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"DVD-Jon" Faces Retrial 366

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-got-no-money-honey dept.
An anonymous reader submits: "Norway's special division for white-collar crimes, Økokrim, has decided to appeal the acquittal of 19-year-old Jon Lech Johansen, accused of copyright violation for helping bypass DVD code protection, web site Nettavisen reports."
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"DVD-Jon" Faces Retrial

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:40PM (#5119915)
    ...if at first you don't succeed: trial, trial again.

  • I don't know a whole hell of a lot about Norwegian law, but in the US, wouldn't that be considered Double Jeopardy?
    • by jeffy124 (453342)
      no, it wouldnt.

      In the US, prosecution would have to find new evidence. Also, in the US, someone could get acquitted at the state level, but re-prosecuted at the federal level. For example, the cops who beat up Rodney King were re-tried at the federal courts (and found guilty), after being let loose in CA state courts.
      • Actually, didn't they charge the cops with a different crime in the second case? My understanding of US law was that if you are acquitted of a criminal offense at any level, the prosecution cannot appeal to a higher court to overturn that ruling.
        • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Monday January 20, 2003 @03:14PM (#5120150) Homepage
          The Supreme Court ruled that it does not violate the double jeopardy clause of the 5th Amendment to try someone at both the state and federal level. It's hard to imagine how they managed to interpret it that way. You can read some about it here [findlaw.com]. I don't agree with the logic. The Supreme Court seems to be focused on the violation of 'laws', whereas the language in the Bill of Rights is 'for the same offense'. I'd take that to mean that you do one bad thing, you can only be put in jeopardy for it once. If you shoot two people, you've committed two crimes. But in another violation of the 5th amendment, you'll be charged with two counts of murder, possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of a firearm with intent to cause harm, assault with a deadly weapon, unlawful discharge of a firearm, conspiracy to commit murder, and so on. In fact, the Supreme Court specifically contramands such separate charges unless Congress uses "language which is clear and definite", which to me implies the creation of a judicial mandate to decide the applicability of the 5th amendment.
        • I believe the first case was for assault or something similiar. The second case was for "violating a person's civil rights".
      • by Lionel Hutts (65507) on Monday January 20, 2003 @03:06PM (#5120115) Journal
        You are completely, totally incorrect. No matter how much new evidence is found -- even if you confess on the way out of court -- once you are acquitted, you can NEVER be retried by the same sovereign.

        As you say, a second sovereign -- e.g., the federal government, after a state trial -- can try you separately, whether or not you are acquited in the first trial, without violating double jeopardy, but many states' laws still would prevent them from being the second trial. In copyright cases, though, this is irrelevant, since states can't enforce copyright laws (as defined in federal law).

        Yes, IAAL.
        • (firstly, your name is supposed to be Lionel Hutz)

          yes, I checked it out, and you're correct. I found somehting at findlaw that said so. I was certain that if new evidence were found that charges could be re-filed and the person re-tried.
        • Found at fark [fark.com] last Friday

          Boastful killer shows the court who's stupid [iol.co.za]
          A man who wrote a prosecutor a letter boasting about killing a 16-year-old girl - thinking a court ruling prevented him from getting the death penalty - has been convicted of capital murder.


          A jury on Wednesday found Paul Powell, 24, guilty of attempted rape and murder in the 1999 stabbing death of Stacie Reed.

          Powell had been convicted in 2000, but the Virginia Supreme Court overturned the verdict, ruling he could not be executed because prosecutors lacked evidence that Powell tried to rape or rob the girl.
          • I am familiar with this case. He was not acquited: he was convicted, and his conviction was thrown out, as the article says. Retrials in that situation are routine.

            See the difference?
          • I am shocked... SHOCKED... to hear that Hollywood movies are not presenting sound legal advice in matters of criminal law! I have a mental image of this guy protesting on his way back to death row. "But... Tommy Lee Jones said I'd be OK!"

            The original 2000 conviction and death sentence were overturned by the Virginia Supreme Court when the justices ruled that the older girl's murder and her sister's rape were not parts of the same crime. Under Virginia law, that is a necessary element for capital punishment. The murder has to be "aggravated" by some other crime, like a rape or a robbery, in order to become a capital murder.

