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Johansen Prosecutors Appeal 251

Posted by michael
from the only-the-lawyers-win dept.
kmitnick writes "Jon Johansen will be back in court, tried again in an appeals court, because Hollywood knows better than the Norwegian legal system." Norway's legal system is different than the U.S.; the government can appeal a loss in a criminal case.
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Johansen Prosecutors Appeal

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  • Double Jeopardy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ifreakshow (613584) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:04PM (#5410173)
    This article makes me glad to live in a country where the government can't try you more than once for the same crime(if found not guilty).

    Just imagine if special interest groups could put pressure on politicians to keep appealing cases that they lost. Scary.
    • Re:Double Jeopardy (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:11PM (#5410234)
      if the defendant thinks the court's decision is wrong, he/she can appeal...why shouldn't the prosecutors have the same possibility?
      and btw, the maximum number of appeals in norway is 2 before the case reaches the supreme court (and the supreme court won't take most cases)
      • Re:Double Jeopardy (Score:5, Insightful)

        by fishbowl (7759) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:28PM (#5410344)
        The situation that made the double jeopardy clause seem so important to the framers of the US Constitution was that oppressive governments can and do repeatedly prosecute people until they reach the verdict they wanted. Because the government has unlimited resources to accomplish this, compared to those of any defendant, the situation is fundamentally unfair. But what's important to know about doctrines against double jeopardy is that they are not written into government documents just because some wise pre-industrial politician thought it would be a good idea, but because they were already absolutely sick and tired of seeing the exact same means of oppression being used against them. It was an issue that people were willing to kill or die over, and not some absract ideal that would be nice to have.
        • The situation that made the double jeopardy clause seem so important to the framers of the US Constitution was that oppressive governments can and do repeatedly prosecute people until they reach the verdict they wanted. Because the government has unlimited resources to accomplish this, compared to those of any defendant, the situation is fundamentally unfair.

          As have been said previously, it's not really a new prosecution, but rather the continuation of the one that was started by the lower courts. The state cannot start over again at the lower court, once the final verdict has been reached.

          There are actually only two posibilities for apeal, and that's it. Combined with the fact that as a citizen you (typically) don't pay your legal costs in a criminal proceedings, and hence can get any lawyer that's interested in your case to represent you, I'd much rather be tried in Sweden, than in the U.S. The words "pro bono" does not exist here, you are not at its mercy.

          "Double jeopardy" or not.

          P.S. And yes, we're quite familiar with the abuses of kings and tyrants in Norway and Sweden, that's why we had wars and revolutions to strip them of their power. Not that they were ever as bad, we never really had a feudal period.

      • Re:Double Jeopardy (Score:4, Insightful)

        by supabeast! (84658) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:51PM (#5410476)
        Because allowing prosecutors to appeal gives the government a way to harass opponents with years of trials and the massive legal fees associated with said trials. Some governments might even keep a defendent imprisoned until appeals are exhausted.
        • Because allowing prosecutors to appeal gives the government a way to harass opponents with years of trials and the massive legal fees associated with said trials.

          No, not in Norway (or Sweden), because if the government decides to prosecute you they have to pay your legal costs. Not that you can force any lawyer of your choosing to represent you, there's no forced labour in Sweden, but if he's willing to take your case; you don't pay (or rather you pay a share, according to your income if you lose. If you win, you pay nothing).

          That's why you in Sweden routinely see "ordinary" criminals in high profile cases, with high profile laywers (that are interested just because it's a high profile case). It's not as if said criminals could actually afford said lawyers.

          Some governments might even keep a defendent imprisoned until appeals are exhausted.

          Yepp, and if you win your apeal, you'll be roundly compensated by the state for the time you were held. This happens automatically by the state, without any lawsuits. But you can of course apeal the compensation by a lawsuit if you so desire.

      • by D1rtbag (650553) on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:07PM (#5410779)
        Constitutional rights, and cause a severe drain on the defendant. Imagine being wrongfully accused, and then sent up and down the legal system to try to vindicate yourself, becoming bankrupt in the process. That really would create a system where justice is what you can afford.

        As a prosecutor, I have no problem with the *general* lack of ability to appeal. There are limited circumstances in which we do get another bite, but it requires special circumstances. For me, trials are fun, but for a criminal defendant the uncertainty, the court appearances, and the stigma must be quite unpleasant. I don't think I'd like to be part of a process which just beats a defendant down with government appeals until he's all out of fight, money, or both.

        With the resources available to us, we (the State) can usually convict the guilty if we do our jobs right. Sometimes they get away, but that's how our justice system is set up -- the Framers wanted to have a system where we risk a few guilty individuals going free, but we minimize the risk of convicting the innocent.

