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DeCSS: Jon Johansen Retrial Begins 559

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the this-will-never-end dept.
JPMH writes "Jon Johansen is back on trial for DeCSS. Despite the acquittal back in January, the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit (OKOKRIM) is allowed to bring his case back before an enlarged panel of judges. The retrial begins today."
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DeCSS: Jon Johansen Retrial Begins

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  • Most worrying bit:: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rhs98 (513802) * <rhs98NO@SPAMisitaboat.co.uk> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:29AM (#7608840) Homepage Journal
    Most worrying bit: "If Johansen's acquittal is over-turned on appeal, it will become illegal for Norwegians to bypass DVD region code restrictions or technical restrictions that prevent fast-forwarding over advertisements, or otherwise circumvent digital controls on their own property," said IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross.

    This is really not good for peoples civil liberties at all - it sucks! This will mean lots of people will get sued potenially.

    • by zerocool^ (112121) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:38AM (#7608925) Homepage Journal
      Yeah, whether people want to acknowledge it or not, the larger issue for the Norwegian people is:

      If you purchase something, and you own it, can the company who created it, but who no longer owns it, put restrictions on the manner in which it can be used?

      For my most chafing U.S. example, it is illegal to copy and distribute a movie. But, legally, do you *have* to watch the FBI warning at the beginning of the movie?
      If you ask me, there should be no point in a DVD at which you cannot skip ahead, fast forward, or hit menu to get out of the current section of the disc.

      ~Wx
      • But, legally, do you *have* to watch the FBI warning at the beginning of the movie?

        No, you don't, legally. My fiancee has a bonestock DVD player purchased in the US (Philips I think?) that will let you fast forward over anything (FBI warning, ads...).
    • Oh my $DEITY..... they're trying to make fast-forwarding past advertisements illegal?!?

      I hope someone with a brain throws this out the moment it reaches that point. This whole thing is a crock -- it's being done only to suppress fair use rights and the like. It's just like the SCO suit -- they're trying to geta nice big wave of FUD going, and I'm sure that they know it.

      What's next -- a SCO-style marathon of going after blue-haired grannies who want to watch DVDs on their Linux-based PVR system set up
      • by Catbeller (118204) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:30PM (#7609457) Homepage
        "Oh my $DEITY..... they're trying to make fast-forwarding past advertisements illegal?!? "

        It is already illegal in the U.S. The ads autoplay, and you cannot stop them. Unless, of course, you reverse engineer a DVD player that lets you control whatever you like -- which is illegal under the DMCA. It is illegal to attempt to bypass an encrypted system, however they care to define it. it Even ROT13 qualifies as encryption, so the vendors don't even have to try very hard.
    • by kaworu-sama (608217) <kaworusama@mchs i . c om> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:48AM (#7609025)
      By simply playing a DVD in a no-region player, aren't you bypassing that? Couldn't people who use those players be sued as well as the people who made them? One could even use PowerDVD and chance the region code on their computer DVD player to "bypass", in a way, region checking. Why not sue Cyberlink?
    • by Zocalo (252965) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:48AM (#7609026) Homepage
      I couldn't agree more. Unfortunately in a move that I can only class as idiocy he's just released details on breaking Apple's iTunes admittedly rather weak DRM system. It's almost a given that the defense lawyers that were doing the high-fives as they realised they could use this a proof of Johansen's blatant disregard for copyright. I mean, seriously, would it *really* have hurt to have waited another couple of weeks to see how things went in the retrial?

      I wish him luck in the trial, and boy do I think he's going to need it now.

      • by EinarH (583836)
        Personally I think that the release of that iTunes hack was just fine..but let's not get into that.
        I think you are wrong about that being a very bad thing for the trial though:

        1. There is no jury consisting of 12 drawn people that would swallow the "Johansen has a blatant disregard for copyright" line. In this case there are seven persons; three "academic" judges, two experts (one from academica and one from business) and two other judges.
        The actor can bitch as much as she wants about moral, personality

    • by richie2000 (159732) <rickard.olsson@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:26PM (#7609418) Homepage Journal
      prevent fast-forwarding over advertisements

      Would it be OK to close the eyes and cover the ears? How about going out of the room for a pitstop or to fetch a glass of water?

  • OKOKRIM (Score:5, Funny)

    by FunWithHeadlines (644929) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:29AM (#7608841) Homepage
    What does OKOKRIM stand for? Apparently it means:

    "OK, OK, Retry Immediately, Man!"