            According to the authorities, his motive was the fact that the murder victim had been dating a black guy. (To get a feel for the type of genius we're talking about.) In the letter, he explained how he stabbed and killed the older girl after she resisted his attempts to rape her. Then he drank an iced tea, sat down on the couch, and smoked a cigarette, while he waited for her younger sister to come home from school so he could rape her.

            In the earlier trial there had apparently been no physical evidence of any attempted rape of the older girl, and she was dead and not talking. So the capital murder conviction was predicated on the younger girl's rape being part of the same crime. By declaring them as being two separate crimes, the court had decoupled them, rendering the capital murder conviction invalid. But the letter blew this logic out of the water, by establishing that there had been an attempted rape of the older girl (a crime for which the defendant had not been tried) and by providing continuity between the crimes inflicted on each of the two sisters. Since there had never been an acquittal, only an overturned conviction, the prosecution was free to try the case again in light of the new evidence.

            What's interesting is the intense personal relationship that seems to have developed on both sides between this guy and the prosecutor. This is what apparently incited the stupid letter in the first place.

            "Since ... the Va. Supreme Court said that I can't be charged with capital murder again, I figured I would tell you the rest of what happened on Jan. 29, 1999 to show you how stupid all of y'all ... are. ....I can't believe that y'all thought I told you everything. Well it's too late now, nothing you can do about it now ... Do you just hate yourself for being so stupid and for [messing] up and saving me?"

            What a dumbass!

    • by Dr.Zong (584494) on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:49PM (#5119990) Journal
      It is not considered Double Jeopardy, it is only an appeal...

      1) You cannot be tried for the *same* crime twice, however, prosecutors can amend or change the crimes in which you are being tried for ie: you are no longer tried for the murder of Joe, just maybe a nice inditement of manslaughter.

      2)Double Jeopardy doesn't count on appeal. Normally the losing side can appeal if there was a trial error or they want to fight a ruling the judge made on a point in the trial (including evidence that shouldn't have been, allowing a surprise witness - a procedural error).

      3) Unlike the Movie - you CAN'T be tried and convicted for killing someone (for instance) and then actually kill them. Those are actually TWO separate crimes. Makes for a good movie, but the law isn't paid attention to. That's where you just have to sue the state for negligence, or whatever fancy scheme you can get your lawyer to concoct.

      • 3) Unlike the Movie - you CAN'T be tried and convicted for killing someone (for instance) and then actually kill them. Those are actually TWO separate crimes. Makes for a good movie, but the law isn't paid attention to.

        Uhh... did you watch the movie?

        -a
      • by Lionel Hutts (65507) on Monday January 20, 2003 @03:20PM (#5120180) Journal
        Well, you're batting .333. I guess that's good enough for "informative."

        1) You cannot be tried for the *same* crime twice, however, prosecutors can amend or change the crimes in which you are being tried for ie: you are no longer tried for the murder of Joe, just maybe a nice inditement of manslaughter.

        Wrong. Since the facts needed to prove murder are sufficient to prove manslaughter, this prosecution would indeed violate double jeopardy. The second charge needn't be identical to the first.

        2)Double Jeopardy doesn't count on appeal. Normally the losing side can appeal if there was a trial error or they want to fight a ruling the judge made on a point in the trial (including evidence that shouldn't have been, allowing a surprise witness - a procedural error).

        Wrong again. Once jeopardy has "attached" -- the swearing of the jury, or of the first witness in a bench trial -- the prosecution cannot appeal. Again, it makes no difference how profound the alleged errors are. In a well-known case, the judge dismissed the charges because he wrongly believed the prosecution had done something unethical, which the judge didn't even have jurisdiction to do; but a retrial was barred nevertheless.

        OT, but "allowing a surprise witness" would not typically be reversible error in any case.

      • 1) You cannot be tried for the *same* crime twice, however, prosecutors can amend or change the crimes in which you are being tried for ie: you are no longer tried for the murder of Joe, just maybe a nice inditement of manslaughter.

        What are you talking about? Once a person has been aquitted for murder, you can not then charge them with manslaughter. That is a "lesser included crime" and can not be tried seperately.