        In France, I believe, there is no Miranda as we know it. The police can question a suspect for 48 hours with no right to counsel. It would make my job easier, but it doesn't make it a system that I want to live under or be a part of. If it works in Norway, that's their business, but we don't need to pick up all of the bad habits of the "Old Country," just because it works for them.

    • by Sean Clifford (322444) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:19PM (#5410289) Journal
      Double jeopardy is possible in the United States. If you're accused of a crime and prosecuted under state law in the state you reside, then acquitted, you can be tried again for the same crime by the feds.

      e.g. You're prosecute for LS XYZ in Louisiana, then acquitted, you can then be prosecuted under US ABC in federal court. So yeah, you can experience double jeopardy in the good ole US of A.

      • by fishbowl (7759) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:42PM (#5410428)
        "If you're accused of a crime and prosecuted under state law in the state you reside, then acquitted, you can be tried again for the same crime by the feds."

        The doctrine at work is Dual Sovreignty. The State cannot try you twice for the same crime, another State cannot try you, but since the State and the Federal government both have sovreignty over you, then you are subject to separate prosecution by both governments. It was an open question but was settled by the Supreme Court in one of the first Federal prosecutions for liquor under prohibition, US v. Lanza, 260 U.S. 377 (1922).

        So you can thank the War on Some Drugs for it, but it goes back much further than most people seem to realize.

        • "but since the State and the Federal government both have sovreignty over you, then you are subject to separate prosecution by both governments."

          Of course, this can only happen if the feds have jurisdiction over the crime, and federal jurisdiction is seriously curtailed (or at least it was...) by the constitution. For example, the only reason the feds were able to try Ernest Avants for murder after he was acquitted in Mississippi almost 40 years ago is because the murder took place in a national forest.
    • Re:Double Jeopardy (Score:2, Informative)

      by Pofy (471469)
      Actually you can't here either. What basically happens is that if either side is not happy with the verdict, they can kick the same case upwards to the next higher court. One can't initate a new case of the same crime. So basically this is not a new trial it is the same at a higher instance.

      The constitution of the court vaies some too based on level. Not fully sure about Norway but in Sweden in the lowest level, you have a judge who is a lawyer, but also a few lay assessors (is that the name? found it in a dictionary) which are ordinary people, not lawyers (it is NOT a jury, they basically work at the court and have many cases). They are supposed to sort of represent the people, common sense and such. In the intermediate level all the judges (which make the decision) are lawyers.

      So basically, either side can appeal (twice at most since that ends up in SUpreme Court but usually only once in most cases). But one can't start a new case on the same crime.
  • Fair Use? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kmac06 (608921)
    Have these people not heard of the words "fair use"?
    • Re:Fair Use? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      FYI, norwegian law gives pretty good fair use rights, and copying is allowed for private use (just distribution/selling of copied material is illegal)
    • Have these people not heard of the words "fair use"?

      Of course they've heard of fair use...they've been trying to ELIMINATE IT, via technology, for years.
  • that would be ironic, wouldn't it?

    I mean, after all, an appeal is nothing more than a copy, isn't that right?
  • phew (Score:5, Funny)

    by geeber (520231) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:05PM (#5410185)
    Good thing. Hopefully this will show that even powerful European Scoflaws can't hope to get away with trampling on the rights of those poor Hollywood executives.

    All is right with the world.

  • Borgarting? (Score:5, Funny)

    by HorrorIsland (620928) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:07PM (#5410206)
    From the article:

    Prosecutors, on behalf of Hollywood studies, lodged an appeal in the Borgarting appeals court in Oslo

    From a google search:

    When someone bogarts a joint, he or she is holding onto the marijuana cigarette a bit longer than protocol deems polite

    That is, being too damn greedy. How appropriate!

    • Re:Borgarting? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Kjella (173770)
      Just in case anyone actually wondered, Borgarting has nothing to do with bogarting. First of all it's "Borgar" = name of the site, probably derived from Borg = Castle, and "ting" which means something like meeting or parliament. (Our national parliament is called Storting - grand "ting" if translated directly).

      Was a very funny coincidence though :D

      Kjella
  • by themaddone (180841) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:07PM (#5410209)
    The Motion Picture Association of America, representing major Hollywood studios like Walt Disney Co., Universal Studios and Warner Bros, filed the complaint against Johansen at Norway's Economic Crime Unit.

    The group estimates that piracy costs the U.S. motion picture industry $3.0 billion annually in lost sales.


    When are the MPAA and the RIAA going to realize that while they may be losing money, is isn't close to that magnitude?

    Even if we couldn't download the movies and music, we wouldn't be buying the CDs or DVDs in those numbers. Out of every 100 albums or movies you download (the general "you"), how many would you have bought if you couldn't download them? 10? 5? 1? If it's only 1, or 1% of the movies you download, then that $3.0 billion figure is only $30 million. Which is pennies in a multi-billion dollar industry.