  • by mirko (198274)
    So, let me get this straight : a guy does something that raises suspicion and gets a trial.
    He's found innocent.
    So, he's being tried again... and again ?
    Why don't they directly send him to the electric chair ?
    After all : they won't stop until he's found guilty, will they ?
    • by Kierthos (225954) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:32AM (#7608872) Homepage
      You know, if you RTFA, you'd see, in the second paragraph, the following:


      In January 2003, a three-judge panel in Oslo rejected charges brought by the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit (OKOKRIM) against Johansen for accessing his DVD movies using an independently created DVD player. OKOKRIM appealed the loss and Johansen's retrial is scheduled to begin on December 2, 2003 in Oslo and end December 11, 2003. Since Johansen's case is one of first impression, it is not unusual for the case to be retried on an appeal in Norway.


      Kierthos
    • Norwegian courts (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lucky_Norseman (682487) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:35AM (#7608902)
      Norway has a two-phase court system.

      If either party disagree with the verdict at the lower court they can appeal and get a new trial with more judges (and depending on the type of crime, either a jury or a panel of judges)
      • If either party disagree with the verdict at the lower court they can appeal and get a new trial with more judges

        Uhh - how in the hell would both parties agree with the first decision? Isn't that why they're in a court in the first place?

        Are you sure that's not a Polish court system?
        • Are you sure that's not a Polish court system?

          Hmmm... no. The Polish court system is the one, where when you finally got all of the judges, jury, plantifs, defendants, atorneys and clerks together in the same courtroom on the same time and date, they cannot start the process, because all the documentation get lost somehow...

          And yes. I'm Polish...
    • Don't forget that he won his country's top science award for DeCSS.
  • try, try again.

    </PUN CLASS=BAD>
  • Gee, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I didn't know that Hollywood, USA had the legal authority to put Norweigans thru a retrial after an acquittal. What next, will Jon be tried as a terrorist?
    • An organisation as important as the MPAA can do anything. After all, the entire global economy would just collapse if people could pirate bad movies, therefore it's vital that every nation should surrender to the might of the MPAA.
    • It's Norweigan Law (Score:5, Interesting)

      by harriet nyborg (656409) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:45AM (#7608996)
      The charges OKOKRIM filed against Johansen were brought under the Norwegian criminal code section 145.2, which outlaws bypassing technological restrictions to access data that one is not entitled to access. Johansen's prosecution is the first time that this law has been used to prosecute a person for accessing his own property.

      this is misleading.

      according to the complaint [ipjustice.org] filed against him he was charged with vilolating section 145.2 of the Norweigan criminal statute "which outlaws bypassing technological restrictions to access data that one is not entitled to access."

      according to the criminal complaint he was charged with accessing the master key, the master key list, as well as the contents of a protected disk.

      the question is whether the master key, and the master key list, which are intentionally encrypted, can be considered as data he is not "entitled to access."

      to say he is being prosecuted for "accessing his own property" is simply shrill hyperbole.

      despite the confidence expressed by his lawyer, his case is not so clear cut.

      • by famebait (450028) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:07PM (#7609214)
        to say he is being prosecuted for "accessing his own property" is simply shrill hyperbole

        Shrill hyperbole empathically supported by the previous court, in that case, if you read the deliberation on the aquittal.
      • 145.2 of the Norweigan criminal statute "which outlaws bypassing technological restrictions to access data that one is not entitled to access."

        If Johansen has only used it to access DVDs he has bought and paid for, then he does have an entitlement to access them.


  • If any of those guys prosecuting Jon have at least one DVD ripped at home.
  • DeCSS2 will be created just like DeCSS was, but instead of one "Jon Johansen" its creator's name will most likely sound like "d00d" or "DaMan".
  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:40AM (#7608946) Homepage
    Retrial is if e.g. the trial is decleared a "mistrial", or in the case of Norway, normally only if the Supreme Court finds that the lower court were waaay off (normally, they'd correct a sentence themselves, a retrial is basicly only if it'd take up too much of the court's time to do it all over again).

    Also, for the people I see making fun of the name, it's really &Oslash;kokrim, &Oslash;ko = eco- of economics, and krim of crime... It's just not fucking possible to get slashdot to show HTML character codes :p

    Anyway, I hope they appeal it all the way to the top and fail with flying colors... too bad, that by then the EUCD will probably already be in effect, making the precedent outdated...

    Kjella
  • by Space cowboy (13680) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:40AM (#7608947) Journal
    According to the article, when a precedent is being set, it is common for an appeal to succeed, and this is what has happened. Actually (despite hoping Jon will prevail) I think this is a pretty good idea - a second look at something with big ramifications is probably a good thing under any circumstances...

    Simon
  • by grazzy (56382) <grazzy@NOsPam.quake.swe.net> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:41AM (#7608966) Homepage Journal
    Before we all get all tear-eyed with nationalistic ideals etc etc, we should remember where RIAA and MPAA comes from.

  • by teamhasnoi (554944) <<teamhasnoi> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:46AM (#7609012) Homepage Journal
    apart from the fact he's done more to shape IP laws, copy protection, open source software and linux - he's had to deal with this BS since he was *15*.

    I was still sitting on legos and eating giant bowls of Sugar Crisp in front of the Smurfs when I was 15.

    When will we see the takedown of fair use in this country?

    OT Question: Don't the major linux players (IBM, RedHat, um.. Dell ect.) distribute some sort of linux DeCSS DVD player? Why are they not being hunted down and sued by the MPAA?

    • "apart from the fact he's done more to shape IP laws, copy protection, open source software and linux"


      He did what?
      Last time I checked, all that he had to do with DeCCS is to write a lame GUI for it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:47AM (#7609020)
    "the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit (OKOKRIM) is allowed to bring his case back before an enlarged panel of judges."

    The dangers of viagra abuse.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:51AM (#7609071)
    "The charges OKOKRIM filed against Johansen were brought under the Norwegian criminal code section 145.2, which outlaws bypassing technological restrictions to access data that one is not entitled to access."

    So it should boil down to whether people are entitled to access data on DVDs for which they paid fair and square. Why do we pay $25/DVD if it isn't for the right to access the data on them?

  • Wording... (Score:2, Insightful)

    The wording here is misleading. He's not really being tried in the same court...if I had to compare it to something most of us would know, it would be the US Supreme Court. You can start small and work your way up through the system, this is what has happened with his case.

    What we have now, that we didn't have much of before was derivative works. Just who is using DeCSS? There are certainly a lot of DVD players for Linux that use the libraries to play encrypted DVDs...But on the other hand, every DVD r
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @11:59AM (#7609132) Journal
    ...for fighting the good fight.

    He's a bright kid (in the computer sense), and yet - apparently - stupid enough to pick on a 600 pound gorilla (RIAA/MPAA). I suppose the only thing to say is, "Thank you." Even US corporations with fat legal warchests aren't willing to take such a chance. Every revolution must start somewhere, and most truly successful ones start at the bottom.

  • by rRogta (724357) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:02PM (#7609175) Journal
    Here's from a norwegian newspaper:

    http://www.aftenposten.no/english/local/article. jh tml?articleID=682755

    If you scroll a little down you'll find:

    According to newspaper VG's web site, the
    technical nature of the case led to judge Wenche
    Skjaeggestad asking the prosecutor to explain the
    meaning of the central term 'algorithm' (a
    computational procedure applied to solve a
    problem), a request eventually satisfied by one
    of the expert assessors.

    Now, who could expect the prosecutor to actually understand what it is he's beeing charged of? That would just be silly..
  • bloody rediculous (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:06PM (#7609203) Homepage
    Nothing like companies/industries not wanting their products to be sold.

    It makes absolutely no sense why the RIAA would give a damn about DeCSS - it enables people to watch their over-priced DVDs in foreign countries. This requires at least some purchase. What's the deal?
  • by LaCosaNostradamus (630659) <LaCosaNostradamus AT mail DOT com> on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:10PM (#7609242) Journal
    These court cases should illustrate to Mr. Johansen and rest of us:

    If you're going to crack open the schemes of the corporate overlords, do so anonymously.
  • by philovivero (321158) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:12PM (#7609262) Homepage Journal
    This type of travesty could never happen in the United States. We don't just keep re-trying someone until we can finally prove they are guilty. We just stick 'em in Guantanimo Bay.
  • by IroNick (668714) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:29PM (#7609450)
    The prosecutor in the DVD-Jon case had to get help from an expert judge to explain what an algorithm is. Here (Norwegian only). [www.vg.no] The newspaper where I first read this (The biggest in Norway) explains that an algorithm is a "mathematical concept". They used this article to demonstrate the the case was very technically complicated...

    Sadly, not all news are for nerds... :)
  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:35PM (#7609507) Homepage
    Yes, the prosecution can appeal a decision in the Norwegian court system. Note that this isn't a new trial, it's an appeals process. But I think we and the USA has a completely different understanding of how the justice system should work, and why double jeopardy should/shouldn't exist. I'll try to explain:

    In the American system, it's all about finding the one trial that'll get them acquitted, be it that the jury that is so biased, incompetent, stupid, subjective, easily influenced, prejudicial, scared of sending innocents to jail or otherwise inept that they can't manage to find a man guilty even when the evidence should have been sufficient. Or through lack of experience on part of the judge and the prosecution, making the legal proceedings be of an inadequate quality.

    I guess the reasoning is that if one jury is able to see reasonable doubt, there is reasonable doubt. In theory, it sounds like sound legal thinking. However, I can think of so many other reasons why one specific jury may find reasonable doubt where there is none. In the US, that seems to be acceptable, but I think most other places it'd be seen as a flaw, if the evidence was in fact sufficient (another matter altogether if the evidence is insufficient, both of us use "innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt").

    In Norway, and I might add in quite a few other countries, we instead realize that trials are not perfect, and that judgements may be too excessive. This can go both in favor as well as disfavor of the defendant, and in extremes leading to aquitting those that by the evidence should have been guilty, and also in some cases sentencing the innocent. In particular, I'm thinking about sentences that get overturned in a higher court, though technically you're not sentenced until the judgement is final.

    Instead, we base our legal system on competence. A higher court, with more/better educated judges, a full jury, is considered to be more competent, and so a more accurate instrument of justice than a lower one. That is, that a higher court will make less incorrect decisions, putting more guilty in jail, and freeing more innocents.

    Now ask yourself this: If you were checking if a product was inside a specification, would you use one fairly accurate measurement, or many less accurate ones and reject it if one is outside the acceptable limits? I think the Norwegian system works great, it's just that some laws are completely nutty and sentences are overall too low. But that's a completely different discussion...

    Kjella
    • by dachshund (300733) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @02:16PM (#7610535)
      Now ask yourself this: If you were checking if a product was inside a specification, would you use one fairly accurate measurement, or many less accurate ones and reject it if one is outside the acceptable limits?

      If the product were extremely critical-- say, a life and death sort of thing like a pacemaker-- I would reject it if it failed even one test. And that would be good practice. You propose to retest it again and again until you get the result you want. Try explaining your rationale to the family of the the person who dies because you were trying to be "reasonable" in your testing, rather than stringent.

      A higher court, with more/better educated judges

      In the Norwegian system, it's possible to be acquitted by no less than two different courts before some third set of judges decides to jail you. If you believe that the third set is somehow "better" than the lower courts, then you're implicitly casting the other two sets of judges as wrong or even incompetent in those cases (perhaps because they're under-educated?) You're admitting that most of the legal decisions in your country are being made by judges who are periodically (nay, regularly) in error. That's a legal system I'd love to be subject to.

  • by dtfinch (661405) * on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @12:38PM (#7609538) Journal
    He was like 14 or 15 when he released DeCSS and it wasn't even illegal in his country at the time.
  • by nonameisgood (633434) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @01:38PM (#7610182)
    ...I got locked out of my house and was arrested for breaking into my own home.

    Until DMCA and it's counterparts elsewhere go away, we are all at the mercy of the **AA overlords and lackeys.

    --
    Free beer is nice, but I can speak more freely if I buy the beer.
  • by t_allardyce (48447) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @04:05PM (#7611424) Journal
    Its a Micky Mouse court under layered by freedom restricting laws that serve only corporate interests. If the MPAA stopped making films today for example it would not matter there would be people who would make better films for less, just as if Microsoft stopped what they were doing, (well,people already make better software for less). What public interest do laws like the DMCA serve? I've never seen a real criminal busted by the DMCA, in fact "arrested under DMCA" would probably boost my trust for someone (if i were an employer i would hire them on the spot)

    Then theres the inability for the court members to fully understand the situation. All they see is "this law says you cant do this because it violates this companies IP security, this kid has broken the law" which is the same thing the politicians see. What the people in charge don't see or understand is the free speech issue and all they listen to are well trained, well articulated expensive company lawyers who know exactly how to sell the case just like the salesperson at that electronics store knows exactly how to sell your parents the wrong thing. Law and politics shouldn't be like that, otherwise the whole system is useless.
  • by panurge (573432) on Tuesday December 02, 2003 @04:36PM (#7611676)
    is the idea that individuals can be repeatedly prosecuted in order to "clarify the law". If a law was so badly designed or so obscurely drafted, or if the education of state prosecutors and judges is so neglected, that a valid prosecution fails, it should be up to the representative government to redraft the law or address the training of law officers.

    Anybody who has been engaged in a long drawn out legal case with many hearings knows that it is one of the worst things that can happen to anybody, and even if one is eventually successful it may take years to recover. What is happening in Guantanamo Bay is deplorable, but surely what is happening in this case is deplorable on a smaller scale. To me, both cases are like prosecuting a small scale cannabis seller because the guy running the big operation selling crack is too powerful and the police badly need a drugs bust for the statistics.

Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig. -- Lazarus Long, "Time Enough for Love"

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