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DeCSS: Jon Johansen Acquitted In Retrial 457

Posted by Hemos
from the come-down-early dept.
EssJay writes "DVD-Jon is acquitted in the retrial. The verdict was expected in January, but was announced today in the papers." We had posted about the retrial beginning - it's a good holiday present to get this early.
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DeCSS: Jon Johansen Acquitted In Retrial

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  • by bluedream (676879) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:04AM (#7785260) Homepage Journal
    Umm.. wasn't that link posted in the article?
  • So what? (Score:0, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:06AM (#7785274)
    This case has absolutely no legal bearing in the USA.
  • It's not a retrial (Score:5, Informative)

    by KjetilK (186133) <kjetil@NosPAM.kjernsmo.net> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:07AM (#7785281) Homepage Journal
    It's not really a retrial. IANAL (but I am Norwegian), but I think retrials happen when the Supreme Court finds that a lower court has messed up badly. This was an ordinary appeal process. In Norwegian courts, both parties can appeal, and the police appealed the previous acquittal, so it was sent to a higher court, which rejected the appeal.

    It's not quite over yet, the police can appeal to the Supreme Court, which may or may not decide to hear it. The ultimate humiliation for the police would be if it was appealed but the Supreme Court decided not to hear it. But given the amount of beating the police has had in this case, they would be pretty fanatical to even think about appealing.

    But yeah, it didn't take them too long, the case was apparently quite easy for the judges.

  • No surprise here... (Score:5, Informative)

    by tuxette (731067) * <tuxetteNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:09AM (#7785293) Homepage Journal
    The prosecution didn't come up with anything new in this appeal, at least not anything that could contribute significantly to the case. It was a "no-brainer" for the judge and jury.

    A few points that are in an article in Norwegian and not the English article (translated directly, I'm not responsible for journalists' errors):

    • 40-bit crypto is too weak (export maximum); you need a minimum of 64-bit; CSS is 16-bit
    • Johansen was not required to used "authorized" equipment to play the DVD.
    • You have the right to take a copy of the DVD for private use.
    • It is not illegal to break the copy-protection code.

    Unfortunately, despite a second humiliation, I have a feeling they're going to appeal this to the Supreme Court. And waste more taxpayer's money.

    I wonder if Inger Marie Sunde is going to take another "sabbatical" now, like last time hehe...

  • Re:excellent news (Score:5, Informative)

    by StupidGoose (650732) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:09AM (#7785295)
    IANALBIAAN.
    (I am not a lawyer, but I am a Norwegian.)
    Actually, I think the norwegian justice system is more corporation-friendly than the american one.
    For example the MS anti-trust trial - it would never happen here. Inside trading, etc., is often ignored as well.
  • I've not read the verdict, but according the news reports, that is exactly what the court thinks. If it is yours, any obstacle towards using it is illegitimate and may be circumvented. It sounds quite good. But it may only last untill EUCD is implemented...
  • by lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:13AM (#7785318) Homepage
    Hey, do you think they'll give up after only two retrials?

    They have to. The next higher court (the "highest court") is the last stop. No case can go further. If the high court decides to hear it (as they probably should) then it becomes a precedent.

    P.S. And they aren't retrials per se. The Norwegian, and Swedish, legal systems allow for a maximum of three trials in succedingly higher courts. And only the highest court can set a precedent.

    Also, no plea bargains, no jury (only laypersons that sit for a longer term), no bail, and the state pays for your lawyer of choice who can claim according to a set (fairly generous) standard (there are no criminal attorneys that operate outside of that system).

  • by bwz (13374) <erik@elmg r e n . org> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:19AM (#7785344) Homepage
    In US (I think this is from the UK legal tradition that they inherited) aquittal by Jury means no appeal for prosecution while in the "rest of the world" (where there are usually no juries) both prosecution and defense have more similar possibilities of appeal.

    In at least Sweden (where I am from) aquittal by the jury means no appeal for the prosecutor, but jury trial is only used in "freedom of press" cases such as libel.

    Further, It is not the police that prosecutes a case, but rather the "publics prosecutor" (I suppose like a district attourney in the US) or in this case a special "public prosecutor" tasked with a specific type of crimes.