    It's amazing how the game isn't "How much money are we losing," but rather "How much money would we have lost in this incredibly unrealistic circumstance?"
    • And how many of those that you download would you have NOT bought previous to a download...so I believe that too would offset that remaining $30million. The music business is having problems because it's not really in the music business...it's in the selling records business. Most of us buy records because of the music...not just because it's being sold. There's a bit of a disconnect there.
    • I'd be pretty pissed if you stole the pennies from my pocket.
    • by gnovos (447128) <.ten.deppihc. .ta. .sovong.> on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:38PM (#5410404) Homepage Journal
      When are the MPAA and the RIAA going to realize that while they may be losing money, is isn't close to that magnitude? ...

      It's amazing how the game isn't "How much money are we losing," but rather "How much money would we have lost in this incredibly unrealistic circumstance?"


      Oh, I'm pretty sure that they know that already.. my question is:

      When are the MPAA and the RIAA going to figure out that they are "losing" money by not having the governments of the world mandate that thier citizens buy thier product? I'm serious, after all, the logic is the same. By not forcing every American to buy at least 10 albums a year, the RIAA "loses" $50 BILLION a year! And that is America alone. Can you believe that? That is a travesty! By not having every nation on earth mandate that every man woman and child buy at leat three albums a year, they are "losing" $360 BILLION and that's EVERY SINGLE YEAR! Add piracy on top of that and we are at $363 billion. Wow, that is almost as much as the defense budget for the entire US.
    • When are the MPAA and the RIAA going to realize that while they may be losing money, is isn't close to that magnitude?

      I think they're fully aware of that. It's all a matter of political spin-doctoring, kinda like Sun claiming that Mitnick costed them 3 billion dollars, or whatever they claimed. They just add up the cost of what people would have paid if they'd bought the downloaded files at retail prices, regardless of whether the person subsequently did that (and/or bought even more stuff later on). The big numbers sound more impressive to people who don't dig deeper to see where they came from and how unrealistic they are.

      Remember, it's not the truth that matters here -- it's public opinion about the truth you give them!

      • kinda like Sun claiming that Mitnick costed them 3 billion dollars, or whatever they claimed.

        Just to nitpick, Sun didn't necessarily want to claim that Mitnick cost them that astronomical amount. The prosecutors gave all the victims very explicit instructions for calculating the monetary "damages." Not only did they include potential lost sales, but also their entire development cost.

        In both cases, the figures are so far removed from reality, that I feel it is a mar on our justice system. People that testify with such abjectly false numbers should be prosecuted for perjury, and lawyers that solicit this sort of perjury should be disbarred. It is out of hand.

    • When are the MPAA and the RIAA going to realize that while they may be losing money, is isn't close to that magnitude?


      While I believe the claim of $3.0 billion is pure conjecture,
      I don't see the claim that it's wrong as anything but pure conjecture either.

      The major cost of piracy isn't "lost" sales, but the fact that it forces them to lower their prices in order to compete with the pirate market.
      If they could jack up the prices of movies to the same price as CDs, maybe they would make an extra $3.0 billion - who knows?

      -- this is not a .sig
      • The major cost of piracy isn't "lost" sales, but the fact that it forces them to lower their prices in order to compete with the pirate market.

        Not at all. Pirate merchandise is either easily recognized as such or indistinguishable from the real thing. The second category accounts for most of the problems, and what it does is divert sales to whoever is running the operation. It doesn't compete, because there's no way for a customer to tell the two apart.

        Now, kids trading music online - that doesn't even register.

    • When are the MPAA and the RIAA going to realize that while they may be losing money, is isn't close to that magnitude?

      I'm still wondering when they're going to be forced to deal with reality and answer the real question: How much do they stand to GAIN from decentralized digital distribution?

      That they're putting up this much of a fight is very interesting. One would think that they would have learned something from the VCR fights in the 80s. It appears that they're (over?)confident that having lawyers and politicians in their pockets will be enough to overcome the desire for fair use among their worldwide customer-base.

      --K.


    • The group estimates that piracy costs the U.S. motion picture industry $3.0 billion annually in lost sales.

      Followup calculation:

      3 billion

      number of people in U.S. about 300 million

      Assuming an average cost of $10 per DVD, their calculation seems to assume an average drop of 1 DVD purchase per year per person.

      Maybe it gets different when you start considering marketing groups and everything (I know I hardly ever pirate nor purchase any kind of video entertainment, so I'm probably not in the focus group) but I don't see how an average drop of 1 DVD purchase per person has any significance whatsoever, let alone from "piracy".