        2)Double Jeopardy doesn't count on appeal. Normally the losing side can appeal if there was a trial error or they want to fight a ruling the judge made on a point in the trial (including evidence that shouldn't have been, allowing a surprise witness - a procedural error).

        What legal system are you talking about? Double Jeopardy _ONLY_ applies to an appeal. Otherwise what the hell would the double jeopardy be? Once a person has been aquitted of a crime, there is (almost) no way to retry them for the same crime. The only thing you could do is: if a person is aquitted of murder, you could then try them for something like embezzlement, assuming it was not related to the murder. Not to mention, this does not happen in the US 99.99999% of the time because it would undermind the legal system.

        The only way to actually retry a person for the exact same crime, is if for example:
        the person on trial paid someone to lie during the trial. The only reason this would fail is because you can not "profit from a crime" and the profit would be freedom and the crime would be purjury or bribery. This is almost never used as an excuse to try to get a retrial.

        3) Unlike the Movie - you CAN'T be tried and convicted for killing someone (for instance) and then actually kill them. Those are actually TWO separate crimes. Makes for a good movie, but the law isn't paid attention to. That's where you just have to sue the state for negligence, or whatever fancy scheme you can get your lawyer to concoct.

        This does not make any sense. It was a movie. Please return to reality.

        -sirket
    • In the United States, if one is acquitted of a crime and there aren't any additional charges that can be filed by the state, that's all folks, no more immediate legal repercussions. However, the state can always attempt to find something else to bring against someone, like additional crimes committed on the scene.

      This isn't the first time that I've heard of an acquittal being appealed, I think that there was something in Italy in the last couple of years that made news for such.
      • Not quite true.. (Score:2, Informative)

        by CausticWindow (632215)

        I quote http://www.lectlaw.com/def/d075.htm:

        "the courts have decided that since the state and federal governments are separate sovereigns and therefore successive prosecutions based on the same underlying conduct do not violate the Double Jeopardy Clause if the prosecutions are brought by separate sovereigns. See, e.g., U.S. v. Koon, 34 F.3d 1416, 1438 (9th Cir.'94)"

        Which is essentially what has happened here. The case is tried at a local level and being appealed to a regional court.

    • by Laglorden (87845)
      I live in Sweden, but I guess Norweigian justice-system is about the same as here. You have something called "Tingsrätt" who is a local court (about 80 of thoose in Sweden). Both sides can appeal the judgement to a higher court called "Hovrätt" (about 4) and finally you can appeal to "Högsta Domstolen" (like the supreme court in US I guess) but they only try certain cases.

      So no Double Jeopardy.
    • A year after his criminal trial, he a href="http://www.crimelibrary.com/classics4/oj/16. htm">faced a civil trial. It had a different result. This wasn't considered double jeopardy. I don't know if there is any resemblance with this Norwegian situation though.
      • Yes, the key word being civil. Note that the Jeopardy clause says no person shall be "twice put in jeopardy of life of limb." Being made to pay 30-million dollars + your life's earning doesn't double jeopardy make.
  • He wanted to play some movies and distrobuted the software. Whats so wrong with that?
    disclaimer: may be over simplified as i dont know the full situation
    • STEALING! (Score:2, Funny)

      by Cpt_Kirks (37296)
      He was *STEALING*. You know, *STEALING*. We're not real sure what he stole (since he bought the DVDs), or what he hurt, but he was *STEALING*. You don't approve of *STEALING*, do you?

      Stealing is bad, u-kay?
      • Actually no (Score:5, Insightful)

        by wass (72082) on Monday January 20, 2003 @03:57PM (#5120424)
        He was *STEALING*.

        No, he's guilty of creating a tool that could possibly be used for stealing, but doesn't necessarily have to be used for stealing.

        It's more like he's being prosecuted for having invented the crowbar. Suppose all shipments within a country or countries come in boxes that require you to purchase an ACME-brand "crate opener" for you to retrieve your shipped items. However, ACME doesn't provide their brand-named crate-opener in your neck of the woods. You decide that since you bought the crate yourself, you are entitled to the contents. So you invent the crowbar and pry the crate open to reap the sweet sweet goods inside.