    These prosecutors work closely with the police though, and directs much of their work.

    Erik
  • Re:excellent news (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:21AM (#7785357)
    As a norwegian, I can agree that in some ways, yes, it is more corporate-friendly. However,
    the US and norway are two entirely different
    countries and work in entirely different
    scales. Being corporate-friendly in Norway
    has a different meaning than being corporate-friendly in the US. Just
    my 2 cents.
  • by EinarH (583836) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:21AM (#7785358) Journal
    Actually, one of the judge-experts was a guy from Linpro [linpro.no], a Norwegian consulting firm and the leading Linux company in Norway.

    In a case like this I would rather stand in front of a judge with a jury consisting of experts rater that "clueless" non-technical fellow citizens.

  • by IdleTime (561841) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:25AM (#7785381) Journal
    The court also said that the limitations printed on each DVD was not legal and that they looked more like a private law addendum that severly limited your legal rights according to Norwegian Copyright laws. It also said there is a huge difference between copying a relatively brittle media like a CD compared to a more durable media like a book. The law gives you a clear and unstoppable right to make private backup copies and an encryption or copy protection schema is directly hindering you in executing your legal rights, hence Jon was aquitted.
  • by arth1 (260657) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:26AM (#7785391) Homepage Journal
    Let us hope this finally means we have a right to decrypt data media which we own a licence to watch.

    It appears to mean just that in Norway, at least.

    While Norway isn't a member of the European Union (EU), they are -- like Switzerland -- a member of the European Economic Cooperative (EEC), and laws are quite often synchronized across EU+EEC. This might have influence on, if not directly affecting, how EU laws will be interpreted.

    EEC seems to be one of the three remaining venues of appeal for the MPAA and its lackeys in this case -- it's hard to imagine how this ruling could be anti-competitive in nature or otherwise impart European trade rules, but it's a possibility.

    The case might also be escalated to the Norwegian supreme court, for a principal ruling. However, I am not sure that the MPAA would want that to happen, as that would be a definitive ruling affecting all similar cases in the future, and with the firm rulings of the two lower courts, it's highly unlikely that the Norwegian supreme court would rule differently.

    The third venue of continued legal action would be to charge Mr Johansen according to US laws in the US, because the GUI for DeCSS that he published was made available on the US market. Let's hope that Mr Johansen has learned from the Skylarov case, and won't be stupid enough to visit the US in the near future.

    Regards,
    --
    *Art
  • by joonasl (527630) <joonas DOT lyytinen AT iki DOT fi> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:27AM (#7785399) Homepage
    I'm from Finland and I believe that the Norwegian justice sustem similarly to the Finnish one follows the Germanic juridic tradiotion, where the anglo-saxon "jury" institution is not widely used. In fact most of the judgements are passed by professional judges and in the few cases where a jury is used is in cases where the judgement is done by a panal of judges. The panel has allways more lawyers than laymen.
  • by KjetilK (186133) <kjetil@NosPAM.kjernsmo.net> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:29AM (#7785408) Homepage Journal
    I haven't yet read the verdict, but some details seems to come out now. From the largish norwegian paper VG [www.vg.no], I'm trying a translation:
    DVD-films are stored on a medium which is prone become damaged. For that reason, it is very different to copy a movie from a book or a periodical, it says in the verdict.

    The court also makes clear that a prohibition against copying as printed on the film cover will limit consumer's legitimate rights as granted by section 12 of the copyright code.

    "This practice can be compared to private legislation, and can disturb the balance between interests that the law builds upon," said the judge.

    This is good, especially the last paragraph. Apparently, the verdict makes it clear that the film industry is infringing on people's rights, not the other way around. It also makes it clear that any "you owe us your first-born" licenses or restrictions is null and void, and even ought to raise some eyebrows with legislators. It makes it clear that the entertainment industry is trying to take legislator's jobs away from them, by themselves setting all the rules. That ought to make legislators slightly upset, I would assume...