      Finally, I don't see how this factoid (or any facts about piracy) could have any relevancy to Jon's case. Piracy is possibly without what Jon wrote, and the primary purpose of Jon's work was viewing DVDs -- a capability without which I can guarantee anyone that DVD sales will go down.
  • by cuberat (549657) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:07PM (#5410210)
    ...the government can appeal a loss in a criminal case.

    One little piece of idiocy I do NOT want this country to adopt.

    • Pfft that means there has to be trial first, and ashcroft/bush's reich have already dealt with that little problem, now that anyone can be a terrorist and as we all know terrorists have no rights and get no trials; burn the witch!!

      hell they block off roads and search through peoples cars at will in some states (although this was fought and deemed unconstitutional in indiana, thanks to the aclu, i hear of it happening elsewhere) (what no seatbelt? that's a paddl'n)

      who the fuck told these people that we need them to be our parents?

    • One little piece of idiocy I do NOT want this country to adopt.

      I agree that giving the procecution a general right to appeal in the current US system would be disasterous.
      But in the Norvegian system it's actually not as bad as it sounds.
      The entire system is very different from the US. (For example: in a criminal case, like this, the defendant don't pay lawyer fees, so Jon won't be ruined.)
      The reason for the appeal is probably (besides trying to save the prosecutions face) that they have to push the case all the way to the supreme court to set a precendent either way. This is a "new" type of crime remember.
      So, you can expect another appeal. And since it is a new crime the supreme court will probably accept it. (Otherwise rare.)

      Sucks to be Jon, but probably not as much as it would have done if the same thing would have happended in the US, chances are he is getting off the hook, and even if he isn't it won't completely ruin his life.

      It will, however be a setback for OSS development in Europe.

      The whole case is rediculous if you ask me.
      And the real idiocy here is that the kid was even arrested at all.
  • *sigh* (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    And here I am, trying (unsuccesfully) to get DVDs (that I own) to play back under linux (that is free) on a laptop (that I own).

    Hollywood could be helping me to achieve this.

    Instead, they are continuing to spend taxpayers money to support their questionable business model, and defend a crappy piece of 'encryption', and completely ignoring customers like *me*.

    I won't be buying another DVD until I have playback under linux working. Now if Hollywood want to get any more of my money sooner, perhaps they could help remove the hurdles.
    • I blame the idiots who decided that DVD players should be installed in computers. How many VCRs do you see in computers?
  • by NigelJohnstone (242811) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:11PM (#5410237)
    Its not legal in Norway.

    ------------
    1999-05-21 NOR-1999-L-53741
    Act (No. 30 of 1999) to strengthen the position of human rights in Norwegian law (Human Rights Act).
    Contains six sections whereby the following international human rights instruments are given force of national law to the extent that they are considered as binding on Norway: the European Council's Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, its Protocol of November 1950, its Protocols Nos. 4 (securing certain other rights and freedoms), 6 (abolition of death penalty), and 7 (furthering certain human rights and freedoms);

    http://natlex.ilo.org/Scripts/natlexcgi.exe?lang =E &doc=query&ctry=NOR&llx=02

    -----------

    Protocol 7 from November 1950 is here:

    http://conventions.coe.int/treaty/EN/Treaties/ht ml /117.htm

    Article 4 - Right not to be tried or punished twice

    So they adopted it into Norwegian law as part of human rights legislation.
    Needs a lawyer to check it out, but what they're doing isn't just unethical and a breach of human rights. ITS NOT LEGAL EVEN IN NORWAY.

    • by JanneM (7445) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:27PM (#5410338) Homepage
      They aren't. This is an appeal to a higher court, not a new trial. If it works as the Swedish court (and the legal systems are pretty close), it will be a reinterpretation of already established facts, with an eye to whether the relevant law was correctly interpreted. It is not "really" whether he is guilty or not, but a trial of whether the lower court did in fact do its job properly.

      For those of you still screaming "double jeopardy", don't forget (again, I'm talking about Swedish, not norwegian court practice) that if the defendant appeals, the higher court can not increase the punishment from the lower court. Only if the prosecution appeals as well (which they need a law-technical reason to do) can the appeals court ever increase the punishment.

      • Not so in Norway... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Kjella (173770) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:59PM (#5410518) Homepage
        Here, any level of court is essentially free to set whatever sentence they want in a new trial, also including the Supreme court, though they *mainly* stick to law interpretation. They've changed sentence lengths to set the correct precedent though, if they feel it's too high or too low. In fact, they are also free to set it higher than what the prosecutor asks for (within the laws they're found guilty of) and have done so at times.

        In short, it's the assumption that every step up is in a "more competent" (bigger jury, better judges and so on). You might call it double jeopardy - but I'm sure the US have examples of people which would have been found guilty if there had been more competent staff. Getting off because the lowest level of the court system just wasn't up to the task doesn't do much for justice either. You can however not be trialed for the same twice, though the supreme court can send it back down one step for a retrial, but once it's over it's over.

