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DeCSS: Jon Johansen Acquitted In Retrial 457

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 Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:02AM (#7785247)
    Let us hope this finally means we have a right to decrypt data media which we own a licence to watch.

    Common sense 1, recording industry, nil
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:12AM (#7785310)
    I think you misunderstand what the case was all about. The ruling means that Jon did nothing wrong by creating software that cracked the DRM, not that anyone else has the right to use it. This is the same as trying to prosecute Merck or its chemists for creating Oxycontin. What people do with technology is not the responsibility of its creator.
  • Justice At Last (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ajs318 ( 655362 ) <[ku.oc.dohshtrae] [ta] [2pser_ds]> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:17AM (#7785337)
    DVD Jon has done nothing wrong. Now it's official that he has done nothing illegal either. Fair play to him and his supporters, and sorry it's taken so long.

    I think British copyright law, EUCD notwithstanding, explicitly allows what Jon did, but the wording is a bit convoluted and non-obvious and would need testing in court.

    Still, it reaffirms the common-sense position that it is not a crime to use goods you own for their intended purpose, even if in the course of so doing you are required by circumstances to invent a tool.
  • Maybe it does, if you live in Norway...

    From what I read here at /. those of you living in the USA shouldn't hold your breath as long as you have the motion picture and music industries controlling your legislature :-(

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:23AM (#7785370)
    The point is that DVD John isn't going to prison. Who's cares about what happens in the USA ?
  • Good, but... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by akiaki007 ( 148804 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:33AM (#7785432)
    This is good. Very good news. BUT, this is in Norway, and it does not change much for those of us in the US. Yes it does help, because if he was prosecuted, then the MPAA would have won outright, but because he was not, the rock has been chipped. Now only if the US courts would see it as logically as the Norse courts do, then all would be grand. Then again, nothing here is ever done logically. I can't wait for this to really impact the MPAA.
  • by jorlando ( 145683 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:34AM (#7785434)
    "The US needs a DVD-Jon - any takers?"

    are you kidding? without dmca and under a more open atmosphere kevin mitnick was accused of being capable of start a nuclear war using a pay phone and a whistler and stoling code from sun that worth 1 billion (the prosecution said it, the same code that you could buy at the time around US$300)

    the russian guy... the one that cracked adobe pdf, spent days in the jail without proper defense

    with that paranoia what do you think that would happen to a DVD John in the US? the miserable fella would be charged of theft, terrorism (trying to break american companies out of business)...

    IF he was tried probably would be in guantanamo...
  • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:36AM (#7785447)
    We should be able to copy our own DVD's, especially in countries like Canada, where if you buy a blank DVD*R, you pay a tax on it based on the assumption that you WILL copy. In places like this, if you are allowed to copy, you are getting your money's worth for the tax.
  • by EinarH ( 583836 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:43AM (#7785493) Journal
    The US needs a DVD-Jon - any takers?
    I can't think of why any sane person would want to take on such a case in US.

    1. The risk is way too high. In Norway DVD-Jon risked _maximum theoretically_ two years in a nice prison and a fine of a 250000 NOK ($37000). In USA I would think that the stakes are significantly higher; several 5-10(?) years in prison and millions in expenses.

    2. The lawyer cost in US would be much higher. The Norwegian state pays all of Mr. Johansens bills. In USA you would have had to sell your kidneys.

    3. Judges and a expert jury ruled in this case. In USA the whole case would have been decided by a non-technical jury influenced by media and excellent RIAA/MPAA lawyers. Good luck.

  • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:44AM (#7785494)
    "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)."

    So far I like this system much better than our (American) system. 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?
  • by tommck ( 69750 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:53AM (#7785550) Homepage
    Between the MPAA, RIAA, and Ashcroft and the republican regime

    Yes... there are NO democrats in support of the DMCA...

    Let's see... the DMCA was proposed by DEMOCRAT Senator Fritz Hollings of South Carolina. A Democratically controlled Senate passed the law. (Granted, the house was Republican-controlled at that time.)
    A DEMOCRAT President (Clinton) signed the DMCA into law...

    Those damned Republicans!

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

    by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:56AM (#7785568) Homepage Journal
    Being Norwegian *and* a long time resident of the US, I believe you both are in error when you state that you believe that the Norwegian laws are more friendly to corporations that in the US.