        But now you've bypassed the purpose of ACME-brand crate-openers, so ACME prosecutes you. They claim that since you can now use your crowbar to open crates that you didn't buy, you are thus guilty of theft.

        The whole question really boils down to whether you are entitled to open the crate that you have purchased. And is having possession a tool that MIGHT be used for stealing illegal?

        Crowbars can be used to smash windows, pry open doors and crates not belonging to you, and all other sorts of nasty stuff. But they do have legitimate and legal purpose. So, is it illegal for me to possess a crowbar since it can make stealing much easer? Would it have been illegal for me to invent the crowbar (mostly a trivial invention, but still)?

        This case is not just a simple black/white issue of stealing.

        • Re:Actually no (Score:3, Insightful)

          by eaolson (153849)
          No, he's guilty of creating a tool that could possibly be used for stealing, but doesn't necessarily have to be used for stealing.

          To really nitpick, he's guilty of creating a tool that could possibly be used for copyright infringement, not theft. To my knowledge, and rhetoric aside, no one claims that piracy is stealing (in the legal sense), but rather a violation of the copyright.

          It's more like he's being prosecuted for having invented the crowbar.

          A better (but still flawed) analogy would be to suggest he's being prosecuted for having invented the Xerox machine.

      • by Karamchand (607798)
        And all of this harms our CHILDREN! The POOR CHILDREN of hillary rosen, and the POOR CHILDREN of other hollywood start! Oh my god, save those CHILDREN from the evil communists!
  • by BlueMonk (101716) <BlueMonkMN@gmail.com> on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:42PM (#5119931) Homepage
    He (the defense) says it was intended simply to allow playing of DVDs under Linux. Seems quite reasonable. How can he be faulted for this? Perhaps they would have preferred that he also build in the same security mechanisms as other DVD players, but these, of course, would be easily defeated, assuming the code is open source. I guess I don't see a lot of details in the article, or I'm missing some of it. Would the prosecution suggest that any open source DVD player is illegal?
  • ěh shit! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chocolate Teapot (639869) on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:43PM (#5119937) Journal
    As usual, big-money corporations will continue to wield their influence until they get the justice they want. They will not let this rest until they have made an example of Jon Johansen. Money will talk.
  • by XaXXon (202882) <xaxxonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:43PM (#5119938) Homepage
    And now our categories in Double Jepardy:
    • The Norwegian judicial process
    • "DVD" player. Note that "DVD" is in quotes
    • Famous Jons in history
    • Content Monopolies of the 21st century
    • Not so fair use
    • and finally, CowboyNeal's favorite movies


    Good luck contestants...
  • by Sergeant Beavis (558225) on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:44PM (#5119940) Homepage
    I was very surprised to see that they are actually going to appeal and aquittal for this kid. You don't see this in the US since such an appeal is not allowed under the Constitution. In the US, sometimes prosecutors try charging the person with another crime that was related to the original one but that doesn't work very often. For instance, after the LA cops were aquitted of beating Rodney King, the US District Attorney's office stepped up and charged the cops with violating King's civil rights. I don't remember if they were convicted or if they settled, but the cops did do jail time. But that's just an example of how things are done here.
    • I believe a second trial for a different crime based on the same facts in the same jurisdiction would still be considered double jeopardy. Otherwise it's trivial to sidestep the double jeopardy law - just keep retrying the person for lesser included crimes. It's actually a bit more general than that, since double jeopardy also prevents retrial when new facts are discovered, e.g., a defendant confessing to the crime to clear his conscience. (It's not double jeopardy to try him for perjury during the first trial if he never testified that he didn't commit the crime, instead remaining silent.)

      What happened in LA and elsewhere is that the defendants were charged with a crime in two different jurisdictions. In the US, the state and federal governments are sovereign and each has a fair crack at any defendant. The federal government has not historically performed general police duties outside of military bases and the like (although this is starting to change, a troubling prospect to many people), but it has passed some limited laws to cover those cases where local authorities appear indifferent to Constitutional rights. That's why there were federal laws passed to protect civil rights workers in the 50s, and those same laws were used in the recent cases after, and only after, the defendants were acquitted in state courts.

      • Your result is correct, but your cause isn't.

        It is not a matter of Jurisdiction, but different laws. The constitution states(held up by the first supreme court) that Federal law is primary over all laws passed by the states. The fundamental result of this is that you can have one and only one law governing an action (I forget the fancy latin principle for this).

        In practice this means that you can not be tried for the same crime at different levels of jurisdiction, because only one jurisdiction has the guiding law in the first place. What generally happens is that you are tried for DIFFERENT crimes on the two levels.

        The Rodney King incident is a great example of this. The first charge against the police officers involved was done at the state level, in a state court. I beleive it was some kind of assault charge, but I really don't remember. When they where aquitted of those charges, the feds got involved and brought SEPERATE charges for DIFFERENT crimes (even though they occured during the same incident). At the federal level, I beleive that it was some kind of civil rights charge.

        The point being, you can't be charged in two jurisdictions for the same crime, you either violated one and only one law for that particular crime. Anytime you see someone charged by both the state and the federal levels it is always because different charges are being brought on each level.

        Its important to note that the state can do the same thing. They can try you for one crime, and failing that bring up new charges related to the same action (although a lot of legal rules apply to that, and it is pretty rarely done).
  • I've read a lot about your story and from what I understand you've expressed regret over the actions that landed you in jail. I think I may have even heard you say that you think you were in the wrong.

    So how do you respond to the hundreds of wannabes who rip and trade DVD movies "in your honor"?

    Are those folks adding to your cause of Free Speech and Free Movie Software, and if so, do you feel you owe them anything?
  • it's always fun to ruin a kids future by prosecuting them for something as trivial as this.
    • it's always fun to ruin a kids future by prosecuting them for something as trivial as this.

      Uhm, yeah, that sure is what they're doing. With all the interviews, and autobiographies, and biographies, and such he sure will be punished.

      Who in the computer industry doesn't know DeCSS or Jon, at least at some level. How many people think his resume will shine more than any others in competition.

      Rough times for a bit, but in the end, he'll continue to be acquitted and can make money off his trials and tribulations.
  • by Mantrid (250133) on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:44PM (#5119945) Journal
    How does it work in legal systems in general? Usually it seems to me that the defendant does the appealing if they are found guilty etc. It seems unfair that the government can just keep attempting to prosecute the same person over and over. What about the effect on their lives? And couldn't the defendant point to the old trial - I mean if a judge already found you not guilty is that enough to create a reasonable doubt? It's kind of scary, guess I just never thought of it before - say for example, you beat Microsoft, defending yourself in some sort of trial - if MS remains PO'd with you could they not just keep appealing forcing you to return to court again and again? Until finally you are completely broke and your life is ruined and whatever you were defending against is completely irrelevant.

    It may be completely different in his country anyways...
    • by stray (73778)
      well, e.g. in switzerland the prosecution and the defendant are just parties in a trial, both can appeal if they don't accept the outcome, to a higher court - until they run out of higher courts that is..
    • by djembe2k (604598) on Monday January 20, 2003 @03:13PM (#5120146)
      Your description of the appeal process is off.

      I know nothing about non-U.S. legal systems, and hopefully somebody who knows about Norwegian jurisprudence will answer, but the general principle behind appeals in legal systems is this:

      The first court that tries you is the finder of fact. Unless that whole trial is thrown out (and you get a new one), the facts determined in that trial are beyond question in the process. However, the court has to apply rules to the process of the trial and to the facts that come out, in order to get an outcome. Those rules can be both formal laws and legal procedures. (In real life, the line between facts and rules gets blurred, which both sides try to use to their advantage, but that's a different topic.)

      Appeals apply to these rules, not the facts. So an appeal isn't just a second chance to start over and get a different trial outcome. It is a challenge that the process in the previous trial was in violation of those rules in some very specific way. (Or, many specific ways, since most appeals are a laundry list of possible violations, hoping the appeals court will find at least one they like.)

      This is true already in the U.S. when those found guilty appeal their convictions, or when either party in a civil trial appeals the outcome. This is why appeals often force the original trial to be thrown out: they clarify the application of a rule as it applies to this case, then you have to start over and apply that rule correctly this time.