        Personally, I have great trust in our Supreme court. They certainly aren't bending in the wind, some went as far as calling them racist based on what they let through under "freedom of speech". Not that I particularly agree with that case (think of hate speech as class-action libel), but they certainly aren't afraid to stand their ground. And I respect that greatly.

        Kjella
      • "If it works as the Swedish court (and the legal systems are pretty close), "

        You raise an interesting point, since Sweden is in the EU and hence European Court is the ultimate court.

        Take a look at this clause:
        "Article 50
        Right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence"

        The title says it clear as day. The AC higher up picked on the word 'finally' in the detail text and argued that justifies a process that allows 'criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence'.

        No matter how you dress up the wording, Jon is being tried twice for the same crime here. He was aquitted the first time, he could be convicted the second time, and the intention of that clause is clear as day:
        "Right not to be tried or punished twice in criminal proceedings for the same criminal offence"

        So if Sweden has the same rules, a test case would be possible and we could see if a country can indeed use the 'finally' to prosecute twice, or not.

        Has there been a challenge to the EU court on this already for Sweden?

  • Ray of Hope (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anachattak (650234) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:16PM (#5410276)
    Maybe a decision by the high courts of Norway will point the way out of our current copyright monopoly nightmare, though things probably won't improve in the U.S. until Congress stops whoring itself to mass media ("Oh, you need another 100 year extension on that copyright. Just send me a copy of the bill you want (gratuities accepted and appreciated)").
  • by GeneralEmergency (240687) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:17PM (#5410280) Journal
    .

    ...going to be "Hollywood-Free in 2003".


    Oh...and Mr. Valenti, you can bite me.

    • I haven't been to see a "Big Media" film in 6 months. I haven't purchased a DVD or Video in that time (except second hand). If you're still going to the cinema or still buying DVDs and videos, then you are explicitly supporting the companies who are attacking Johansen.

      Rich.

    • You DO realize that by boycotting Hollywood, you are going to cause their revenue to drop (albiet very slightly). If enough people boycott them, it will have an real effect on their bottom line, which will then be attributed to filesharing. The end result will be you giving them ammo to support new content and technology restriction laws.

      I'm not saying you shouldn't boycott, just that that they will likely benefit either way. Quite an interesting situation they got themselves in.

      A more effective ploy would be to just inform as many people as possible about what they are doing and why we all should care. Only when Joe Average catches on and turns against Hollywood will anything change.

      Finkployd
  • by ebbomega (410207) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:20PM (#5410298) Journal
    From the article:

    The group estimates that piracy costs the U.S. motion picture industry $3.0 billion annually in lost sales

    I'd honestly like to just take a statistics University Class and have them look over the methodology of it, and get them to report any breaks in logic. Where in god's name did this team get their figures from? How do you measure something like this...

    I know it's not in sales drops, because I know that last year MPAA reports that they've had excellent sales lately...

    I've never seen any kind of study that actually reports how much piracy is going on around the internet, so I can only really assume that they're going on estimations. Which is ludicrous... that's like counting the number of people in Russia and estimating the world's population based on those results... It's bloody insane!

    The only way I think they can possibly justify this amount of money that's being lost is
    a) When the MPAA pays money to hire people to do silly estimations like this.
    b) When these companies' stock goes down because they lose some court case in which they were trying to sue some guy who wrote a program for ripping DVDs.... not to mention the lawyer costs behind these lawsuits.... how much do you think they put per year into prosecuting people like this?

    Would it kill people to think a little critically when reading blind statistics like this?
    • Say you have 10 million people who each pirate 10 movies worth 25 dollars a year. That gets you 2.5 billion dollars.

      Sources for Piracy
      1. Edonkey
      2. Gnutella
      3. Kazaa
      4. Budddies
      5. Warez Groups

      Then add into the people in other countries who buy the movie reproduce the cover art, and resell it for ten bucks in the street. Or worse, 10 bucks to video stores who then then rent it 100 times for 2 bucks a piece.

      I just Kazzaed the word DVD, and got about 30 full titles. And then you can be specific and just abt find anything.

      Kazaa has 4 million users online now. if each user pirates one ten dollar movie a day for 30 days. That is 1.2 billion bucks a month.

      Or these people who do not feel like ripping their own DVD? If you got the DVD who rips it, takes up space and processor cycles.

      I know guys who have complete cd cases of 100-200 movies in Divx they have gotten off the net. And then they SVCD them and pass them around.

      Hell when I was in South America I could buy them on the street. My old lady just got back from Turkey with an assload of them.

      They would not be all over the net if people were not pirating them.

      We need to look at piracy for what it is, not run around saying it does not happen. It is rampant and we can't hide behind the worn out excuse that information should be free.

      Puto
      • A lot more people, though, are willing to download videos for free than are willing to pay $20 for a DVD, or $14 for a movie ticket.

        But that doesn't mean that the MPAA is losing money because people are now seeing movies they weren't going to buy anyways... And they say it's money they _lost_.... You can't account for every single person on a p2p system to believe that they don't already own the movie, or that they're going to keep said movie for a long time.

        I know a good number of people who will download a movie, watch it, and if they like it go and buy said DVD.
    • I've never seen any kind of study that actually reports how much piracy is going on around the internet...

      Studies have been done from time to time. Sometimes the estimates of the number of pirate copies are implausibly high, but that is not the real problem with the economic loss figures that they come up with. The real problem is that they simply take the estimated number of illegal copies, and multply by the list price. Most of the time they do not even bother to take account of the actual market prices of legal copies (i.e. discount prices, or second hand prices).

      What they ought to do is try to estimate how many people would have bought a legal copy if illegal copies had not been available to them. Of course it would be impossible to get precise figures, but it would be possible to get reasonable estimates by surveying. As far as I know, no one has ever bothered to this, so we keep getting these massively inflated figures for economic losses.
  • by sunbane (146740) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:37PM (#5410397) Homepage
    "Norway's legal system is different than the U.S.; the government can appeal a loss in a criminal case."

    Correct, in America they'd have to file a civil lawsuit once he was found innocent and takeaway his heisman ... er... the clothes off his back.
    • So many people think OJ never should have been tried in a civil court because he had already been aquitted. The fact of the matter is the government had a chance to make a criminal case, and they failed. They didn't get a second chance. The Goldmans and Browns had a chance to make a civil case against OJ, and they made thier case. I for one am glad that we live in a country where it is harder to make a criminal case than a civil case, and contrary to popular opinion, the government doesn't get a second chance to convict.
  • by zokum (650994) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:41PM (#5410422) Homepage
    Fair use in Norway:
    Basically, you can make private copies of anything as long as you do not distribute them in any way. One might call it backups.

    Appeal system:
    You can appeal a sentence, but each time this is done the next trial is by a higher instance in the justice system. If a higher instance refuses to take on the case, the old verdict is the one that counts. There are 3 levels + the Human Rights tribunal in Haag or so.
    1. Herreds/Byrett (county/city court)
    2. Lagmannsretten (laymen's court)
    3. Høyesterett (Supreme court)

    The supreme court, (translated from http://www.mossbyrett.of.no/info/i_straff.html) cannot retry whether the accused is guilty or not. It is only there for matters og priniciples, and has more or less been abolished as an instance for appeals. So basically, you can be retried for the same crime, but only a very limited amount of times, and by significantly different courts.
  • Justice... What is? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by anubi (640541) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:44PM (#5410443) Journal
    Just what is meant by "Justice"?

    Does it have anything to do with right and wrong? Or is it just a mechanism used by the powerful to penalize the weaker?

    Does a farmer have a right to say you have to drink the milk you bought directly from the carton? Can it be made illegal to pour the milk into a glass before drinking it?

    Does a producer have a right to say you have to watch their content in a specified player?

    Is it wrong to take something legally purchased and bend it to suit your needs? If so, God help us that buy wire!

    Is it wrong for design and sell equipment for breaking access codes? For spam filters? For telephone telemarketer blocks?

    What I am getting it is just what *is* right or wrong? "Justice" just seems to be selective enforcement so that the forces of society can be directed at the weaker party, not the wronged party.

    Is the wielding of money to any different than the wielding of technology?

    No-one is going to be able to pay Jon back for all this frustration he has been pestered with, yet the same force of "American Justice" that is used to pester Jon looks the other way when its the stronger ( financially speaking ) party doing the thing that someone else does not like them to do.

    This whole sordid affair to me is just a demonstration of just how "unjust" our system has become. My immediate idea is to determine the resources of both parties - If Jon loses, RIAA gets the resources of Jon, if RIAA loses, Jon gets possession of the assets of those who are bringing on all this pesterance. In a Norwegian Court - as he, after all, *is* a Norwegian citizen. Now, that the element of who has the most money is nulled out, see if they still want to pester Jon.

    Personally, I am sick of this whole sordid affair - I can't for the life of me see what Jon did wrong. No more than I would see it that someone figured a way to get my computer to dump its video signal onto a big-screen projector.

    • Onwards to the next step: recognition of the fact that there are no such thing as 'right' or 'wrong', merely localized expressions of power to back a particular ideology. These are merely terms used to confuse the issues or galvanize support.

      Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, Big Business, Academia, etc...all politics is just one group attempting to gain the upper hand so it can knock the others down.

      Welcome to the trenches of the culture wars.

      There are no winners, only casualties. I hope Jon is not amongst them.

      -Brett
    • If you think it looks like that now, just wait until you get divorced.