    Norway is almost completely free from lobbying and leading politicians being stock market investors. You won't find a _single_ senator in the US that doesn't have a million dollar income as well as substantial connections to one or more industries. In Norway, you won't find a _single_ stortingsmann or judge who has a million dollar income or vested interests in large corporations -- hell, even the prime minister is a clergyman with a sub-$50k income when not being a politician.

    It's very difficult to buy yourself a law in Norway, while it's the only way to create or change laws in the US. Norway is governed through legislation, while the US is governed through litigation.

    The two cultures are a world apart, and it's simply uncomprehensible to the average Norwegian just how different things are, and how protected the Norwegian citizen really is. Just as it's incomprehensible to the average American, who is unable to differentiate concepts like socialism and communism, or understand how values without a monetary value can pre-empt any economic claims.

    True, Norway is still slowly drifting towards American attitudes, but the drift is very slow, and the cultural chasm between the two cultures is so vast that it's hard to compare the two in any meaningful way in any near future.

    The word "greed" sums it up pretty well - in Norway, greed is still considered a sin, and not something to be proud of, even if present to a small extent in individuals and a larger extent in corporations. In the US, greed is considered a driving force, and not only normal but necessary, both for individuals and corporations.

  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:26AM (#7785737) Homepage Journal
    According to Marx, they are the same. He used both terms interchangably.

    And nothing has happened since then?
    Libertarianism and capitalism as distinct terms didn't exist when the US was founded, but they are now both recognized. Just as socialism, communism (and various derivates like socioliberalism) have developed since the times of Marx and Engels.

  • Re:excellent news (Score:2, Insightful)

    by $ASANY ( 705279 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:51AM (#7785952) Homepage
    As impressed as I am with your description of how well the political system in Norway works, I just can't fathom a system where prosecutors are able to appeal a "not guilty" verdict in a criminal court. After you're aquitted, are prosecutors able to attack you again and again until they get a verdict they like?

    Maybe it's the US that's becoming more like Norway. If you're aquitted in a criminal trial here, prosecutors will throw civil litigation at you for denying someone's "civil rights" for the same issue involved in the criminal trial they lost. In the end, if the state has it out for you, they'll eventually screw you, and they'll find some extra-constitutional way to make it happen.

    Maybe it's a good thing DVD-Jon wasn't subjected to our current version of civil liberties after all.

  • As a side note ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by value_added ( 719364 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:16AM (#7786128)
    I thought I'd point out that I always enjoy coming across a post where the writer identifies himself as being from such and such country (i.e., not from the U.S.). Not only do such posts provide everyone an opportunity to reflect on that country's culture and history, but also such posts often distinguish themselves by being well written. More specifically, they seem to lack the spelling and grammatical errors commonly found in posts made by those whose native language is obviously English.

  • by vidarh ( 309115 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:38AM (#7786273) Homepage Journal
    According to Marx, they are the same. He used both terms interchangably.

    Bullshit. Go read the Communist Manifesto, where Marx and Engels devoted a whole chapter to denouncing various forms of socialism, some he explicitly connected to reactionary or utopian movements, making it very clear that these forms of communism in Marx' and Engels' eyes were the wrong direction and would not lead to a communist society.

    The terms socialism and communism are used in a few different ways in Marx' works depending on whether he is writing about economic, politics or philosophy, but the general difference is that Marxist socialism denote a political and economical system in which you have the dicatorship of the proletariat (where the working classes use the power given by their numbers to oppress the capitalist classes, with the goal of gradually taking away the means of production from the capitalists, forcing them to join the proletariat - or working classes - by virtue of no longer being able to survive by living of the works of others), whereas communism is a society where the nationstate has lost all political power, and "withered away" to become purely an administrative extension of the communes, and thus not exist in the capitalist sense of "state".

    In terms of politics, the terms socialism and communism were frequently used by Marx' as expressions of the policies required to bring forth socialist and communist societies.

    Socialism was by Marx' seen as a necessary precursor to communism.

    I'd love to see how you think you can justify claiming that Marx' used the terms interchangably.

  • Re:excellent news (Score:3, Insightful)

    by vidarh ( 309115 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:49AM (#7786358) Homepage Journal
    No, they can't keep attacking you. They can appeal twice, the second appeal is to the supreme court and is very limited in scope: Usually the supreme court will pick only a very limited number of cases for review, and the ones picked will usually be reviewed only on a basis of application of law or procedural issues, while evidence and findings of facts from the lower courts are likely to stand more or less unchallenged unless grave errors are uncovered.
  • by geoffspear ( 692508 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:50AM (#7786367) Homepage
    What kind of idiot would appeal his own not guilty verdict? The point of an appeal is to ask a higher court to change the decision of a lower court. If he wanted to be convicted he would have plead guilty.
  • by Gumshoe ( 191490 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:00PM (#7786436) Journal
    Ever hear of the communist parties of Russia and China?

    Do you not suppose those parties had a political agenda? Can you say the word, "propoganda"? The only connection between the Stalinists and Marx was that the former used the latter's Manifesto as a tool to convince the proletariat that they were an actual communist party. It's a classic example of Stalinist doublespeak; and you've fallen for it!

    You probably know very few Marxist scholars

    I don't know any as it happens. I've encountered several though.
    I've talked to many, including those who claimed to dislike Stalinism, but then they say they love what Castro has done in Cuba (which is an example of Leninism/Stalinism).

    I fail to see how expressing admiration for Cuban communism is the same as stating that Marxism is the same as Stalinism. Are you going to cite references or not.
  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:26PM (#7786629) Homepage
    This is good. Very good news. BUT, this is in Norway, and it does not change much for those of us in the US.

    ...but it does mean that I can put up DeCSS tools on any Norwegian homepage, and not have it pulled because it is a legal, reverse-engineered tool. If the US invents some new draconian CSS2+ ultra super with sugar and cream, you can buy one of those, take it back to Norway and hack the hell out of it. Look at that QTfairuse program for iTunes, ever noticed that there is no iTMS in Norway yet?

    Yes it does help, because if he was prosecuted, then the MPAA would have won outright, but because he was not, the rock has been chipped.

    Quite frankly, between this and the recent KaZaA ruling in the Netherlands, the RIAA/MPAA have pretty much completely failed to outlaw the tools which may enable piracy. Look out for an US invasion of Europe to stop the intellectual terrorism (previously known as piracy) soon... Along with the recent DMCA subpoena ruling, their failure is near complete. And on the technological side, the average connection speed and cost/gb is steadily improving.

    In addition, a lot of work is being put into developing better P2P nets, both when it comes to performance (multi-source downloads, uploads of finished blocks), encryption (RSA, AES strong asymmetric and symmetric crypto), file integrity (MD5, SHA hashes), file validiity ("web of trust"), anonymity (Freenet and WinNY + that ant-type program here on slashdot) and so on. The RIAA is not winning, they're losing on pretty much all fronts. The thing that keeps them running is that people want to support the artist. Nothing more, nothing less.

  • Re:sigh... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by ad0gg ( 594412 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:32PM (#7786671)
    You're the reason America is fucked up the way it is. The reason why little league pays more for liabilty insurance than its does for equipment, uniforms and field maintence combined.(Hell my highschool couldn't afford a baseball team because of Insurance costs). The reason why hotels now have the max temperature of their hotwater set to 100 degrees, forget that hot shower. There is no reason why she should of got a cent. Did McDonalds break any laws? No. There are laws to protect consumer safetly including food prep and food safety. Did McDonalds violate any of these laws? No. So what did McDonalds do wrong? Served Coffee to hot, give me a break. I don't know how many times I recieved 2nd degree(blisted) burns to my mouth from eating hot pizza yet I'm not sueing Pizza hut or Papa John's for millions of dollars. If you want to complain about coffee being to hot, complain to you congress men. Because we need more laws to protect ourselves. We already have laws to protect us from our own stuff(DMCA) how about a law to set the max temperature of the coffee we brew?
  • by IdleTime ( 561841 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @01:16PM (#7787100) Journal
    By Norwegian Copyright Laws, you have the RIGHT to make backup copies of your legally purchased stuff. This is, as you said, substanially different from many countries copyright laws.

    Personally, I think it is only fair to have a law to protect your rights in this area. I'm only protecting my investments. By storing originals off-site, i.e bank-vault, I can restore my huge CD collection after let's say a fire or water damage since I only use the copies at home.
  • by cherad ( 581775 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:13PM (#7787573)
    To me that reads as a fair and balanced news article. They have repesented both sides of the case with no opinion given.

    I think perhaps you read slashdot too much.
  • Re:sigh... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <<moc.oohay> <ta> <dnaltropnidad>> on Monday December 22, 2003 @02:25PM (#7787663) Homepage Journal
    When a manufacturer knowingly continues a practice that is harmfull, it will become liable.

    McDonalds was aware that at the temperature that they served coffee was dagerous, and that people had burned them selves so bad, it required medical attention, and time in the hospital.

    It is reasonable to expect people to spill coffee, as such, you better be sure it's not going to put them in the hospital.

    Very few people taste anything thats 185 degree farenhiet, because it will burn your tounge.

    The suit is not that coffee was spilt, but that the coffee was dangerous. Do you think if you bought a cup of coffee, spilt it on yourself, it would be reasonalbe to have to go to a burn ward for a week?

  • by BryanL ( 93656 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:15PM (#7788618)
    I'm not taking sides in the argument, but if McDs had settled with other comlpainants for more money (as another poster claimed) why did they not settle for $20,000 in this case? Just curious if anyone knows.
  • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:46PM (#7788875) Homepage Journal
    Coffee made at home is 130-140 degrees. Coffee at 185 degrees will cause third degree burns in 2 to 7 seconds.

    Only in the land of the brave.
    Other places, coffee is supposed to be brewed at 197-205F (92-96C), and served at no lower temperature than 176-187F (80-86C) for regular coffee and a few degrees lower for espresso.
    McDonald's coffee, if it was 185F, was served according to the recommended temperatures. If they were at fault, it would be by serving the coffee in cups not appropriate for drinking hot coffee from.

    Never ever should coffee be served at as low a temperature as 130-140F, and definitely not made that way -- you can't possibly get the flavour out of beans that way, and what you end up with will have little to do with coffee.

  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <(moc.nozakeeg) (ta) (guodpoons)> on Monday December 22, 2003 @04:55PM (#7788964) Homepage
    "a panel of three professional judges backed up by four lay judges, two of whom had technical expertise relevant to the case."

    In the USA, cases like this end up before our Supreme Court -- 7 judges, none of whom has any technical expertise whatsoever, and who are appointed for life by whichever political regime is in power when one of them dies.

    No wonder our tech laws favor owners at the expense of innovators.
  • by xchino ( 591175 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @07:42PM (#7790545)
    I'm sure I'll be going to Karma Hell for posting this, but I have seen alot of UserID's I respected around here turn complete hippocrits in regards to what this guy is doing. In articles about his iTunes DRM cracking efforts, I see people saying things such as "We finally get something we like and this guy tries to ruin it!" What difference does it make if he's writing software to watch DVD's or writing software to listen to music? Just because you hate the MPAA and love Apple? In articles about DeCSS you hear a great deal of argument based of Freedom of Speech and consumers right to Fair Use, but somehow these rights do not apply to aything we support, such as iTunes.

    I like iTunes a great deal. I'd hate to see them make it any more difficult for me to get the same level of service I'm getting now. However, if they changed their policy to circumvent his efforts, I would blame Apple, not this guy for making use of his rights.

    I've even heard peple claim, "Apple DRM is easy enough to get around, just burn a CD and a re-rip in whatever format!" I doubt these same people would accept the same excuse from the MPAA "CSS is already easy enough to get around, just burn it to DVD and rip it!" Why in the hell should I have to burn it to CD? That's wasting my money, time, and resources on a completely unecessary step, not to mention that I may not have a CD burner to begin with. I guess I should just be screwed over in that instance, as long as the majority of users are happy.
  • by BenTels0 ( 667908 ) on Tuesday December 23, 2003 @08:18PM (#7799520)
    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.

    Except that the process of accessing a DVD entails making a copy in memory of successive sections of it. Just like with computer programs, where a copy in active memory is made from what is stored on the harddisk, which is itself a copy of what was on the installation medium.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin