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Johansen Trial Underway 227

Info is trickling in about Jon Johansen's trial In Norway, where he is accused of violating Norwegian law. Aftenposten and VG Nett have stories, and there's at least one amateur account of the trial. The trial is supposed to last a week, and I'm sure Slashdot will keep up with it, so please submit only *new* stories about it, thanks.
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Johansen Trial Underway

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  • by airrage ( 514164 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:33PM (#4846202) Homepage Journal
    What type of judicial system do they implore: either the English Common Law (presumed guilty) or the German way (guilty, and must prove innocence)?

    Do they have the death penalty?
    • Do they have the death penalty?

      I kinda doubt they are going to execute him. I don't even think the MPAA would encourage that.
    • by CrazyDuke ( 529195 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:39PM (#4846255)
      As long as its not American:

      "Guilty by reason of pissed corporation."
    • As far as I know, no contries in Europe have the death penalty. However some countries have the "unless in times of war" caveat.
    • IANAL but I think that you are considered innocent until proved guilty.
      But you can be kept in prison before your have been sentenced, if it's found necessary to ensure that evidence is not tampered with.

      There is no death penalty in Norway, with the exception of wartime. The last person that received this penalty, was Vidkun Quisling and he received it for his actions during the WWII.

    • by Lagrange5 ( 267948 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:59PM (#4846445)

      excerpt 1:


      1. Rights of the accused.

      *Rights of the accused. The rights of the accused are described in the Criminal Procedures Act. The accused must be informed of the nature of the charge(s) brought against him or her upon being arrested and attending court for the first time. The accused must also be given the chance to refute the grounds on which the charge is based. (Criminal Procedures Act, Sect.90,92,171).
      Although the accused has a general right to attend court proceedings and to summon and examine witnesses, the court can order him or her to leave the courtroom while a witness is being examined "if there is special reason to fear that an unreserved statement will not otherwise be made." The accused must be informed subsequently of the proceedings that occurred in his or her absence. In special circumstances, such as if national security interests are at stake, the accused may be entirely excluded from the proceedings. (Criminal Procedures Act, Sect. 135,245).
      The court's verdict must be communicated to the accused as soon as possible, along with information on rights of appeal. Court judgements and orders are to be accompanied by reasons. (Criminal Procedures Act, Sect.39-41,43,52).
      The accused has the right to bring appeals against court verdicts, both on questions of fact and questions of law. There are, however, several limitations on the exercise of this right. For example, appeals to the Supreme Court, which is the highest judicial body, can only take place if permitted by the Court's Appeals Selection Committee (Kjoeremlsutvalget). Moreover, the general rule is that such appeals can only be based on alleged errors of law. In other words, the Supreme Court is unable to try questions of evidence related to the issue of guilt. (Administration of Justice in Norway, 1980: 65-66; Criminal Procedures Act, as amended new Chapt 23, Sect. 323, 1993).
      The accused do not have the right to have their cases tried by jury. As a basic rule, however, appeals from verdicts reached by the court of first instance on cases concerning felonies punishable by more than 6 years' imprisonment are dealt with by the High Court (Lagmannsrett). In these cases, there is a jury (lagrett) present to decide the question of guilt. (Criminal Procedures Act, new Chapt 24, as amended, 1993).

      *Assistance to the accused. As a general rule, the accused is entitled to the assistance of defense counsel of his or her choice during all stages of the judicial process. The accused is also provided with the free assistance of defense counsel, chosen by the court, during the main court hearing. There are several exceptions to the latter rule, such as if the case involves a
      certain minor offense, like driving under the influence of alcohol, or when the accused has made an unreserved confession. However, these exceptions apply only in cases tried by the City or District Court. (Criminal Procedures Act, Sect. 94,96,100,107,262).


      excerpt 2:


      2. Types of penalties.

      *Death penalty. There is no death penalty.