      You ain't seen *nothin'* yet.

      KFG
  • by The Ape With No Name (213531) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:49PM (#5410461) Homepage
    Norway's legal system is different than the U.S.

    But protection from double jeopardy is still part of Norwegian law. Read the article to see why this occuring. Before any Merikins start pontificating about our venerated and very good, but also deeply flawed legal system, remember that you can be tried twice for the same charge in the States as well. Hung juries, witness tampering, lawyer misconduct etc. cause subsequent trials to occur. I don't know the statistics on how many 2nd and third trials result in acquittal, but a egg rots when left out in the sun. It is best to not face a jury too often.

    If you are acquitted of a crime and subsequently admit that "yes" you actually did it, you can be hauled in for perjury if you attested in court that you did not do it (read this: never testify on your own behalf), and believe you me, if an Attorney General can figure a way to hang a Federal charge on you for the same crime or an attendant one, they will. Sure this isn't exactly the same as double jeopardy, but if you piss off the right/wrong prosecutor, they will get you no matter what. And you will be put on the hardest bitch cellblock in whatever state you live in. All prosecutors have to do to people is threaten them with "Brushy Mountain" here in Tennessee and people fold like lawnchairs. The very protocol for picking prosecutors requires that they keep their hearts in jars buried under fencepost on an uncle's farm. Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way. Criminals need to be pursued and convicted.
    • Personally, I wouldn't have it any other way. Criminals need to be pursued and convicted.

      Yep, expecially the innocent ones....

      if an Attorney General can figure a way to hang a Federal charge on you for the same crime or an attendant one, they will.

      if you piss off the right/wrong prosecutor, they will get you no matter what.

      And you will be put on the hardest bitch cellblock in whatever state you live in. All prosecutors have to do to people is threaten them with "Brushy Mountain" here in Tennessee and people fold like lawnchairs.


      -
  • by YetAnotherName (168064) on Friday February 28, 2003 @07:50PM (#5410465) Homepage
    It's amazingly disappointing to see governments, previously mandated towards protecting the people, instead going out of their way towards protecting potential profits of major corporations.

    The losses screamed about under the dark moniker of piracy are merely missed opportunities for revenue. Are profits down? Yes, but they're still profits, not losses. And just because they're down, Hollywood studios and recording companies think they can enlist the powers-that-be to get them back up.

    And sadly, they're right.
    • And just because [profits are] down, Hollywood studios and recording companies think they can enlist the powers-that-be to get them back up.

      And sadly, they're right.

      Actually, and even more sadly, they're wrong. They can use the government power to do various things, including blindly lashing out at anyone who they think is hurting their profits, but they only way they can actually make more money is by finding a way to convince more consumers to buy their stuff.

      That they actually believe that putting this clever young Norwegian in prison will help them just shows how far out of touch they are. At best they'll convince the person who breaks their next attempt to deploy anti-Fair Use technology that (s)he should publish the information anonymously.

  • But what are the charges brought against him?

    There is no specific legislation in Norway to protect digital content, but Johansen's program has been criminalized in the United States under the Digital Copyright Millennium Act.

    He is not being tried in US, he does not live in US, he didn't write the DeCSS (or its GUI rather) in US? And it's not illegal in Norway to do what he did. So what are the prosecution's charges?

  • The right way. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Luguber123 (203502)
    As an inhabitant of Norway I'd rather see what Hollywood did pay for this 'appeal'. I really don't like crap like this to appear on my next tax-bill. I know that somebody have to pay these lawyers and I'd hate it to be me.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 28, 2003 @08:22PM (#5410628)

    Look at this BS:

    Norwegian Teenager to Face Retrial for Film Piracy

    Calling what Jon did "piracy" is a bit of a stretch isn't it? He wrote a program that reads the format of DVDs. Amazing that a news organization would use this expression.

    acquitted by an Oslo court in January of charges of theft

    No shit! Since there was no "theft", not even Mickey-Mouse Monopoly Money Copyright "theft"!

    The group estimates that piracy costs the U.S. motion picture industry $3.0 billion annually in lost sales.

    What does this have to do with Jon? How much did Jon lose from this stupid case, which has nothing to do with the MPAA's imaginary loses?

    Johansen has become a symbol for hackers worldwide who say making software such as his -- called DeCSS -- is an act of intellectual freedom rather than theft.

    Uh, hello, WRITING SOFTWARE is an act of creation, not of theft. Can't these people read the illogical statements they write?

    There is no specific legislation in Norway to protect digital content, but Johansen's program has been criminalized in the United States under the Digital Copyright Millennium Act.

    What, you mean Norway doesn't have copyright law? Yeah right. Laws like the DMCA don't protect *content* they protect *access methods* which "protect" content. They are "paracopyright" laws like one author has written.

