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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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  • excellent news (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Indy1 ( 99447 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:04AM (#7785257) Homepage
    at least there's one country where corporate fascists cant buy everything. I hope the prosecuters are fired afterwards, wasting tax payer's money to shill for a bunch of scum bags in suits is hardly in the public interests.
  • Warm Fuzzys (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0mni ( 734493 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:04AM (#7785262)
    Does anyone else get a warm feeling when someone who didnt break a law DOESNT get convicted of it? Everyone breathe a sigh of relief now. Maybe we wont all get jailed if someone steals a knife from our home then kills someone else with it. Hurah for Freedom.
  • by cluge ( 114877 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:07AM (#7785280) Homepage
    With this decision, perhaps people will be brave enough to go after the bad provisions of the DMCA. While intended to protect copyrighted material the DMCA has been used to stifle research, threaten researchers, prevent disclosure of security bugs and all but make reverse engineering illegal. I believe that the United States needs it's own "DVD-Jon" that will show people that the DMCA is an ill considered poorly written law. So far when the DMCA has been brought into force against teachers, the people pressing charges have backed down. Thus the law stands and there is no clear lightening rod get the publics attention.

    The US needs a DVD-Jon - any takers?

    AngryPeopleRule []

  • by Nakanai_de ( 647766 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:09AM (#7785292)
    ...or, more specifically, its judicial system:

    The new ruling was made by a panel of three professional judges backed up by four lay judges, two of whom had technical expertise relevant to the case.

    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?

  • Re:Odd... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:09AM (#7785298)
    In Norway the tradition is for the courts to tell the big companies to fuck off.

    A case with a faulty component in a VCR even landed in the supreme court and the "little guy" won.

    The judges are not elected but hired and our politicians are not easily bought in a society with so few peope.

    What they lack in corruptability they make up for in naivety, though, so it evens out.
  • Re:Warm Fuzzys (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <salgak&speakeasy,net> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:11AM (#7785303) Homepage
    . . .but only if you keep your knives in a government-approved Knife Safe, otherwise you were "negligent". Even the butter knives.

    It's a good thing we don't get ALL the Government we pay for: can you imagine policies like this with COMPETENT Government employees and enforcement ????

  • by Indy1 ( 99447 ) <> on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:13AM (#7785315) Homepage
    I'd pity any American (Disclosure: i am an US citizen) who would take on the DVD-Jon role right now. Between the MPAA, RIAA, and Ashcroft and the republican regime, there probably would be no end to the dirty tricks and massive thought crime prosecution that would result. Hell its only a matter of time before people making mp3's are declared copyright terrorists and sentenced to lengthy jail terms in cuba :)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @09:42AM (#7785477)
    You're absolutely correct.

    Furthermore, the system is not a confrontational one even if the newspapers would like it to seem that way because the whole thing looks more like a US drama series.

    The prosecution is required to present all the evidence, both for and against, to the court. The defense is only required to defend the accused so in any courtroom, you have one and a half legal teams working for you.

    Even more importantly, the judges are not elected and thus feel no pressure on making populistic verdicts. They judge from the law and apply their own common sense as to what the legislature "probably intended". Pleny of room for abuse of power but it has worked out great the past few hundred years.
  • by threeturn ( 622824 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:03AM (#7785602)
    Good news, but the quoted article [] annoys me.

    Why does the press always uncritically report that DeCSS "cracks DVD copy protection codes"? It is clear that CSS is about preveting changes to region coding and the extraction of media. It doesn't prevent copying of the original DVD in any way, shape or form. As long as the DVD industry can sustain the spin that CSS is about copy protection they are winning the hearts and minds war.

    How can we get the press to report these issues in a more intelligent way?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 22, 2003 @10:11AM (#7785644)
    "The word "greed" sums it up pretty well - in Norway, greed is still considered a sin"

    And, yet, the government in Norway is much more greedy than the one in the United States.

    The government's function is often to do the things that would be a "sin" for the individual, for example steal (assess taxes), kidnap (incarcerate), murder (apply capital punishment).

    Governments exist to apply economic, social, and moral justice upon the aggregate of the individuals making up a society, and cannot be held to the same simple standards that must be applied to those individuals. They are fundamentally different things, and your conflation of them is disingenuous.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @11:40AM (#7786290) Homepage
    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.

    They do definately not want that to happen, but they have very little choice. Since the prosecution can appeal, it will set precedent if they choose not to appeal. Unlike the US, where I understand you must be found guilty all the way up to the supreme court to ever get there, since any aquittal is final. Yes, it does suck for DVD-Jon. But for the rest of us, it means that a precedent will be set at the first possible opportunity, not with some poster child case for the prosecution.

    The Norwegian economic crime unit is getting major egg-on-face factor out of this. They've spent 4 years prosecuting a single teen individual with two straight losses in court. This is like an advanced task force that's supposed to deal with organized crime, fraud, embezzlement, stock scams, anti-cometitive behavior, corruption, money laundering and so on. Yes, "computer crimes" is also defined as one of their specialities, but I think everyone but themselves think that going after DVD-Jon is shooting sparrows with a cannon. Which makes it all the more embarassing when they fail.

    I think they will try to appeal - simply because they have nothing to lose. If nothing else, just to delay this becoming a final precedent until after the EUCD has been implemented, making the ruling primarily of historical interest. Though I'm sure it will be interesting to see the same argunents about what legal rights you have compared to the legal limitations of the EUCD. Either way, congratulations to DVD-Jon. That this ruling was made already now (wasn't expected until mid-January) is a clear sign, that the prosecution's arguments were quite sternly rejected.

  • McDonald's Law? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Black Pete ( 222858 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:28PM (#7786638)
    Shall we now have a version of Godwin's Law, where every time the McDonald's coffee case is brought up, the thread is automatically over? It seems that on /., *every* time this case is brought up, it devolves into a "her fault!" vs "not her fault!" flamewar. Every time.

    PS (even though it defeats what I said above): Nice selective quoting. The reason why the judge lowered the punitives is because she was found partly at fault in this case.
  • Re:McDonald's Law? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mekkab ( 133181 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @12:35PM (#7786699) Homepage Journal
    Yes! McD's Coffee Law! ;)

    Good point re: the selective quoting. Remember, this thing is saved as my Slashdot PGP signature (thats how often this shit comes up)- and MY point initially was that "This woman DID NOT get millions from this. Why? The judge lowered it, because the JUDGE has that power."

    My intention wasn't to say who was at fault, or wether she should or shouldn't have sued. Its to show that there are some internal balancing mechanisms in the legal system. The additional implication hinted at by saying that "McD's and the woman settled for a sum far less" is that McD's had the right to appeal.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Monday December 22, 2003 @01:09PM (#7787038) Homepage
    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.

    The original EEA, which was a deal between EU and EFTA, was a rather good agreement between two both fairly large European organizations, e.g. in the joint court there'd be 2:3 EFTA:EU judges. It wasn't directly designed as some kind of "trial EU membership", not in that sense, but of course it laid the groundwork for even tighter integration and most people looked at it as a stepping stone.

    However, the whole balance of power shifted in 1994, when most of the other countries joined the EU. You can almost say they merged. Only Norway, Iceland and a couple others you need a magnifying glass to see on a map were left "outside", in EFTA. We turned it down with about 53% no, so was a close call. They got a lot bigger, we got a lot smaller. And with EU expanding, it is shifting even more.

    Ever since that time, it's become more and more like a leash. Where is was once thought that in case of a disagreement, both sides would hold reasonable power to dispute it, we're now getting directives slapped at us with a "take it or leave it", with the joint force of EU behind it and only a slumbering veto power paragraph if we disagree.

    Some of our politicians tout our independence (as independent as being a speck of dust instead of a rock in a storm) and have in general a very inflated view of Norway's role on the international scene. No, being so small, insignificant and without commercial interests that we make good neutral peacemakers is NOT a sign of power!

    I think Norway should either get in EU, or get out of EEA. Preferably in EU. But what we have today, is pretty much the worst of both worlds, stuck in a limbo, that yes, we didn't expect to be in. At least within EU we'd be a voice in the choir, right now our situation reminds me of a Calvin&Hobbes strip. Calvin is out looking at the stars, gazing out in the great depths. Then he yells "I mean something". And then in the final scene "...roared the speck of dust". Translated it back from Norwegian to English, so not sure if I got it literally correct. You get the picture.

  • by Pofy ( 471469 ) on Friday December 26, 2003 @06:25PM (#7814710)
    Such copies of temporary nature (the definition is more complex) are excepted from the exclusiveness of the copyright holder. That is, you are allowed to do them (especially if needed to use the original copy). Hence, such copying is not in violation of copyright and not protected for circumvention either.

Machines certainly can solve problems, store information, correlate, and play games -- but not with pleasure. -- Leo Rosten