      There's no reason in principle that this couldn't be applied to appealing acquitals as well. In principle, if somebody is acquitted because a judge made a mistake in applying a rule about admissibility of evidence or jury instructions, it might be reasonable to say that the acquital was flawed, and is contrary to justice, and shouldn't be honored.

      There's a question of rights, which is a big one. There's also a questions of "That's not how we do it in the U.S.!!!!", which, if it isn't backed up with something else, isn't much of an argument. But I'm just speaking to the principle of appeals in general terms.

      IANAL, yadda.

      • no reason in principle that this couldn't be applied to appealing acquitals as well.

        In the US it's called double jeopardy and is explicitly forbidden by the constitution. If the judge screws up the process and you are aquitted it is final. The government does not get the chance to try try again.

        I *think* there is an exeption if you are later convicted of jury tampering, bribing the judge or something similar. I believe in that case they declare that you didn't really get a trial the first time therefor double jeopardy does not apply.

        I think another exception is that seperate governments can try you for the same crime - New York State and the the US Federal court for example. But every other state must abide by the New York State verdict (based on the "full faith and credit" clause of the constitution). So California can't try you.

        An while we are on the topic of double jeopardy I'd like to vent one of my pet peeves. The movie "Double Jeopardy" was bullshit. If Ashley Judd killed her husband at the end of the movie she would have been tried and convicted - again. It would NOT have been double jeopardy. Breaking the same law on a different date is a completely seperate instance of a crime. If you rob a bank in Janyary and you rob the same bank in June you can be convicted of both robberies - two seperate crimes.

        But of course all of this only applies to the United States, and naturally I am not a laywer.

        -
    • by james_pb (156313)
      The general idea in the United States is that you can appeal the judges decision on the law and procedure but not the facts. For the majority of criminal cases, it's irrelevant - the law is straightforward and the judge applies it in standard ways. Where you get appeals is when new laws need to be interpreted. For example, in the last few days the California Court of Appeals has ruled on several cases involving interpretation of the "three strikes rule" (basically, additional punishment for repeat offenders, but the law's a complete mess as to when it should be applied), a case where the judge asked the prosecution questions about what evidence was linked with which charges, and then clarified what happened with the jury, and a case about a change in wording on the "lying in wait" clause of the Penal Code.

      Also, most people think that it's common for the defense to appeal and win. It's not - in California, at least, it's a percent or two of cases at most.
      • No, no, no.

        Once acquited, acquited for good. No appeals by the prosecution as to any issue, law or fact. The cases you refer to are all appeals by defendants, not prosecutors.
    • There are only three levels of courts. City court, national court and supreme court.

      So at most a case can only be appealed twice, and you can only have your case tried in supreme court if it somehow touches a subject not tried before in courts.

      And yes, if you were acquited in the first, you have a preatty good case in the next, the prosecution has to come up with some reasons for the appeal, and then new evidence, claims of injustice or just new "angles" on the case.
    • by Gorimek (61128)
      Both sides can appeal to the higher court, and in rare precedence setting cases after that to the Supreme Court.

      But once the case has gone through that process, you can not be retried for the same crime. So it is still not possible for the gevernment to harass people by retrying them again and again in perpetuity, which was the abuse of power the US constitution "double jeopardy" rule was designed to avoid.
  • A bit surprised (Score:5, Informative)

    by halftrack (454203) <jonkjeNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:44PM (#5119948) Homepage
    As a Norwegian I'm a bit surprised that Økokrim appealed the sentence. It's normal for prosecution to appeal, but in this case it was a pretty clear acquittal. However the background for the appeal is (as the article states) not ready yet.

    However my concerne now is that if the appeal goes through (I believe that - in Norway - most appeals at this level do) it will be tried in front of a jury, which means this case can be on hold for ever. In the previous instance they had trouble finding only 2 laymen who could understand the technicalities of the case.
    • Re:A bit surprised (Score:5, Informative)

      by KjetilK (186133) <kjetil@@@kjernsmo...net> on Monday January 20, 2003 @03:01PM (#5120085) Homepage Journal
      I agree. The verdict of the lower court was very well reasoned. Also, since the law will change anyway (for the worse) in less than a year, it is very, very hard to understand why they do this.

      There's only one thing in the verdict that was not completely clear, and that would be the conclusion if the prosecutors had tried to prove that DeCSS had been used for unauthorized copying. They didn't try to prove that, and that was noted in the verdict. That might be one thing they will try to work on I guess.

      Right now, there is no news, really, other than "yeah, we'll appeal". They have to come up with the documents by tomorrow, that is when the interesting things happen.

      Another thing I can't understand that there are somebody who would want to put their career on the line for this case. The reaction after the acquittal was pretty clear among computer professionals and the press, it was a win for consumers and a big loss for Økokrim.

      On one hand, I really hope they get another big loss, OTOH, it is hardly something to cheer for that we do not have a working computer crime unit. If somebody breaks into my box, I want them spanked, but I really can't report any such breakin to a police unit as corrupt as ours, as that would lend their objectionable political agenda some legitimity. I think many if not most of Norway's computer professionals feel the same.

  • So the MPAA didn't win the first round, so let's try to nail him for "computer crime". So I wonder what crime he committed, and I also find it curious that the specifics of the the Norweigan Computer Crime Division will be "in their offices Monday afternoon". Does that mean they have to "manufacture" something to justify the appeal?
  • by hoggoth (414195) on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:47PM (#5119975) Journal
    Lars: Sven, we hate thees job, yah?
    Sven: Yah.
    Lars: Always giving trooble to the dirty accountants and such, yah?
    Sven: Yah. Lars, eets very boring.
    Lars: So Sven, lets go after thees kid, Jon Lech Johansen. He ees famous, does theengs with compooters.
    Sven: Yah. We cood be on T.V.
    Lars: Yah. Famoos.
    • by dbc (135354) on Monday January 20, 2003 @03:02PM (#5120092)
      I hate to be pedantic, but as a life-long Norsky-watcher I feel I must correct your misaprehension of Norsky -- a Norsky would not say "thees", he'd say "tis" with a very hard "t" and short "i" -- a Minnesota native from Daloot or da range would more likely say "dis".

      And if you don't believe me, I'll introduce you to my mother-in-law, for whom "Ja" is a four sylable word with a two octave range, and who did not understand any of the dialect jokes in "Fargo", because that *is* the way she talks.

  • Legitimate use (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fafalone (633739) on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:49PM (#5119988)
    This case perfectly highlights a legimate use for breaking copy protection, to play your own DVDs on an OS that the copy protection doesn't like. As for distributing, I'm sure other people wish to do it as well. Time to stop outlawing things with legit use just because of the potential for illegal use. What's next, outlawing baseball bats because I can beat people to death with one? I hope this case gets more attention in the US so people can see this.
    • Pretty soon the list of things with legitimate uses outlawed because of potential illegal uses will include:

      1) Guns - armed robbery, murder, etc
      2) Cars - often used to leave the scene of a crime.
      3) Telephones - wire fraud, scams, illegal wiretaps.
      4) Clothes - commonly used by thieves, murderers, policitians, etc. Oh, sorry, strike out policitians - they're supposed to make outrageous election promises that nobody expects them to keep...

      • 5) Air (Score:3, Funny)

        by Mantrid (250133)
        Exactly! But don't forget Air! I mean the criminals must be using air right? Especially if they make their escape on foot - without air they could run.

        You hit the nail on the head though. In Canada there's a tariff on CD-R's just because they *might* be used to copy music. Not sure about DVD-R tariffs though...it's all so stupid!
        • Ah yes, air. Sorry, forgot that one... :)

          As for DVD-Rs, theoretically they ought to be immune from tariffs because the CSS key portion is already written over with junk. Bet the MPAA/RIAA still find a way to levy a tax on them, though. They'll probably claim that the DVD-R can still store DVD-ripped-to-AVI's, not to mention a ferocious quantity of MP3s. Speaking of which, any bets on how long it takes them to get the same tax levied on hard disks, for the same reason??

    • Re:Legitimate use (Score:5, Insightful)

      by aborchers (471342) on Monday January 20, 2003 @05:01PM (#5121013) Homepage Journal
      If I get modded down for going off topic, so be it...

      I've been pondering something lately that, strangely, I don't ever recall seeing discussed on /., or if I did see it it was thoroughly occluded by either context or opinion.

      Neglecting the ridiculous DMCA, what exactly is the law (US and otherwise) on making copies of legally purchased products for personal consumption, i.e. "private home viewing" on devices other than those sanctioned by the copyopoly? All my videos and DVDs have statements on them forbidding duplication. Most make vague references to "US and International Law" forbidding copying. There is no fine print about fair use. I know US law set out parameters for some of these things in the "betamax case" and "Audio Home Recording Act of 1992", but is the warning in the leader of these media a statement backed by clear law, or is it equivalent to a EULA, a term of purchase agreement which to my knowledge has so far not been proven legally binding (at least I hear people saying over and over they're waiting for a case to challenge them)?

      I know there are pending bills in the US Congress to explicitly deliniate fair use rights, but where do we currently stand? DMCA covers defeat of copy control measures, but in the absence of these, is there anything in the law that says creating a mix CD or duplicating an unprotected VHS (why, I can't imagine, given the quality degradation) is llegal when done for one's personal use?

      IAALs please chime in!

      • Re:Legitimate use (Score:3, Informative)

        by prizog (42097)
        In the US, time- and space-shifting are allowed by 17 USC 107 (as interpreted by Sony v. Universal and Diamond v. RIAA, respectively). Some commentators claim that if 17 USC 107 didn't exist, the courts would have to invent it for First Amendment reasons.

        The warnings on tapes have no legal force whatsoever.
  • by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:49PM (#5119993)
    "DVD-Jon" faces retrial Norway's special division for white-collar crimes, Økokrim, has decided to appeal the acquittal of 19-year-old Jon Lech Johansen, accused of copyright violation for helping bypass DVD code protection, web site Nettavisen reports. Johansen was acquitted on all counts of piracy and distribution of the code-breaking program. Johansen has argued that his programming work was designed to play DVDs, which he purchased, on a computer with the Linux operating system, something the copy protection would not allow. The head of Økokrim's computer crimes division said that the reasons for the appeal would be in their offices Monday afternoon. Johansen's counsel, Halvor Manshaus, said he was not surprised by Økokrim's decision. "There were signals from Økokrim quite early, that they would appeal and that they see this case as dealign with an important principle. We believe that the first verdict was extremely thorough, but that doesn't prevent them from appealing," Manshaus told Nettavisen. Aftenposten English Web Desk
  • Posterboy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by grub (11606) <slashdot@grub.net> on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:49PM (#5119995) Homepage Journal

    It seems like Norwegian authorities are trying to make Johansen a cybercrime posterboy as the US did to Mitnick.
  • by HealYourChurchWebSit (615198) on Monday January 20, 2003 @02:51PM (#5120015) Homepage

    I know this is a bit xenaphobic, but what does this ruling mean to those of us in the U.S.? If it's overturned, or if the ruling stands, will it have any impact on those of us under the DMCA and the RIAA?
  • RTFA (Score:5, Funny)

    by VFVTHUNTER (66253) on Monday January 20, 2003 @03:03PM (#5120094) Homepage
    from the article:

    The head of Økokrim's computer crimes division said that the reasons for the appeal would be in their offices Monday afternoon.

    I guess they had a meeting with the MPAA today?
  • GREAT news! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by swordgeek (112599) on Monday January 20, 2003 @03:58PM (#5120430) Journal
    OK, the government has no case, and they're appealing? GREAT! Take it all the way to the highest court in the land. Get a ruling that's binding for the entire EU! Make it clear with as much authority as legally possible that JON IS INNOCENT!

    That's why I'm in favour of this latest development.
    • Re:GREAT news! (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rumagent (86695)
      Get a ruling that's binding for the entire EU!


      That would be quite an achievement - considering the fact, that Norway isn't a member of the EU.

      Rumagent
  • "Norway's special division for white-collar crimes, Økokrim, has decided to appeal the acquittal of 19-year-old Jon Lech Johansen, accused of copyright violation for helping bypass DVD code protection, web site Nettavisen reports."

    Sources say the legal team was threatened by the MPAA with a movie about them that totally skews the actual facts and makes them look like idiots. When asked if they meant it, the MPAA said, "One word: Takedown." The appeal was filed within the hour...

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