    I wish they would write the story and tell the truth: DVD-Jon wrote a program that lets you load DVDs into your computer. THAT'S ALL.

    The evolution of Piracy:

    1. boarding a ship, killing and/or raping all on board, stealing the cargo
    2. selling mass-producing conterfeit records and CDs
    3. making and giving copies of a record to your friends
    4. violating any aspect of a license agreement
    5. doing something that might facilitate the above

    What's next on the list I wonder?? Piracy == the crime of not preventing copyright infringement when you see it happening. Or maybe Piracy == not buying the latest Britnee CD.

    FUCK I can't wait for this copyright nonesense to sort itself out.

  • Some might argue that if Johansen had been tried in the US and won, the prosecution could not have brought an appeal to try him again.

    True, however, in the US, with the use of the DMCA, he NEVER would have been found not guilty. Under the DMCA, you cannot argue fair use. It's a strict liability statute. If you break encryption to make a copy you're guilty. It doesn't matter if you were making a copy of your own DVD. You'd be guilty.

    The US system might be more fair procedurally, but at least he had a chance to be found not guilty in Norway, which he NEVER had here!
  • Norway's legal system is different than the U.S.; the government can appeal a loss in a criminal case.
    That's nothing! In Soviet Russia, you can ... er ... the government ... uh. Whoah, man. I'm confused.
  • Law reporting? (Score:4, Informative)

    by MacAndrew (463832) on Friday February 28, 2003 @09:48PM (#5410921) Homepage
    Perhaps submitter "kmitnick" is experienced with criminal law, but the sentence "Jon Johansen will be back in court, tried again in an appeals court, because Hollywood knows better than the Norwegian legal system." makes no sense. The Norwegian legal system is the one prosecuting, appealing, and deciding the case. Hollywood "filed the complaint" -- exactly as it is done in the US -- but doesn't the Norwegian legal system take the blame for heeding it?

    The article says, "There is no specific legislation in Norway to protect digital content, but Johansen's program has been criminalized in the United States under the Digital Copyright Millennium Act" -- a strange comment, too. Who cares about the DMCA with Johansen in Norwegian court? Another article [com.com] explained better, "Johansen was accused of violating Norway's computer crime law by helping to create the DeCSS DVD-descrambling utility."

    On the double jeopardy angle, I looked around and can't find enough info. I assume that, as in several other countries, the appeals court looks for mistakes of law committed by the judge, not the weight of the evidence. I doubt he would be "tried again in an appeals court," notwithstanding the submitter's implication; it probably goes back to the Norwegian trial court. But who knows. Anyway, American double jeopardy has a surprising number of holes in it, such as the dual sovereignty doctrine that allows reprosecution up to 3 times in state/federal/military courts.

    The US has some especially strict criminal rules. Whether Norway's system is a violation of fundamental civil rights is Norway's question, not Hollywood's. To compare Norway's system to, say, the United States, we'd want to weigh all their criminal rules as a batch, plus their discretion and fairness in executing those laws.

    Disclaimer, I think this prosecution is a bunch of cr*p, but am totally confused by the reporting as to what's actually happening.

    Obviously, IANANL. (Norwegian lawyer.) Be glad to hear from one!
    • On the double jeopardy angle, I looked around and can't find enough info. I assume that, as in several other countries, the appeals court looks for mistakes of law committed by the judge, not the weight of the evidence.

      One difference between the Norwegian legal system and the US legal system is that the Norwegians do not have jury trials. As a result they do not have the distinction between "aquital" by a jury, and "dismisal" by a judge. In this particular case it looks like the original acquital by a panel of judges had more to do with their legal rulings (i.e. what judges are resonsible for in the US) than with any factual findings (what juries are responsible for in the US). Here in the US "double jeopardy" does prevent any appeal against findings by juries (of innocence at least) but it does not prevent appeals against rulings by judges. So even if we were to imagine how a double jeopardy rule would work in the Norwegian system (I do not know if they have one) it is unlikely that it would prevent an appeal by the prosecution in this case. So long as the issue at stake is a matter of law, both the defence and the prosecution have a right to appeal.
  • Become proactive (Score:4, Interesting)

    by circusnews (618726) <stevenNO@SPAMstevensantos.com> on Friday February 28, 2003 @10:27PM (#5411087) Homepage
    We /.ers are one of, if not the most connected community on earth. We have, what, 375,000 people who read /. every day and come from just about every nation in the world? Why then do we not take a page from actual grass roots groups and become a proactive in writing to law makers to change this garbage?

    For now take a look at this letter writing guide [circusnews.com]. Over the weekend I will post a new one specific to the /. community. Maybe we can stop just complaining and start trying to fix these laws.

Arithmetic is being able to count up to twenty without taking off your shoes. -- Mickey Mouse

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