      • More to the point:

        Act of 22 May 1981 No. 25 relating to Legal Procedure in Criminal Cases (The Criminal Procedure Act) [] with subsequent amendments, most recently by Act of 17 July 1998 No. 56

        Specifically, p.22:

        " 69. Even though guilt is deemed to be proved, a prosecution may be waived provided that such special circumstances exist that the prosecuting authority on an overall evaluation finds that there are weighty reasons for not prosecuting the act.
        Waiver of prosecution pursuant to the first paragraph can be made conditional upon the person charged not committing any new offence during the probationary period. The probationary period is two years from the day the decision to waive the prosecution was made, but not longer than the limitation period for the institution of criminal proceedings for the act in question.
        Waiver of prosecution can also be made conditional upon such conditions as are specified in section 53 of the Penal Code, subsection 2, subsection 3 litrae a to f, subsection 4, and subsection 5. The person charged shall be given the opportunity to comment on the conditions beforehand. When the circumstances of the person charged provide reason for doing so, the prosecuting authority may during the probationary period terminate or alter conditions that have been laid down and fix new conditions."

        Apparently, unless a prosecution (trial) is waived, he's assumed guilty until proven innocent. Is this correct, or am I missing something?

    • He is viewed as innocent until proven guilty, and Norway only has the death penalty for high treason in wartime. So, nope, he isn't going to be killed, and he sure isn't getting lifetime either. If he's convicted he'll most likely either be fined or made to serve a not-too-long imprisonment. Scandinavian jails aren't usually hell-holes in which he can expect to be raped four times a day or anything. I'm not sure about Norway, but in Denmark it's general practice that prisoners are segregated according to their crimes, so that a young geek who reverse engineered an access control system won't share a cell with Spike the child-raping serial killer.
  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:34PM (#4846213)
    "The trial is supposed to last a week, and I'm sure Slashdot will keep up with it, so please submit only *new* stories about it, thanks."

    The same could be asked of the editors.. ;)
  • Asinine (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cioxx ( 456323 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:43PM (#4846295) Homepage
    To Blockquoth the journal:
    Jon contacting Nomad, who'd written a decryptor but no front-end or keys; Jon blagging a copy of this and promissing not to circulate it; Jon writing a GUI for it
    [prosecutor asking what a GUI is - pardon ? - yes, really, the counsel didn't appear to know]

    Classy. This is the reason why he won't get a fair trial, regardless of the outcome. The prosecution, judges, etc. don't have a fucking clue about technology and yet they are presiding over it.

    Same thing goes on in the States. I don't buy the whole "technology is in it's infancy" bullshit. There are tons out out of work sysadmins. Give them books, let them take the bar exam and proceed to become a prosecutor. Everyone wins.
    • Re:Asinine (Score:3, Insightful)

      Unless the Norweigan legal system is wildly different from the American one, the prosecutor is only doing his case a disservice by demonstrating his technological incompetence before the judge (is there a jury in this case?). Leaves the defense with a great opportunity to paint the prosecution as being grounded in computer illiteracy.

    • At least in the United States, you ask such questions because the jury might not know, and as such it is important to "teach" them the basics so they can do their job.
    • There are tons out out of work sysadmins. Give them books, let them take the bar exam and proceed to become a prosecutor. Everyone wins.

      God no! The last thing I want is the same folks who horked up our network doing things that might have more impact than a mail server.

      I almost blew coffee through my nose when I saw the gnu/* trying to be explained... They should have known better when the prosecutors asked what a GUI was...

      Somewhere in that there was some coverage of Jon having three OSen
      installed (FreeBSD, GNU/Linux and Windows), during which the prosecutor
      got confused by Jon referring to "GNU/Linux", rather than "Linux" per
      se; and appeared to be confused about how one computer can have more
      than one O/S (or, at least, there was a confusion which appeared to be
      about dual boot).
    • Re:Asinine (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ezubaric ( 464724 )
      It could be that the prosecutor is asking what a GUI is to get him defining Jon's role in the development, not out of ignorance.

      For example:
      Witness: So I opened up the cupboard and got a jar of peanut butter.
      Matlock: What do you mean, you got a jar of peanut butter?
      Witness: I took out the jar with my hand and took a knife to butter ... alright, you've got me! I really killed him because he hated me and my toast!

      Well ... maybe not quite like that ...
    • Speaking of asinine:

      Same thing goes on in the States. I don't buy the whole "technology is in it's infancy" bullshit. There are tons out out of work sysadmins. Give them books, let them take the bar exam and proceed to become a prosecutor. Everyone wins.