  • Re:excellent news (Score:4, Informative)

    by Indy1 (99447) <spamtrap@fuckedregime.com> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:29AM (#7785411) Homepage
    well at least your appeals court doesnt whole sale agree with the corporatists. Here in the US, we have a company (directv) that will sue you simply for owning a smart card programmer. And unless you have a few hundred thousand dollars laying around handy, your only option is to get extorted for $2000 (i think thats the current amount they are extorting for). All because one greedy corporation decided that any one with a smart card programmer must be pirating their crap.

    Thats the US (in)justice system for you. Of big business, by big business, and for big business.
  • by leoaugust (665240) <`leoaugust' `at' `gmail.com'> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:30AM (#7785413) Journal

    Well Done DVD-Jon

    Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never, in nothing, great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. [brainyquote.com]

    There is a beautiful Gallery of CSS descramblers by Dr. David S. Touretzky (Carnegie Mellon University). [cmu.edu]

    His site is a gallery devoted to representations of a piece of software that has been deemed illegal because it can be used to break through the copy-protection system on DVD movies. [princeton.edu]

    "It never occurred to me that someone would actually try to prevent people from publishing code that they wrote," he said. "The idea just struck me as so deeply offensive that I felt I had to do something about it."

    To make his point about free speech, he offered several exhibits from his gallery, including a description of the DeCSS code in plain English and a T-shirt on which the code was printed -- both of which could be considered illegal under the copyright act.

  • by julesh (229690) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:39AM (#7785463)
    But it may only last untill EUCD is implemented...

    The UK EUCD implementation grants specific requirements that mean you must be allowed access to an unencrypted copy of the data if you have a legitimate reason for needing it... unforuntately the procedure for enforcement of this is ridiculously complicated (you must complain to the home secretary, IIRC).

    I'm not sure how it'll work in norway, but I'd hope there would be some similar provision.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:41AM (#7785474)
    IIRC Norway is not a part of the EU.
  • Backups allowed (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:45AM (#7785503)
    The whole verdict can be found here (norwegian): "http://www.vg.no/pub/vgart.hbs?artid=206926"

    "a DVD-record is a fragile media that may be damaged, thus the buyer must be entitled to make a copy, for-instance of a film that he wants to preserve".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:02AM (#7785594)
    The People of Norway repeatedly refused to join the EU. However, the Government of Norway had little choice but to join the European Economic Space, which is EU+Norway, and basically means that Norway has to implement all "interstate commerce" directives but has zero decision and bartering power with respect to the wording of these directives.
  • by pkaral (104322) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:08AM (#7785635)
    I was in court for the defence procedure, and here is some additional info:

    DVD Jon was charged with breaking a rule in the Norwegian penal code that makes it illegal to "break a protection ... and thereby gain illegitimate access to data" (145,2). This is a different part of Norwegian law than that which deals with protection of Intellectual Property. The defence argued that this rule was a continuation of the old one that protected the secrecy of letters and other forms of communication, and that a movie therefore is not "data" according to this law. As far as I understand, the court did not concede this.

    However, the crux of the case ended up being the term "illegitimate access". The court decided that there is nothing illegitimate about breaking a protection to gain access to something you have bought. An important part of this is that in Norway, the labels that distributors stick on DVDs, CDs and software are not binding for consumers (more explicit consent is required for binding agreements). If the labels were binding, the access would have been illegitimate. Luckily for Jon (and for freedom of information), this is not the case.
  • by RevMike (632002) <revMike@NoSpaM.gmail.com> on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:08AM (#7785636) Journal
    Why can't trials in the US (especially regarding technology) be overseen by judges with relevant expertise? Doesn't that seem like an obvious component of having a fair, just ruling?

    Defendants in criminal cases have the ability to waive the jury and submit to a "bench trial", in which the judge is both the finder of law and the finder of fact. It is a tactic used very frequently when the case turns on something very subtle, and the defendant believes the jury might be confused. Judges have extensive experience dealing with subtle and confusing issues.

    There are ways to get a bench trial in civil cases as well, but I'm not sure of all the rules.

  • by arth1 (260657) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:15AM (#7785670) Homepage Journal
    No bail? To lock you up all the state has to do is accuse you, or am I misunderstanding?

    They can lock you up for up to 48 hours before they need a court order for an arrest. Unless there's specific reasons for keeping the alleged perp interned, like destruction of evidence or risk of fleeing the country, the suspect is almost always released without bail (which doesn't exist) while awaiting trial.
    And fleeing is simply unthinkable for the average Norwegian -- not only is the culture different, but there's no state borders to hide behind to avoid prosecution, like in the US. You'll have to go to a different country, where you won't have papers, and thus it is almost certainly easier to just face the court system in Norway. I'd think that the average Norwegian would rather be a prisoner in Norway than a fugitive anywhere else in the world.

    Regards,
    --
    *Art
  • Wrong, by 60% (Score:5, Informative)

    by Orne (144925) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:33AM (#7785791) Homepage
    CNN did a study earlier this year [cnn.com], to check the personal finances of American Senators. The reason behind this is, due to new campaign finance laws, if you decide to privately fund your campaign, you are not held to the free speach restrictions telling you when you may broadcast your commercials... but I digress.

    At the time (Jun 13), only 40 out of 100 were millionaires, with 22 of those Republican and 18 of those Democrat. Of the same group of 40, 6 were Women and 34 were Men. The top 3 wealthiest are all Democrat.

    From a blurb at the bottom, there are at least a few "common" people in the Senate... "at least 10 senators reported net worths of less than $100,000." Still a substantial salary in my opinion.

    Not surprisingly, the founding fathers had a more "ogliarch" view of government. Benjamin Franklin believed that if the Senators were not given a salary [senate.gov], then only the wealthy could afford to spend their free time governing the nation. He was voted down, and congress instituted a salary of $6 per day [congresslink.org].
  • by Gumshoe (191490) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:34AM (#7785793) Journal
    Socialism and communism are the same. According to Marx, they are the same. He used both terms interchangably.


    a) Marx didn't invent communism he only co-wrote the Manifesto with Engels. So what Marx has to say on the subject isn't the last word.

    and

    b) The communism Marx was talking about is very different to the Communism you have in mind; the latter being better described as Stalinism.
  • by lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:43AM (#7785882) Homepage
    Can the State drown the defendant in prosecuting lawyers whereas the defendant is only entitled to one lawyer, or it is one prosecutor and one defender?

    Well, I don't know the specifics about Norway, but in Sweden it is one prosecutor. However, he is also formally the head of the police investigation team, so he has some help there also. As such he has a sworn duty to try and find the truth, and hence if he uncovers anything that would tend to exhonorate the defendant he has to take that into account in trial as well (i.e. has to make it known to the court), so at least in theory he's (to some small extent) working for you in court as well, though in practice it may not be perfect.

    Note though that the prosecutor is a civil servant, i.e. not elected, so you won't see "show trials" just for the publicity. Prosecutors are fairly anonymous people here.

    Also, there's often another lawyer on the prosecutors "team", that's there to represent the interests of the victim, not the state, in cases where damages to the victim may be awarded (we don't typically do a separate civil suit for that, though there's nothing stoping it in theory). Thus the verdict can come down as "three years in prison, a fine and damages paid to the victims). I don't know if that's done in the US?

    It's not a perfect system. But on balance it's not a bad system either.

  • by lars_stefan_axelsson (236283) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:54AM (#7785976) Homepage
    No bail? To lock you up all the state has to do is accuse you, or am I misunderstanding?

    Well, not really. The police can question you for 6+6 hours (you have the right to the lawyer of your choice), and then they have to press some form of charges. After that a "custody hearing" has to take place "as soon as possible, though no later than 48 hours after being taken in custody". There a judge will decide if the case against you is strong enough to go to trial at all (at that time), or if the charges are severe enough and there is sufficient risk of flight or disturbing the investigation, that you should remain incarcerated pending trial.

    So it's not unlike the US system only that there is no bail. In the cases were a US judge would deny bail a Swede would be held in custody, and in the cases where the US judge would say "bail set at", the Swede would go free, withouth having to pay any bail.

