extradite them to the US to stand trial. The US government has been doing this for years--imagine if the Norwegian government began to do that same? The country would be devoid of DVD-owning Linux users. :-(
    • by vidarh (309115) <vidar@hokstad.com> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:26AM (#2816446) Homepage Journal
      It's not the same. He has been indicted in Norway, because they claim he has broken Norwegian law. Besides, there is no extradition treaty between Norway and the US, and Norwegian courts are in general careful about extraditing anyone to the US due to a general scepticism of the US court system.
      • He has been indicted in Norway, because they claim he has broken Norwegian law. Besides, there is no extradition treaty between Norway and the US, and Norwegian courts are in general careful about extraditing anyone to the US due to a general scepticism of the US court system.

        Many countries refuse to extradition to countries who fail various human rights criteria. Most obviously through use of capital punishment, though there is a rather long list which applies to the USA.
  • by bob@dB.org (89920) <bob@db.org> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:17AM (#2816391) Homepage
    My translation of the Dagbladet (norwegian newspaper) article. Spelling and gramatical errors are mine, factual errors are those of Dagbladet and the norwegian Police.

    The 18 year only Jon Lech Johansen has been indicted for breaking the "computer trespasing" paragraph of the norwegian criminal code.

    Thursday January 10, 2002 14:02, updated 14:53.

    This is confirmed to NTB by attorney Inger Marie Sunde. Johansen has since January 2000 been charged by the norwegian financial crimes unit (Økokrim) after being reported by the american movie- and entertainment organization Movie Picture Association (MPA).

    The background is that Johansen in 1999 participated in creating a program, DeCSS, that make it possible to play back DVD movie under the Linux operating system, and made it available on the internet. The program can also be used to decrypt the content of DVD-disks and makes it possible to copy the movie.

    Johansen is indicted for participating in breaking the protection system Content Scrambling System (CSS), that protects the content of DVD-disks from copying.

    Johansen is indicted based on the criminal code paragraph 145, parts two and tree Sunde informs the NTB.

    From the inditement:

    "- For by breaking a protection scheme, of by similar activities unjustly having gained access to data stored of transmitted by electronic or other technical means and by having caused damage by gaining or using such unjustly obtained knowledge."

    The charged offense carries a maximum sentence of 6 months in prison.

    • Same old lie... (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Cyberdyne (104305)
      ...the protection system Content Scrambling System (CSS), that protects the content of DVD-disks from copying.

      Does it hell! Will someone please explain to these reporters that encryption has no effect on copying whatsoever?

      An encrypted block of data is exactly as easy to copy as the plaintext it was made from. All the CSS encryption system does is force those wanting to play a DVD to agree to a license from the DVD CCA (the licensing outfit controlling the encryption keys). Ultimately, I think this is what the MPAA and co want: control. Bit by bit, they build up their control; Macrovision, no skipping the FBI warning, region coding - maybe next you won't be able to skip the trailers, either? Then some sort of pay-per-view version (DiVX tried, but was too early - then. Will it return in another guise?)

    • In the published article [nettavisen.no] by NetAvisen it is stated that this law has previously been tried by the Norwegian Suprem Court on descrambling Cable signals.
      The court found that this law could not be used for punishing that act, so I think that the court will find in favor of Johanneson and give us a clear victory.
      I can see little difference between scrabled TVsignals and encrypted Video, both used for same purpose. The encryption is not for any Privacy issue only for restricting useage.
    • (Norwegian, IANAL) This law is intended to be used against a third party that manages to get information he should not - by breaking encryption, by trojans, by social engineering or any other means. But in this case the data is legally purchased when buying the DVD, with no licence restrictions. It does not provide access to any other data than those you already have access to by playing the disc normally, as you would have to be in possession of the DVD disk to use it. That these data are now without a copyright protection scheme is irrelevant, as we have no DMCA, only actual copyright infringement is illegal. I think it'll be shot down in flames.

      Kjella
    • My translation of the Dagbladet (norwegian newspaper) article. Spelling and gramatical errors are mine, factual errors are those of Dagbladet and the norwegian Police.

      Doh! Now they'll be after you for abusing the intellectual property rights of Dagbladet!
    • The law was clearly intended to apply to breaking into computers, not cryptanalysis of published information. But, as worded, cryptanalysis might well fall within the scope of the law.