      Who should pay for their books? I'm paying for my own books now, thank them very much. "Let them take the bar exam." I will take your advice here. I HEREBY ALLOW THEM TO TAKE THE BAR EXAM. Who is stopping them? There are tons of out of work sysadmins, I agree. Would it be good if some tech-savvy people became lawyers? You betcha. They should. If they did so, they would make a good living. But don't ask me to pick up the tab.
    • Re:Asinine (Score:5, Insightful)

      by poot_rootbeer ( 188613 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @06:45PM (#4847949)

      No, the prosecutor is asking what a GUI is because he needs to ensure that everyone present in the courtroom is using the same terminology. It has to go into the transcript, or the first thing that will come up in appeal is "They were using a different definition of GUI than we were."

      If out-of-work sysadmins want to become prosecutors, they can go ahead and enroll at law school. It takes more to become a lawyer than reading a few books and taking an exam, though.

      To paraphrase someone, "the nerds, geeks, etc. don't have a fucking clue about the legal system and yet they are trying offer commentary about it.
      • Your first two paragraphs deserve either insightful or informative. But your third deserves troll.

        It is quite proper for people to judge any system that presumes to judge them. They may make mistakes, but the ones they make will be in no way as harmful as those made by the system that judges them (i.e., the legal system).

      • Re:Asinine (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Dyolf Knip ( 165446 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @11:07PM (#4850491) Homepage
        "the nerds, geeks, etc. don't have a fucking clue about the legal system and yet they are trying offer commentary about it."

        Similarly, "the judges, the lawyers, the politicians, etc. don't have a fucking clue about technology and yet they are regularly passing summary judgement on it and destroying people's lives over issues they don't even come close to understanding." Hmmm, I wonder which is more dangerous, abusive, irresponsible, and totally reprehensible behavior?

        I find it unlikely that 'GUI' and 'GNU/Linux' were the only technical terms that arose. If the prosecutor understood but didn't question the others, why these? Declan McCullagh's suggesting that the prosecutor didn't know was likely prompted by more than a simple, "Please explain for the court what a GUI is." On the other hand, 'GUI' is found pretty early on when picking up the jargon, even thumbing through a 'Computers for Absolute Dummies'...

        Ah, screw it. This account is second hand from someone who admittedly doesn't know the language particularly well. Let's wait until we get the actual transcript translated by someone able to read it.

    • The Justice dept. has actually searched for a long time to be sure the defendant get a fair trial. This is part of the reason it took three years to start the trial.

      Also, even though the Økokrim has been proven quite incompetent regarding computer matters, the judge is neutral and will rule accoring to law. Actuall, if the prosecutor dosn't know what she's talking about, the judge will lean in Jon's favour. It's a shocker, isn't it?
  • From the previous Slashdot article linked to above...

    I've only found one story in English, which is quite vague. Hopefully the above poster is correct in summarizing the situation.

    You've got to love Slashdot!
  • by quantumparadox ( 454022 ) <> on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:44PM (#4846316) Homepage
    CNN's interpretation of the beginning of the trial is here [].

    Amazingly the CNN story isn't actually 100% biased.
    • I beg to differ. The CNN article looks terribly biased. Why is there no mention of the intensive lobbying effort even needed to bring the case to trial?

      Also, if one is simply going to copy DVDs, there's no reason to decrypt them, just copy the bit stream from one disc to another.

      DeCSS seems to be about viewing or decrypting DVDs. If decrypting, in my ignorance of DVDs, is completely unnecessary when making duplicate DVDs then the core of the case is about control of the platform on which the DVDs are viewed.

  • by MoonFog ( 586818 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:46PM (#4846330)
    I watched the news on norwegian televison just 30 minutes ago. They said the prosecution actually made a huge case out of the fact that Johansen was a Linux users, saying Linux is popular among hackers
    Here's [] another article.
    Also, here's [] a statement from Electronic Frontier Norway (EFN) on the matter
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:03PM (#4846472)
      The more you know (on anything), the more you realize how terrible the news media is. It's disturbing when you see how things are wrong/misreported/overblown on something you know, and then consider that the same thing is going on with the things you don't know as much about.
    • During the closing argument, the defence should say something like "Linux is not a hacker tool. It is a new alternative, and it is becoming ever more popular in the business sphere. Most large databases support Linux, and IBM has invested one billion dollars in Linux. Is the prosecution arguing that IBM is a hacking company?".