    If the trial comes out "innocent", then you will be compensated (quite handsomely) for the time spent incarcerated, so it's a form of bail in reverse. You don't pay to stay out of jail, you get paid to spend time in jail. :-)

    Also, if you haven't been convicted of a crime you won't see any other prisoners, there's no "drunk tank" or similar here. You get single accomodation, both when arrested and in jail. So there's no risk of "innocent" people being forced to spend time with real criminals.

  • sigh... (Score:2, Informative)

    by mekkab (133181) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:57AM (#7785997) Homepage Journal
    get your facts straight. I hate it when people reference the McDonalds coffee case and don't know what the fuck they are talking about.

    Here are some details:
    What the jury didn't realize initially was the severity of her burns. Told during the trial of Mrs. Liebeck's seven days in the hospital and her skin grafts, and shown gruesome photographs, jurors began taking the matter more seriously. Even more eye-opening was the revelation that McDonald's had seen such injuries many times before. Company documents showed that in the past decade McDonald's had received at least 700 reports of coffee burns ranging from mild to third degree, and had settled claims arising from scalding injuries for more than $500,000.

    POSTSCRIPT - Following the trial of Ms. Liebeck's case, the judge who presided over it reduced the punitive damages award to $480,000, even though the judge called McDonald's conduct reckless, callous and willful. This reduction is a corrective feature built into our legal system. Furthermore, after that, both parties agreed to a settlement of the claim for a sum reported to be much less than the judge's reduced award. Another corrective feature.
  • by BenTels0 (667908) on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:00AM (#7786015)
    However, the Government of Norway had little choice but to join the European Economic Space,

    Area. In English, it's called the European Economic Area (I know it's confusing at times; it's called "space" (Ruimte) in Dutch as well). And Norway had every freedom not to join -- it's just that at the time Norway was expecting that it WOULD shortly be joining the EU. That is, after all, what the Area was all about: a stepping-stone to full EU (then EC) membership.

    which is EU+Norway

    I'm sure Iceland for one appreciates this one....

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:07AM (#7786064)
    "get your facts straight. I hate it when people reference the McDonalds coffee case and don't know what the fuck they are talking about

    I did. I know lots of minute courtroom details, which all show how utterly frivolous this case is.

    "McDonald's had received at least 700 reports of coffee burns ranging from mild to third degree,"

    The facts: McDonald's had sold more than ten million cups of this coffee at the SAME temperature over the same time period. 700 incidents during this time amounts to "nil". Do the math: the coffee was quite safe. I guess everyone else chose not to pour the coffee into their crotch.

    Following the trial of Ms. Liebeck's case, the judge who presided over it reduced the punitive damages award to $480,000"

    So? She received way too much. $480,000 too much, in fact. The legal system is flawed to allow any ill-gotten gains like this. Looks like you do not know what you are talking about.
  • by BenTels0 (667908) on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:28AM (#7786208)
    But it may only last untill EUCD is implemented...

    That doesn't seem particulalry likely. The central reason that Johansen was never found guilty was that he didn't write or distribute this software with the purpose of violating copyrights (as in making copies and redistributing) but for enabling premissible use (i.e. making the damn things readble under Linux after you spent good money on them). That use remains permissible and Artible 6, sub 4 of that same Directive states that both governments and industry must see to it that it remains possible to take such permissible actions and that circumventing copyright protections for such purposes can never be a violation.

  • What right is this that people keep talking about?

    In the U.S., and a few other countries I know of, it's generally been the case that you are ALLOWED to make a backup copy of digital media, but you do not have the RIGHT to it. That means that if you can, you may, but if they implement some assinine "protection", things like the DMCA can kick you in the nuts for making your copy.

    In fact, our sister company determined, about a year and a half ago, that, according to German law, German consumers DO NOT have a right to make backup copies (only that they may if they have the option) and, therefore, they were going to proceed with the sale of "protected" compact discs. They're not going to go engaging in a business practice that's going to put them in a courtroom on the obvious losing end of a lawsuit, I can tell you that. To date, nobody has managed to prove that what they're doing infringes on anyone's rights.