      Still, the "having unjustly gained access to data" clause will probably save him--it seems a stretch to argue that cryptanalysis of a legally purchased medium whose decrypted contents are also available constitutes "unjustly gaining access".

  • by kaiidth (104315) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:23AM (#2816426)
    DeCSS isn't a trade secret any longer, according to this [kuro5hin.org] kuro5hin story from November, and also according to the story linked to from the Norwegian site... According to the EFF even the DVD CCA have stopped attempting to limit [eff.org] its distribution.

    Also, according to this [shmoo.com], the DVD CCA claimed at least once that reverse engineering the CSS code was 'in principal lawful', and that the illegal part of it was from the fact that the reverse engineering was done from a piece of software which required you to click through a contract that said you agreed not to do so.

    All of which makes me wonder why the Norwegians have decided to make a fuss about it now. Just when I thought we'd finally heard the last of CSS lawsuits.

    Added to which, I have no idea about the Norwegian law but surely the kid was a minor at the time? He's only 18 now! Maybe it's different in Norway but most countries seem to relax laws somewhat for children...?
    • I know why "the Norwegians" have decided to make a fuss about it.

      It all comes down to parts of the prosecution and government in Norway, trying to be soooo concious about their "international responsibility".

      The Norwegian prosecutors have blindly followed the US without questioning if this is actually is even remotely illegal in Norway. Trying a case "just to see if it is illegal" is just BS.

      Electronic "shrink wrap"-contracts isn't even VALID in Norway. Not in the least, so this argument cannot even be used.

      The courts should just dismiss this case, and give a warning to the prosecutors that the next time they try a case without a clear notion that something illegal has happened, they would be in contempt (is that spelled correctly?) of the court.
    • IANAL, but looking at the k5 link, it seems that distributing the key is only legal in CA. And that only for the time being. The decision(s) of the CA Supreme Ct. are only binding there, not over the rest of the US. And certainly not the rest of the world.

      Although, it is not unusual for the US to demand that other countries prosecute foreign citizens for breaking US law, even though the US doesn't always do the same (ie, prosecute USians for breaking the same law in the US)
  • Better yet, just have everyone's pay check automatically deduct 30% and send it to RIAA/MPAA. Since everyone is a crook including every executive at RIAA/MPAA, we should all just give in.
  • by leroy152 (260029)
    are they indicting him just to get a judge to make a ruling about the law? Isn't the adgenda of prosecutor to put criminals away and not to try potentially innocent (they're not even sure) with an intrusive court case just to find out a judges interpretation of an ambigious law.

    Next thing ye know, they'll have prosecutors setting up people just to see if a new law can be applied, wait for a conviciton, then if the innocent can be bothered with an appeal, add in a statement such as "Oh, it was kinda entrapment, it just didn't seem relevant to tell the court at the trial *shrug*, but at least we know how the law should be interpreted!".

    Then again, I might be completely wrong, and if that's the case then ... mookle.

    Cheers,

    leroy.
  • MPAA's Logic of CSS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Catiline (186878) <akrumbach@gmail.com> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:30AM (#2816471) Homepage Journal
    I'm not associated with the MPAA, but after some thought on this I came up with the only reasonable explanation for their behavior.

    They (of course) don't want to ever lose control of their works. Their ideal world would be one with no public domain at all, no fair use, and every time you sang "Happy Birthday" you made a mircopayment.

    So here's what they do. First they need to get total control of their current works, so they create a "copy control scheme"- yes, CSS. But wait, CSS doesn't stop copying- pirates can copy a DVD and the CSS layer (with the right equipment; almost certainly possible with the same used by the studios to make the DVDs to start with, or such with small modifications). So CSS won't effectivly stop copying, just "unauthorized" access.

    Step two in this nefarious scheme is to make it illegal to break this protection scheme (vis a vis the DMCA). And now, the perpetrators rest assured that (barring any bumps) they can now gain income on their works forever. Why? Because I can't try to de-CSS (or if you prefer DeCSS) a DVD movie (even one that has passed into public domain) without doing something illegal. So whoever CSS'd the movie in the first place becomes the only legal distributor, even though the content may (technically) be in the public domain.

    Yes, even I recognize this as being overtly paranoid, but I challenge you to come up with a better alternative explanation of recent events.
    • by blakestah (91866) <blakestah@gmail.com> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:09PM (#2816720) Homepage
      You missed step three.

      After decryption is broken, get in bed with Microsoft. Have Microsoft patent the use of trusted RAM and trusted operating systems (already done) so that only Microsoft and its licensees (MacOS) will be able to play encrypted movies. The next generation of encryption will include decryption devices in the playback hardware - the monitors, and the speakers. These will become industry defaults, and will apply not only to movies by the MPAA, but also to streamed media delivered via the Internet (which is then rendered uncopyable, principally because it cannot even be played on an open source OS). Hardware makers go along because all computer users have to upgrade again, and unless you can force another upgrade cycle, everyone already has a computer powerful enough to do what they use it for.

      Microsoft and MacOS thus become the only viable operating systems for playing movies, music, and streamed media via the internet (which can then be sold viably because it cannot be copied). Think I am kidding - come back in two years when this is happening.

      As for Johansen, the MPAA is simply making him suffer a little. They want nothing more than to prevent anyone else from becoming a Jon Johansen. So, they dug for months to find any law that could be used to even indict him. This will not be the end, either, I suspect civil charges will be next. The MPAA is protecting the crown jewels, the IP law it bought from Congress, and it has a LOT of value at stake.
    • There is another step (call it 3 or 4)

      Do not let artists or other content creatores distribute products without paying the studio or label.
      If they control the press than artiests will only be able to say what the studios and labels will let them. At the price the studios want to pay.

      Artists will not get payed and audance will pay more.

      Freedom of Speach is at at stake here.
    • by Legion303 (97901) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @03:18PM (#2818237) Homepage
      They (of course) don't want to ever lose control of their works. Their ideal world would be one with no public domain at all, no fair use, and every time you sang "Happy Birthday" you made a mircopayment.

      They're already getting that world. http://eon.law.harvard.edu/openlaw/golanvashcroft/ [harvard.edu] discusses a challenge to two copyright act amendments which effectively hose PD (namely, the Sonny Bono CTEA act and the URAA, which allows companies to retroactively reassign copyright to works already in the public domain). Predictably, the Crackdot editors were so busy hitting "reject" that they missed the submission. That or they didn't think it was important that PD works are being raped by media corporations.

      You touched upon the apparent real reason the MPAA is pushing so hard for these types of laws: they don't care if the work is copied, they just want to have absolute control over its distribution. It would be nice if the courts started looking more closely at region encoding.

      -Legion

  • ...he is being charged with this here and now?

    According to this article [aftenposten.no] he was charged around Jan 2000?

    What happened?
    • No, in Jan 2000 all his computers and stuff was confiscated as evidence, he was questioned and so forth. He was not charged with anything - but he was placed 'under investigation'.

      The investigation took two fucking years.
  • Two Things (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xonker (29382) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:36AM (#2816512) Homepage Journal
    One: is there a fund for Jon that we can contribute to?

    Two: I wonder if the MPAA or movie studios could be sued for false advertising? If you notice, all advertisements for DVDs like "Shrek" or whatever scream "own this DVD NOW!" Yet, the studios emphatically deny that customers actually own the DVD or the right to do anything with it other than play it on an officially sanctioned player. If you "own" the DVD doesn't that imply the right to play it in any way you want, or can do with it as you will? Obviously, you don't own the rights to the content, so re-distribution is out -- but I'd think ownership should require the right to decode the content for personal use.

    Class action suit, anyone?
    • Re:Two Things (Score:2, Informative)

      by cecil36 (104730)
      You could send off a donation to the EFF [eff.org]. I'm not sure if the EFF will be able to set up a legal defense fund in Norway to assist DVD-Jon in his pending case. Regardless, the donation can always be used in case the MPAA and/or RIAA makes a bigger mess out of access control or copyright issues in the US.
  • by Seth Finkelstein (90154) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @11:44AM (#2816571) Homepage Journal
    As Jon Johansen put it himself in an old interview:

    http://www.linuxworld.com/linuxworld/lw-2000-01/lw -01-dvd-interview.html [linuxworld.com]

    Jon Johansen: I'm 16 now, I was 15 when it happened ... and the encryption code wasn't in fact written by me, but written by the German member. There seems to be a bit of confusion about that part.

    LinuxWorld: The other two people that you had worked with to make the player are remaining anonymous -- is that right?

    Jon Johansen: Yes, that is correct.

    ...

    LinuxWorld: Do you know why they want to remain anonymous?

    Jon Johansen: They are both a lot older than me, and they are employed. So I guess they just didn't want the publicity, and they were perhaps afraid of getting fired.

    He's a wonderfully plain-spoken person. My other favorite Jon Johansen quote is from when he was responding to reporter Declan McCullagh, and Declan was arrogantly giving Jon a hard time for not immediate returning Declan's request for comment:

    Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 21:26:23 +0100

    From: Jon Johansen (Micro Media ADB)
    Subject: [Livid-dev] Wired article on legal threats

    I assume you've read a great deal of articles on the subject? If you have, you might have noticed that I'm only 15 years old; which means I go to school. Norway is GMT+01. You should be able to figure out the time difference, and when I would be available for comment :)

    Sig: What Happened To The Censorware Project (censorware.org) [sethf.com]
  • People showed up in the court when Skylarov was charged.

    Should the norwegians able to do so show up (say, with large banners with the DeCSS source code and the proper buttons and slogans) when the case is tried? Would it be a wise thing to do? And anyone with me?

    It also looks like (from NettAvisen) that the authorities are mostly after trying out the hacker paragraph and not necisarrily get him convicted...

    Lastly, I don't think it's been mentioned yet that MPAA is responsible for this...they hired the lawyer that convinced the authorities into charging him (according to www.itavisen.no).

    - Dag Sverre, Bø i Telemark
  • Ho hum. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jd (1658) <imipak&yahoo,com> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:07PM (#2816708) Homepage Journal
    Let's start with some basic maths:


    Insanity x Insanity = Insanity. This proves that insanity is the identity element.


    Having got that out the way, let's look at that quote from the lawyer a bit closer. "You buy the rights to watch the movie, not to copy it."


    Pardon me for not being able to directly teleport the digital signal off the DVD, descramble it in my brain, and view it without the aid of any mechanical device. For, surely, should you require a mechanical device to view the DVD, then you must have two copies at the time of viewing. One on the DVD, and one generated by the device used for viewing.


    Conclusion: To have the right to view a DVD IS to have a limited right to copy the DVD, as many times as you like, so long as the copies are transient, and exist only for the duration of viewing the DVD. (If you want to be absolutely merciless, you could argue that they can only exist for the duration of viewing a frame. But the duration WILL be non-zero, no matter how short you require it to be.)


    So long as DeCSS does not, in and of itself, produce permanent or semi-permanent copies, but rather produces a stream of transient images, then it is not a copying device. It is a viewing device. To produce a copy, you must produce a means of creating a more permanent rendering.


    This reminds me of a "hacking" case in England, back in the 1980's. Someone broke into Prince Philip's private e-mail account. He was accused of counterfeiting the "key", as I recall, as there was no law specifically against computer cracking at the time. The prosecution argued that typing in a password constituted posessing and using a pick-lock, which was illegal.


    The defence argued that the password never actually resided on the alleged system cracker's computer, and therefore posession never occured. (Yes, they accepted, the password was -temporarily- there, but that an instantaneous existance did not qualify as residing.) If there was no posession, then the alleged cracker could not be guilty of the exact crime as charged. They then argued that the courts were there to judge the offence, as stated, not to decide the morality of the defendent.


    Again, as I recall, the defence won, and a whole slew of new laws were rapidly drawin up, in an attempt to fix the mess. (The "Computer Misuse Act" dates from around this time, along with the "Data Protection Act".)


    The same logic would seem to apply to Jon Johansen's case. The courts aren't there to decide if DeCSS is moral or immoral. They are there to decide if it constitutes, in this case, unauthorized access to, or unauthorized use of a computer, through the process of unauthorized duplication.


    The parallels seem clear to me. DeCSS doesn't posess any copies, for the same reason. Each block of data exists instantaneously, and therefore actual posession does not occur. If no copy exists, in a legal sense, then no duplication has occured. If there is no duplication, then there is no unauthorized use - at least, in terms of what is charged. It is irrelevent, for any legal purposes, whether the use was authorized or not for anything other than what is charged. The charge is the sole concern. (At least in theory.)


    Once you go down this path, you can see that the case almost has to collapse, if Jon can get a decent lawyer. Whatever your personal belief, with regards to DeCSS, whether you believe it is right, wrong or indifferent, your beliefs really are irrelevent to what the courts decide. The judge has one decision to make, and one alone: Does the law fit the facts? Yes or no. No twisting, no modifying, no reading between the lines, no adding stuff. If the answer is no, and I can't see how it could be anything else, then Jon Johannsen is innocent of the charge.


    (Personally, I think he's innocent, without qualifiers, that DeCSS is a perfectly legitamate piece of software, and that lobby groups in the US are abusing their power to manipulate overseas authorities. I also think that those lobby groups should be brought to justice for such abuses of power. However, that's another matter altogether, as that's not the matter before the Norwegian courts. Although, I suspect that if such abuses were mentioned and proved by the defence, the judge would be unlikely to be sympathetic to the plaintif. Judges don't usually like being pawns. Especially in public.)

    • I know this is superficial and sensationalist in comparison to your , but let's consider gun laws for a second (I love to find inconsistencies).

      A gun in itself is by American standards not a bad thing at all - unless the person posessing it is a bad person. Even then, he will have to commit a crime before any reaction occurs.

      DeCSS can be used to view DVDs on linux - a perfectly resonable use. Even if we are only allowed to view the movie, but that is in the contract we effectively signed when we bought the damn disk. So, DeCSS can be used in a legal way.

      How, then can you hold Jon Johansen responsible for the misuse of his (and the anonymous ppl behind him) work? The gun manufacturers are not put to prison when someone is shot. No weapons engineer working for the government is held responsible unless the weapons are faulty and kilsl the wrong ppl. Then they get fired.

      Many of same people running after the DeCSS crowd with torches and handcuffs are the ones defending liberal gun laws. What does that make those people? Oh. Yeah. "Hipocrites".

      Sad part is, they've got the law on their side.

      So, "justice for all"?

      Oh - and I know Jon Johansen is Norwegian. I am too. He's being charged by the same paragraph the suits used to try to stop illegal satelite descramblers. That didn't work. This probably won't work, either. Most Norwegian legal experts seem to agree that the Government case is extremely weak.

      Makes you wonder who pressured them into pursuing a case they are doomed to lose.
  • by alsta (9424) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:12PM (#2816744)
    Here goes my attempt at a translation, might not be very accurate mind you...:

    Economic Police has decided to seek indictment against Jon Johansen for breaking the Computer/Data Crime Law. Johansen has been indicted for breaking the copy protection on DVD-discs. The indictment is no surprise, says Jon Bing.

    For two years, the Economic Police has investigated the case gainst the young man[?]. Johansen is a member of a computer group which developed the computer program DeCSS. The program can be used to copy the contents of DVD-discs.

    American picture associations cite that Johansen has been part of a breach of copyright law. Economic Police has sought indictment against the 18 year old man[?] for breach against the Crime Law's[?] paragraph 145.2. jfr3.ledd. [?]

    Circumventing protection
    - We have indicted Johansen for having circumvented the copy protection on DVD-discs. He has willfully cracked the protective measures. When you buy a DVD-disc, you buy the right to play it, not copy it, attorney Inger Marie Sunde said.

    In January, two years ago, the police took action and searched the room of Johansen. Among other things they seized large portions of his computer equipment and the 18-year old's mobile telephone.

    The computer community has displayed creat concern that the, then, 16-year old became the target of the Economic Police. This lead to lots of collections of funds for a possible litigation on behalf of the boy. Attorney Cato Schiotz became involved as Johansens defender, but the case was taken over by Terje Svendsen with Schiotz law firm.

    - We would like to have gotten the investigation to end sooner, but it has taken lots of time now. There has been lots of data that needs analyzing and we have used that time with consideration to our resources, says Sunde.

    Natural to try the DVD case
    - It isn't a surprise that there is an indictment against Johansen under the Crime Law[?] paragraph 145. We thought we had a clear case with that law, but the High Court has created doubts. Thus it isn't strange that Economic Police wants to try the matter. It is not said that they want a conviction of Johansen, says a Law Professor, Jon Bing.

    - So Johansen is used as a legal precedent?

    - No, not like that. But it is an unclear situation and we want to be sure to get a resolution to it. The DVD case is a good case to try like that. It is not clear if what he has done is against the law, but I think it is proper to indict, says Bing to Nettavisen.

    Economic Police has not sought indictment against John Johansen for breaching the Descructive[??] Law and it was expected from several parties, said Bing, unsurprisedly.

    - No, I understand that well. If you open the door to a book store, you haven't distributed the books, said the law professor.

    In the Law text which laid ground for the idnictment it says "He who knows to break a protective device or by similar means knowingly obtains access to data or program equipment, stored or electronically transferred, or by other technical means. Causes damage by authoring[?] or use of similar knowledge, or breach by personal gains, can be imprisoned for up to 2 years. Accomplices are punished by similar means."

    Long wait
    Svendsen has previously said that the investigation has been a burden for the young man who was barely 16 years old when he became the suspect for the Economic Police.

    District Attorney Inger marie Sunde has for the past two years spoken to the press that the matter will soon reach conclusion. But no sooner than Thursday, Jan 10, almost two years to the day after Johansen was arrested, the Economic Police made public that they will seek indictment against him.

    The Criminal Law that Johansen is indicted under, has previously been tried twice in the Norwegian Justice System. That time it was about descrambling TV-channels from cable TV. The High Court concluded that time that the law could not be used to punish unlawful access to TV and radio signals.

    Economic Police says that because of the fact that one can't tell different types of data apart and this is because the law can be used to convict Johansen.

    - Data is data, Sunde said.

    The District Attorney says to Nettavisen that the indictment now is ready to be submitted to the court. That means the case against Jon Johansen probably will be tried during this year.
  • ya know... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pcgamez (40751) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:20PM (#2816821)
    Its all about how DeCSS is being used. There ARE many legitamate people using it for legit reasons. For instance, I own a copy of both the VHS and DVD versions of The Matrix. Why do I not have a right to have a copy of my PC?

    YES, I understand it is not legal, but that is not the issue. What is law and what is moral is always in a struggle.
  • by snillfisk (111062) <mats AT lindh DOT no> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:24PM (#2816857) Homepage
    The vg.no article earlier mentioned has a quote from one of the people working in the norwegian cs community;

    "DVD-Jon won his case in the USA, so its kind of strange that they're starting this here in Norway now. It may be because they want to `put him out there` to scare other people off."


    In another article at dagbladet.no [dagbladet.no] there's a quote from "Økokrim" (which is handling the prosecution).


    "We want a conviction / judgement"


    which may indicate what someone else hinted; that they want a clearification of the law. To quote the indictment (if i got that one right. :); he being prosecuted:

    "for breaking a protection or in other ways unauthorized gaining access to data / information stored or transmitted with electronic or other technical means and for having caused damage by acquisition or by use of such unwarranted knowledge."


    I'd think to get an conviction in this case, they'll have to prove the fact that he produced (as he said it himself) the GUI for the program - and that this in fact has caused a loss for the movie-industry.

    There's a also a quote in the same article from "Jon Bing", which is one of the better known sci-fi writers (well, we really dont have that many) and computer-philosophers in Norway, where he's wondering if they really have anything to convict Jon by. We'll see.

    As others also has pointed out, the norwegian "Økokrim" has had several examples of bad judgement the last week, especially the part of making anonymous email illegal, since they discovered that childpr0nrings has been using this as an method. [irony] I'd also suggest making photographic film illegal, since this is what makes it possible. In addition i'd render all sorts of digital cameras unlawful .. and you'd probably get 10-15 years in prison for owning a handycam or DV-cam.[/irony]

    Hopefully they'll come to common sense and "discover" that he's not guilty. At least not according to the law he's being charged with.
  • Well, duh.. (Score:2, Funny)

    by Curly (49104)
    When someone in Norway is indicted he probably is named Jon Johansen...
  • by st0rmshad0w (412661) on Thursday January 10, 2002 @12:56PM (#2817086)
    I find this remark very curious:

    "When you buy the disc, you buy the rights to play the movie, not to copy it"

    Curious because its technically correct, I'm not paying them a dime for the right to copy it, its already a right that I have. Its called "Fair Use".
  • by thelaw (100964) <spam@@@cerastes...org> on Thursday January 10, 2002 @02:31PM (#2817869) Homepage
    securityfocus [securityfocus.com] has another english-language story on this, which can be found at http://www.securityfocus.com/news/306 [securityfocus.com].

    jon
  • You may be interested in today's Dagbladet Story:

    http://www.dagbladet.no/nyheter/2002/01/10/30549 1. html

    Helps in translating words & phrases are at:

    http://www.freedict.com/onldict/nor.html

    http://dictionaries.travlang.com/

    http://home.online.no/~otjoerge/files/word.htm#G

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