      I wouldn't be surprised if they do. When dealing with such a idiot prosecution, I wouldn't be surprised if it would be best to hold your hard punches until the closing round. That way, they'll keep digging their grave and all you've gotta do is give them a little nudge when they're done.
    • Who wants to bet that someone will sue Linus under the DMCA for writing the copyright circumvention device, and hacker tool known as Linux?
  • Is Johansen a saint (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nutshell42 ( 557890 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:47PM (#4846334) Journal
    An interesting link which was posted in the heise-forum:

    in short:

    He stole the source, violated the GPL and didn't even have a linux-box.

    I don't know whether it's true but it sounds convincing

    • According to the police investigation, he had a box which booted into FreeBSD, Windows and Linux, so it is definately not all true.

      I think it is quite correct what he said, that he only wanted to watch the movies on whatever equipment he chose. But he has definately grown up to see the bigger picture now.

    • Why not decide for yourself []

      Naughty Jon

    • by Anonymous Coward []

      Somewhere in that there was some coverage of Jon having three OSen
      installed (FreeBSD, GNU/Linux and Windows), during which the prosecutor
      got confused by Jon referring to "GNU/Linux", rather than "Linux" per
      se; and appeared to be confused about how one computer can have more
      than one O/S (or, at least, there was a confusion which appeared to be
      about dual boot).

      Informal DeCSS History Timeline []: research/ch ronology.html

      Johansen and livid-dev []: -discuss/msg 01540.html

      I read through a lot of the list and several things struck me. Overall,
      I see the list as lending a lot of credibility to Johansen's case. I
      don't see it casting doubt as to this.

      This sounds more convincing to me.
  • False dichotomy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Robin Hood ( 1507 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:50PM (#4846366) Homepage
    Huh. From an earlier Aftenposten article entitled "'DVD Jon' declares his innocence" ( html?articleID=452751 []), I found this quote:

    Some view Johansen as a hero, while others view him as the entertainment industry's worst nightmare.

    Um... What about both? Do they have a problem with that concept? :-)

  • So what... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:53PM (#4846387)
    So he goes to jail for a couple of years. It'll probably teach him to be a better member of society and not to do such criminal things as try to view copyrighted material on open source operating systems.

    It occurs to me that having trials where the judge, prosecution, or defense are so technologically behind, how is one to get a fair trial?

    Is this something new to computers? Are there cases in the past (like 20+ years ago) where technology or something else causing a major lack of understanding, has caused difficulties in providing fair trials?

    • how is one to get a fair trial?

      Good point.

      I'd want a jury of my peers. Well, I'm not so sure about that. Some Slashdot posters could be overly creative when it comes to the sentencing phase. There'll be plenty o hot grits but no Natalie Portman.

      Seriously, though, it reminds me of the recent Winona Ryder trial. She did indeed get a jury of here peers from what I hear. Celebrity actors working in Hollywood. But I guess they still didn't buy her lawyer's story about the shoplifting being some part of her practising a role.

      On the flip side, I understand that jury member s with special knowledge can sometimes cause a mistrial.

      Someone with a legal background could clue me into when geeks on juries would work and when they would not.

    • I'm sure that as long as there have been courts there's been confusion over new uses of technology. "So I'm sorry, mister thag, you say that senor bonk hit you over the head with a tree branch?" The way you still get a fair trial is that you have experts on both sides who will give a combination of what the offense (or defense, depending on who picked them) wants them to say, and what the other side asks them and they have to say to it, and you get what the defense/offense have to say about it themselves. Hence it's still all spin, it might as well be marketing, but at least both sides have a chance to put forth what they want known about the technology.

      Finally there is no such thing as a fair trial when the outcome is based on law, because laws are not inherently fair.

      • Re:So what... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cyril3 ( 522783 )
        You confuse fair outcome with fair trial.

        A fair trial is a process where each party has the opportunity to present their case to an appropriate tribunal which decides whether the accused has done the deed alleged and whether that means they have broken the law in question. This determination is based on a reasoned consideration of all the facts and circumstances as presented in the trial. I suspect that this occurs in the vast majority of cases.

        nowhere in that is there any mention of the fairness of the law itself or the outcome.