    The long and short of it in most places seems to be that if you buy damaged (er... protected) media, that's just too fscking bad. You don't like it, then don't buy it anymore. Unfortunately, all the little children keep running out to buy Shitney Spears and the Buttfuck Boy Band Brothers' latest garbage, keeping up sales, and keeping the gooey, DRM goodness flowing.

    In other words, as usual, the people who know what's going on are being trampled by the idiots who use dollar bills to wipe their asses and can't follow a thought process more complex then the instructions on a "shake 'n bake" box.

  • by 19usc2462bH (709297) on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:46AM (#7786332)
    While Norway isn't a member of the European Union (EU), they are -- like Switzerland -- a member of the European Economic Cooperative (EEC),

    No, Switzerland is a member of EFTA [efta.int], the European Free Trade Association. Switzerland is also the only member of EFTA that is not a party to the EEA [efta.int] (European Economic Area), which it is usually called, not EEC. EEC [eu.int] stands for European Economic Community, which is now EC, the European Community. (The name was altered by the Maastricht treaty establishing the European Union.)

    The EFTA members which are parties to the EEA are Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. Sweden, Finland and Austria were previoulsy members of EFTA before joining the EU in 1995.

    The Norwegian "green paper" on the implementation of the EUCD/Infosoc is available [odin.dep.no] online, as a PDF file [odin.dep.no], but it is in Norwegian. This is just draft-draft legislation, asking for the opinion of various affected parties (a "hearing"). The final draft has yet to been issued. Norway has not yet implemeneted the EUCD in its copyright act.

    The decision-making process leading up to the passing of the directive 2001/29/EC [eu.int] (EUCD) can be found at PreLex [eu.int].

    The status of the passing of the EUCD in various nations can be tracked [wiki.ael.be].

    An appeal to the Supreme Court is possible on legal grounds (i.e. wrongful interpretation of the penal code) and faulty legal proceedings, however, the acquital stands unless the case is remanded and a whole new trial takes place.

  • by Quietti (257725) on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:51AM (#7786370) Journal
    See [bbc.co.uk] for yourselves. Say what you want, but it appears that, after Tony Blair, the BBC has also become a laquay of American propaganda. How long before UK is annexed by the Land of the Non-Free?
  • by jd142 (129673) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:05PM (#7786465) Homepage
    This is a textbook example of a poster not knowing the full story.

    McDonald's was repeatedly warned that it was serving its coffee hotter than it should -- close to boiling. They were told to serve their coffee at a more normal temperature. When the woman received third degree burns to her thighs because McDonald's repeatedly refused to. All she did was remove the lid to add her cream and sugar and received third degree burns. Think about that.

    "She was hospitalized for eight days, during which time she underwent skin grafting. Liebeck, who also underwent debridement treatments, sought to settle her claim for $20,000, but McDonalds refused.

    During discovery, McDonalds produced documents showing more than 700 claims by people burned by its coffee between 1982 and 1992. Some claims involved third-degree burns substantially similar to Liebecks. This history documented McDonalds' knowledge about the extent and nature of this hazard."

    So, McDonald's knew they were serving their coffee too hot, they'd been sued before, and now a woman who removed the lid to add cream and sugar had to had skin grafts as a result.
  • Bunner case (Score:5, Informative)

    by Markus Registrada (642224) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:10PM (#7786514)
    This result bears on the Andrew Bunner trade-secret case in California. That court found that since the trade secret was (supposedly) illegally obtained, Andrew Bunner and several hundred "John Does" had acted improperly in posting it.

    At the trial the question came up whether in fact the reverse engineering involved was legal under Norwegian law. They called for opinions from Norwegian lawyers. The plaintiff trotted out a tame lawyer who asserted (without any support) that it was not legal. The defendant's lawyer said nothing in Norwegian law or case law supported any opinion one way or the other. The judge took that to mean that in fact it wasn't legal.

    Now that it's established that in fact it was legal, Bunner et al. should be able to have the decision vacated. (Shame on that judge.)

  • Re:sigh... (Score:4, Informative)

    by FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) <fuzzybadNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:16PM (#7786556)

    Actually it was found that while the McD coffee was hot, it was at a lower temperature than a typical cafe's coffee.

    I'm having a hard time believing this statement. I worked for McDonald's around 1991-1992, and the coffee we served there was incredibly hot. As in, let it cool for 30 minutes with the lid off, and it might not blister your tongue. I'd be interested to know the actual conditions and research data for the comparison you describe, it sounds to me like doctored evidence.

  • by rworne (538610) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:20PM (#7786588) Homepage
    Unlike the US, if you are aquitted in Norway, the prosecutor can appeal the aquittal up to two more times. Jon did not appeal at all. IIRC, the prosecutor still has one chance at appealing to Norway's highest court. So he may not be out of the woods quite yet.

  • by Paisley Phrog (685921) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:54PM (#7786868)
    The stunned cow put the soft foam cup between her legs and drove off. Guess what happened when she hit a bump?
    Absolutely nothing, because she wasn't driving; the car was stopped when it spilled.

    "After receiving the order, the grandson pulled his car forward and stopped momentarily so that Liebeck could add cream and sugar to her coffee. (Critics of civil justice, who have pounced on this case, often charge that Liebeck was driving the car or that the vehicle was in motion when she spilled the coffee; neither is true.)"

    The McD coffee is sold at 185F (IIRC?) where it tastes better and stays warm longer.
    And is also undrinkable. Coffee made at home is 130-140 degrees. Coffee at 185 degrees will cause third degree burns in 2 to 7 seconds.

    I'm not promoting either end of the case, really, just an accurate representation of the facts. Check out this link..

    http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cur78.htm
  • by Rinikusu (28164) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:59PM (#7786923)
    So.. 700 "cases".. out of how many cups served from 1982-1992? Billions, I'd gather. You are statistically more likely to get hit by lightening, run over by an Amtrak, or contract some sort of VD. So, you're saying that McDonald's should *change* something that obviously millions of other customers had no problem with on a daily basis just to satisfy the 700 fucking morons who don't understand "boiling water is hot"?

    Let's also look at the situation:
    Woman pours (accidentally) scalding water/coffee into her lap while traveling in a car pool (a moving car is not conducive for keeping liquids in a stable state). She removed the top to add her cream and sugar, rather than waiting for the car to stop, thus increasing the potential for spillage. She was wearing fleece tights, which absorbed the material and held the liquid close to her skin. When asked if she needed to stop and remove her tights or try to dry them out, she refused and allowed the car pool to continue, meanwhile the still hot liquid COOKS her skin. So, her failure to ACT after her accident also contributed to the problem and her subsequent injury.

    700 people out of billions served got "burned". Think about that.
  • Re:sigh... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ad0gg (594412) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:59PM (#7786929)
    Yawn.

    Your brewer should maintain a water temperature between 195 - 205 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal extraction.

    the temperature should be maintained at 180 - 185 degrees Fahrenheit.

    From National Coffee Association of USA [ncausa.org] So what exactly did McDonalds do wrong? It served coffee at recommended temperature for taste. They broke no laws. Why should they pay for her medical bill? Did they jump in her car and force her to spill coffee on herself?
  • C? C++? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zone-MR (631588) <slashdot@NOSpAM.zone-mr.net> on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:19PM (#7787615) Homepage
    Wasn't DeCSS actually written in Perl?
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:36PM (#7787775)
    Since you asked. This is in no way exhustive. You legal system is more complex than you tax codes, but here is the basics:

    In a criminal trial the prosecution is represented by government lawyers. Generally, there are two of them one primary and one backup. They are not police officers but are officers of the court, which means they are sworn to find the truth. Like in Norway, they must present exculpatory evidence if they have it. Doesn't meant they always do, but that's what the law says they have to. The defense is represented by whatever team of lawyers they like. If they can't afford one, the government will give them one, but not one of their choice. A defendant can also represent themselves, if they wish.

    The right to trial by jury is gaurenteed and a defendant will always be allowed to have a jury trial if they wish. In a jury trial the judge is the judge of law and the jury is the judge of fact. That means the judge decides what is admissable as evindence, keeps things in order, and instructs the jury as to the relivant law. It is then the discression of the jury as to if the evidence in fact supports a conviction. In all jursidictions I am aware of, a defendant may request a bench trial, meaning no jury, the judge becomes both the judge of law and of fact.

    We have a multi-level appeals system, however only the defense may appeal. If at any time any level finds the defendant innocent, it's over. They can never be charged for that crime again, period. Also, the standard for proof is fairly high in a criminal trial. The defense needs to prove nothing, only try and dismantle the prosecution's proof. The prosecution must prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that the defendant is guilty. Generally speaking, a criminal trial is only to decide punishment and fines under the law, not for a victim.

    Now civil trials are quite different. The government doesn't have to be involved in bringing a civil suit. The victims can directly sue their victimizer. Both sides can hire whatever lawyers they wish. The burden of proof is much lighter as well, it is to what is called a perponderance of the evidence. More or less it means that your evidence was a little more convincing than the other guy's. The jury then decides if any money is owed and how much. Also different with civil trials is appeals, either side can appeal the verdict on a number of grounds. In fact, it is not uncommon to see BOTH sides appeal the same decision.

    Civil trials can happen independant of criminal trials, or in additon to them. The outcome can also be different. OJ Simpson was prosecuted in a criminal trail for murder. The state failed to prove its case and he was aquitted. However the families of the victims then sued him for wrongful death, and won a large amount of his assets.

    When you hear US ./ers bitching about the legal system, it is usually the civil system they are talking about. Due to it's lower burdens and ease of filing suits, it has been getting abused lately, particularly by big corperations. The criminal system is much more akin to yours in that only the government may bring a criminal charge and they have much tougher rules to follow.
  • by Deagol (323173) on Monday December 22, 2003 @03:14PM (#7788110) Homepage
    I hate myself for jumping into this...

    The temp at which coffee is made surely must be hotter than which it is served. Maybe people are mixing "made" and "served" in this thread because they're in a hurry.

    Sure, my wife makes my coffee with boiling water in the French press. If she ever served me boiling coffee, I'd have a few choice words for her. :)

    Also, 180F really is way too dangerous to use for normal household use, nevermind the waste of heating power to maintain it. I set my water heater to 140F and I think I'm pushing it. 120F seems to be the accepted standard, and with good reason, I think. But you do have the right to use your water heater as you see fit, and GE should not be held responsible if you scald yourself using your 180F water from one of their water heaters.

    But still... 180F?!?

  • by Pofy (471469) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:50PM (#7788914)
    Actually the EUCD may, or may not apply, depending a bit on how each country implement the directive.

    Here we are dealing with accessing the DVD, there is nothing in it that prevents making a copy of the DVD (it will end up as an encrypted copy as well of course), but the "protection" does not prevent copying in any way, only access.

    The EUCD deals with circumvention of protection that deals with copyright issues. For example copying which is a right the copyright holder has. Accessing a work is NOT something exlusive to the copyright holder and hence not an issue of copyrights.

    If you look at the Swedish implementation (or suggestion for it at least), they make exactly this reasoning and the implementation only deal with protection that deals with copyright rights. Encrypting something for example, is not such a thing (nor is for example region coding, which is also specifically mentioned). Hence you can circumvent or do whatever you want in that regard.

    Some EU countries might implement it differently and also include access protection but that is NOT a necessity under the EUCD.
  • by 19usc2462bH (709297) on Monday December 22, 2003 @05:27PM (#7789338)
    The verdict was expected in January, but was announced today in the papers [aftenposten.no].

    No, the verdict was expected TODAY at 1 p.m. This was stated by chief judge Wenche Skjaeggestad (for some reason Slashdot seems to insist on replacing the correct letter with "ae") on the very last day of the trial. She also stated that she was somewhat surprised to have read in the papers that the verdict was expected in mid-January. Why the Norwegian press has stuck to this erroneous report I have no idea.

    Foreign press seems to have gotten it right.

    Some examples:

    DVD Jon appeal ends: verdict before Xmas [theregister.co.uk] [11 Dec 2003]
    Verdict in 'DVD Jon' appeal expected Dec. 22 [infoworld.com] [12 Dec 2003]

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