        In any case your statement that laws are not inherently fair seems to be based on an idea that it is not fair to be held accountable for your actions in any way. On that basis please tell us what is unfair about the laws against murder (as an extreme example)

    • Re:So what... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kilogram ( 520192 )
      It occurs to me that having trials where the judge, prosecution, or defense are so technologically behind, how is one to get a fair trial?

      Well, there are two literates/commoners that will be deciding his penalty. These are actually mentioned in a few of the articles, and they have first been screened on experience and skills, then the prosecution and defense have settled on the two now chosen.

      I read a quote from one of Norway's most prominent geeks, Jon Bing, earlier today; "Johansen is actually charged for breaking into his own property", which could describe the entire case. He has never actually distributed the movies, which is the only thing that Norwegian laws actually forbid. (You *can* copy whatever you want for your own personal use, but you *can't* distribute them)

      Further, whatever the judgement will be, this will not set legal precendence in Norway, as the DMCA (or something very similar) probably will be enforced shortly, thus overriding the older laws.
    • Look at it this way, a few hundred years ago in england there was a convicted thief. He was going to be hanged, as was the norm. The trial was over, he was found guilty.

      Nonetheless, he did not die. Under an ancient law, if you could show the judge a knot that he had never seen before, your crimes were excused - repaid by this valuable contribution to society.

      By tying a knot in a piece of rope that the judge could not figure out how to untie, nor retie, he escaped death. Do you think this story would make Jon feel any better?

  • by hazzzard ( 530181 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:54PM (#4846398)
    Well, I've been trying to submit this [] as a story before but the slashdot editors rejected it. It's not about the same person, not the same "crimes", but somewhat related (feel free to mod me down!). Promise: An interesting and revealing read.
    • For a little more detail, my attempted submission from a few weeks ago is below. I just bought his book and the latest Hacking Exposed [], now I'm just waiting for a friendly visit from the fed.

      The first chapter of Kevin Mitnick's new book, The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security [], was removed by the publisher, but his girlfriend has now published [] it online. She gives credit to the Yahoo discussion group Kevin's Story [] for first posting the chapter. In the related Wired article [], Mitnick claims that his girlfriend's blog [] is the first site he'll check out when his eight year federally mandated moratorium expires in January. The chapter covers Mitnicks initial forays into social engineering as well as alleging that John Markoff, stung by a failed book deal, used his position at the NYT to become rich by painting Mitnick as public enemy number one.
  • by Arcturax ( 454188 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:55PM (#4846411)
    I guess they don't even trust themselves not to post duplicate articles anymore...

    To the topic at hand, from what I've read, the case against him is weak and hopefully he will prevail and deliver a much needed blow to the MPAA and DVDCCA.

    If he is convicted, I hope the Norwegian people cry out the way we did when Dimitry was jailed. In this case it would be a Norwegian jailed for breaking a US law in his own country, I expect the outcry would be phenominal. If so, hopefully whoever their president/primeminister/etc is has pardon powers and uses them before things get out of hand.

    It will be interesting to see... in any case, I'm going to light a candle for Jon this holiday season and hope that he comes out on top, not because its right for fair use, but because its unjust to take a man's freedom for something like this.
    • I think we have cried quite loudly, and the media has been picking some things up. We have a long way to go, however. There is a reason why IM Sunde (prosecutor) used some time on trying to refute the "David vs. Goliath" angle. Partly because we have been quite successful, and partly because Norwegians usually find themselves in David's position, since we're a small country, so this angle is pretty strong.

      However, he is not being charged with DMCA or anything like that. Not even IPR-law. He is being charged with a law that says it is illegal to read other people's letters. In this case, there's nothing wrong with the law. The law is good. It is this moronic prosecutor, who after digging to several years couldn't come up with anything better. The mere thought that it should be illegal to read your own letters is absurd, and I hope this is going to be thrown out of court.

      • While I understand that he isn't being tried for breaking a US law on the surface, that is still what this is all about. The prosecutor was pressured by US interests (companies, maybe even the US Govt) to find something to nail him on in retaliation for what he did. That is why Norwegians should be (and likely are) upset.
    • Well,

      This case is not based on US law and not even to EU copyright directive (because it's not yet a law on national level). Anyway this case has been on Finnish tech-media already quite well and Electronic Frontier Finland plans to write an open letter to the embassy of Norway to get some more exposure on it (unfortunately it's way too cold to arrange pickets in Helsinki at the moment..)

      Luckily the case has practically no merit, the way the prosecutors are intepreting the law is very strange (you really can't break into your own DVD-discs because you have a legal access anyway and the law in question does not outlaw giving out anti-circumvention tools..)

      Electronic Frontier Finland
  • An interesting take over a

    Now what's a healthy norweigen teenage boy going to do with "12 goats and a virgin"???

    Just give the MPAA the "goats" ......
  • by skurk ( 78980 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @04:59PM (#4846444) Homepage Journal
    According to Verdens Gang (VG) [] (in norwegian), the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit [] claims that the creators of DeCSS are organized criminals [], because "DeCSS written for, and can only be used to copy DVD movies."

    From what I've read, it seems that they are currently discussing wether or not CSS is a copy protection or not, and the fact that Johansen didn't break any laws when he wrote the GUI for DeCSS. As you know, some german guys did the hard work, and Johansen is taking the kicks.

    I'll keep you posted

  • by tomhudson ( 43916 ) <barbara.hudson@b ... u d s o n . c om> on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:09PM (#4846522) Journal

    State prosecutor Inger Marie Sunde claimed in an Oslo city court Monday that Jon Lech Johansen is guilty of breaching protection mechanisms in DVDs, ...


    The DVD itself is not altered. The protection mechanism that is being bypassed is in the DVD player.

    • It seems to me that the whole problem is the the Norwegian legal system is operating on the basis that all copyrighted material is owned by the copyright holder, and that they have the right to specify how you access it. This is not the case. Copyright does not allow to the copyright holder to retain ownership of the copyrighted material after first sale, it merely allows the copyright holder the exclusive right to make and sell copies of the material, by making it illegal for the owner of the copy to distribute copies of his copy.

      This seems to be the problem with premise behind the DMCA as well. It assumed that copyright holder s retain some kind of ownership of copyrighted material after first sale, and that ownership confered right to control useage. This all seems a bit backwards to me, especially as there are no licence agreements even attempted with the sale of DVDs, which possibly would extend some kind of rights to the publisher (dodgy groud itself IMHO. Once you pay your money and buy the CD you are free to ignore or read anything therein, including the licence agreement)
      • Right on, and a lucid explanation of what's wrong with lawyers not understanding the copy in copyright.

        And any post-purchase "license agreement" via an on=-screen notification is void, for the same reasons. This is why EULAs aren't legally binding, either.

        Do you mind if I "cut-and-paste" your comment and post it elsewhere (with attribution to you)?

  • by lkstrand ( 463964 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:10PM (#4846535) Homepage

    According to the norwegian law professor Jon Bing, the outcome of this court is of historical intrest only: []

    The reason for this is that after DVD-Jon was accused, the EU has got the EUCD/Infosoc directive wich is the european equvialence to DMCA.

    • A partial huzzah? At least there's no decent motive to rig the verdict. Can't think of anything else printable to say about that.
    • Umh. Not applicable in Norway but in EU.
      Have I understood this right:

      EUCD says:


      (52) When implementing an exception or limitation for private copying
      in accordance with Article 5(2)(b), Member States should likewise
      promote the use of voluntary measures to accommodate achieving the
      objectives of such exception or limitation. If, within a reasonable
      period of time, no such voluntary measures to make reproduction for
      private use possible have been taken, Member States may take measures
      to enable beneficiaries of the exception or limitation concerned to
      benefit from it. Voluntary measures taken by rightholders, including
      agreements between rightholders and other parties concerned, as well
      as measures taken by Member States, do not prevent rightholders from
      using technological measures which are consistent with the exceptions
      or limitations on private copying in national law in accordance with
      Article 5(2)(b), taking account of the condition of fair compensation
      under that provision and the possible differentiation between various
      conditions of use in accordance with Article 5(5), such as controlling
      the number of reproductions. In order to prevent abuse of such measures,
      any technological measures applied in their implementation should enjoy
      legal protection.

      And article 5(2)(b):
      (b) in respect of reproductions on any medium made by a natural person
      for private use and for ends that are neither directly nor indirectly
      commercial, on condition that the rightholders receive fair
      compensation which takes account of the application or non-application
      of technological measures referred to in Article 6 to the work or
      subject-matter concerned;

      *if i read this right* it says to me, that european goverments must
      *help* to break copyright systems that limit fair use [5(2)(b)] if
      copyright holders are compensated for example from empty CD media
      (as they are in finland).

      Am I completely mistaken?

      This would mean that if norway has to abide by EUCD directive because of some trade issues with EU, the fair use enabler should be rewarded not punished?

      (1) !celexapi!prod!CELEXnumdoc&lg=EN&numdoc=32001L0029 &model=guichett
  • Obligation (Score:2, Funny)

    by crawdaddy ( 344241 )
    In Soviet Russia, protection mechanisms breach you!
  • by Old Wolf ( 56093 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:12PM (#4846551)
    The story says:

    Info is trickling in about Jon Johansen's trial In Norway, where he is accused of violating Norwegian law.

    Unusual accusation for a court to make..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:14PM (#4846568)
    First of all the law thats used to prosecute Jon was written to prevent people reading other peoples mail, it has a small bit about obtaining illeagal access to other peoples data, but the courts in Norway have earlier ruled that that dvds goes under the laws of music and film, not data. The laws that have to do with music and film in Norway gives the user very wide rights. You can even copy music and film from "close friends and family" legaly.

    As long as the crime isn't done in the purpose of gaining money, the law thats used to prosecute him has a highest possible punisment of 6 months.

    To sum up, the prosecution has a paper-thin case, and it is my view that they only prosecute because of all the attention, and if the judge isn't incompetent Jon will surley win. But judges sometimes are :(.

    (pardon my english)
    • I used to believe that judges were frequently incompetent. Then I finally decided that there couldn't be that many incompetent judges. This leaves a few choices:
      1) many judges have a known track record, and the da is able to manipulate which judge will hear which case.
      2) many judges have been corrupted.
      3) most defense lawyers are incompetent relative to most district attorneys.
      4) some combination of the above
      5) ??? (somthing I haven't thought of)

      E.g., consider the case which declared that corporations were people. This is a totally absurd assertion, but it has been a "fact" for over a century. It is the source of much that is wrong with the US, and it traces back to one court decision involving a railway company in California during the latter half of the 1800's. If I decide that this is because of corruption, then either every supreme court since then has been corrupt, of the legal system has no means of correcting errors. If I decide that it's because of incompetence, then...

      And I'm *SURE* not going to decide that it's a sensible decision.

  • Neither the defence nor the prosecution seem to be that technologically aware. They might as well be arguing over the best design for a fast breeder reactor based on legal precedent.

    Jon didn't do the reverse engineering, but lets assume that he's involved with the people. Now then they reverse engineered a piece of software. I'm not sure exactly wha the Norwegian legal point of view is on this, but many countries have a specific exception that you may reverse engineer a piece of software for purposes of interoperability, even if you have agreed not to.

    The fact is that a piece of code is readable by a human. The fact that it is in a cryptic format makes this a little harder, but not impossible. I can quite happily go through a binary file, with a piece of squared paper, writing down what will happen, just as easily as I can taker a car to pieces to see how that works.
    • I thought I read in another article that there were two experts along with the judge.
    • by villoks ( 27306 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:58PM (#4847246) Homepage Journal
      Oh well.

      Unfortunately most of lawyers don't read Slasdot or any other tech-education site (it really is a problem, for example the Law School in Helsinki University had 2-3 voluntary short courses on these topics and most of students didn't take them.)

      About reverge engineering, yes, it is allowed under quite strict circumstances, the EU-directive (Council Directive 91/250/EEC, it's the same in Norway and Germany) sets a 6 step test for decompilation:

      Article 6

      1. The authorization of the rightholder shall not be required where reproduction of the code and translation of its form within the meaning of Article 4 (a) and (b) are indispensable to obtain the information necessary to achieve the interoperability of an independently created computer program with other programs, provided that the following conditions are met:

      (a) these acts are performed by the licensee or by another person having a right to use a copy of a program, or on their behalf by a person authorized to to so;

      (b) the information necessary to achieve interoperability has not previously been readily available to the persons referred to in subparagraph (a); and (c) these acts are confined to the parts of the original program which are necessary to achieve interoperability.

      2. The provisions of paragraph 1 shall not permit the information obtained through its application:

      (a) to be used for goals other than to achieve the interoperability of the independently created computer program;

      (b) to be given to others, except when necessary for the interoperability of the independently created computer program; or (c) to be used for the development, production or marketing of a computer program substantially similar in its expression, or for any other act which infringes copyright.

      In this case the it's not clear if the information was readily available (from DVDCCA,NDA + price could make it possible to at least argue otherwise) and also it's unclear whether the reverge engineered software was legally bought or not..

      Electronic Frontier Finland
  • It would suck if Slashdot editors had to do the job they're paid for and actually edit out duplicate submissions.
  • Oh boy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:45PM (#4847011) Journal
    So, corporate money does all of the legal talking in Norway, too. Seeing as I have no idea what the technology laws are like in Norway, my interpretation of the trial means nothing and is ultimately pointless.

    However, my opinion as a technology using citizen of the world that routinely watches DVDs that I purchased and own in Linux is this: Any judge that possesses an ounce of common sense would wrap this case up in favor of the defendant in a day. The kid/man owns the DVDs, the CSS encryption is not in place to protect anything other then access. He did not gain unlawful access to anything, and furthermore did not harm or effect the DVD (which he owns) in any way. I would imagine that the judge has heard of reverse engineering, and understands that it is legal.

    Bah, this all pointless. They should just bring in a group of Korean protestors and make it interesting.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @05:53PM (#4847138) Homepage
    They can't admit to having spent three years basicly finding out "Doh! He didn't do anything illegal", certainly not in such an international case with lots of media attention. Økokrim (the department handeling serious economic crimes) is on crack anyway. They're the ones that among other things wanted to ban anonymous email because it made people so hard to track. Not to mention no form of anonymous surfing, so webcafes would be forced to record IDs and more.

    Kinda reminds me of the latest "doping-scandal" in Norway. Our biggest commercial TV station had been working for over a year trying to dig up sensational news about doping among norwegian top athletes. They didn't really have anything to go on but aired it anyway, and the program was picked apart as a bunch of loose rumors and false information, plus some very bad journalism. The executives ended up holding a press conference disavow the whole program, and cashed out 700,000$+ "voluntarily" to try to undo the damage.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Thus Johansen is charged with:

    "breaking a Norwegian law which prohibits people breaking into others' locked property to get data that they're not supposed to obtain. This is the Norwegian Criminal Code section 145(2).

    But Johansen owned the DVD, while the law was used in the past to prevent access to banks, telecomms companies, or other systems to look at others' records.

    Said Cindy Cohn, the EFF Legal Director: "Jon owned the DVDs and he's never been accused of copyright infringement or assisting in copyright infringement. He's facing criminal charges for taking the necessary steps to view his own DVDs on his own computers." 614
    • I agree. Under this interpretation of Norwegian law, if I sell you a product in a locked box and say that only certain people are allowed to sell you a key, you're not allowed to
      a) break open the box (which you own)
      b) use a key you bought to open a different box to open the new box.
      c) Buy a key, make copy of the key and use that to open the box.

      You are also not allowed to break into anything you own that has a "protection device". ie, YOUR house, YOUR car, YOUR safe, YOUR luggage etc.
  • The case is somewhat redundant. Thanks to some UN copyright directive, legislation is already on the way to ensure that the next hacker which does anything like this will be put away without to much fuzz. So, the case will not be of any juridical significance.

    The defendant did not write the program in questing, the state hasn't got the faintest idea how a computer works, and decss is not that (technically) exciting compared to libdvdread [].

    Have there been any legal issues with libdvdread?

  • by Warpedcow ( 180300 ) on Monday December 09, 2002 @07:01PM (#4848150) Homepage Journal
    I read articles about this on CNN and newsweek (just look at google news for links right now). They all have it wrong. They claim he created software that can be used to illegally _duplicate_ a DVD. WRONG! DeCSS just lets you _PLAY_ a DVD not copy it. They should be prosecuting for allowing people to illegally play DVDs (that sounds rather silly, doesn't it?... maybe thats why they keep saying copy copy copy everywhere)

    DeCSS has nothing to do with copying.


  • Linked to here: Gov't Rests Case Against Russian SW Co. []

    Can't comment, gotta go put out a fire...

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire