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Danish DRM Breaker Turns Himself In To Test Backup Law 466

coaxial writes "In Denmark, it's legal to make copies of commercial videos for backup or other private purposes. It's also illegal to break the DRM that restricts copying of DVDs. Deciding to find out which law mattered, Henrik Anderson reported himself for 100 violations of the DRM-breaking law (he ripped his DVD collection to his computer) and demanded that the Danish anti-piracy Antipiratgruppen do something about it. They promised him a response, then didn't respond. So now he's reporting himself to the police. He wants a trial, so that the legality of the DRM-breaking law can be tested in court."
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Danish DRM Breaker Turns Himself In To Test Backup Law

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  • Re:Kudos (Score:5, Informative)

    by hansamurai ( 907719 ) <> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:05PM (#30301360) Homepage Journal

    I don't know what the repercussions are in Denmark but here in the US when you see FBI warnings before a movie stating you'll be fined $150,000 and 10 years in a PMITA prison... I'd rather just keep my mouth shut and let someone who actually got caught challenge the system.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fulcrum of Evil ( 560260 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:10PM (#30301450)
    Having the right to do something and being forbidden from doing the actions most commonly followed to accomplish this thing are in direct conflict. changing the DRM law to require some further infraction to be applicable would do a lot to resolve this conflict.
  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Informative)

    by pauljlucas ( 529435 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:20PM (#30301596) Homepage Journal

    It's a bit like calling the FDA to make sure your restaurant is clean enough.

    The FDA has nothing to do with restaurant inspections. That's handled by county-level health departments.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:23PM (#30301646)

    Being from scandinavia (not Denmark though, but laws are likely quite similar), I can say that I would be really surprised if the fine was any more than a couple of thousand euros. Fines/damages here are meant to be payable and any unreasonable fines/damage will be cut down to a level that's feasible payable for the person in question. That's one of the things you learn in the introductory law courses here.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:5, Informative)

    by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:24PM (#30301650) Journal

    Recordable disks aren't writable in the part of the disk where the key is stored, so if you don't decrypt it when you make the backup, you won't be able to play the backup in your player.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:29PM (#30301760) Homepage

    Dude, this is Scandinavia. We don't award insane damages here, in fact we generally give way too little IMO. People that have had their lives completely ruined, like 20 years innocent in prison get less than a million dollars. Murderers are often only required to pay 100-200k$ in damages. That is one of the reasons the TPB case became such a big deal in Sweden, for Americans a little over 4 million dollars is not that unusual, around here it's unheard of. There was for example here in Norway just recently about a 16 year old who got the biggest insurance payout ever after a traffic accident - 11.6 MNOK = 2.08 million USD. Still not much when he's probably got another 60 years to live and will need special care for the rest of his life.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:5, Informative)

    by h4rm0ny ( 722443 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:31PM (#30301804) Journal

    I know this is hard, but sometimes you have to read the article. ;) Apparently, Danish law gives the individual the right to make a non-commercial backup for personal use. That isn't a law saying you may do something, it's saying you have a right to do so. In which case DRM infringes on that right.
  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Informative)

    by MoonBuggy ( 611105 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:40PM (#30301950) Journal

    But the thing is, that he *can* surely copy the disc without breaking the DRM?

    As I understand it, that's exactly what CSS is designed to prevent. From the Wikipedia article:

    The purpose of CSS is twofold. First and foremost, it prevents byte-for-byte copies of an MPEG stream from being playable since such copies will not include the keys that are hidden on the lead-in area of the restricted DVD disk.

  • Re:law vs. law (Score:2, Informative)

    by greensoap ( 566467 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:42PM (#30301988)
    Well, looking at it from a U.S. perspective it would depend. First you have to look at whether the laws truly contradict and who passed the laws (state v. federal). If law A was passed by congress in 1980 and a contradictory law B was passed by congress in 1990, then law B trumps. The courts would say that law B supersedes law A and congress intent must have been for law A not to apply any longer. This is because congress had spoken on the issue and now says something different. The newer law must reflect congress current intent on the law rather than out of date view of the older law.

    Now things change if we are talking about state passing a law and congress passing a law. You have to do a whole bunch on constitutional analysis at that point. State rights vs federal power.
  • by Meneguzzi ( 935620 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:46PM (#30302068) Homepage Journal
    But on the flipside, in Scandinavia (and most of Europe) if you need a hospital or support for some physical limitation, you won't have to pay through your nose to get it, as this is seen as a basic human right. In the US, if you need constant medical attention and you don't have a steady revenue stream (or a big hoard of cash) you are pretty much screwed.
  • Re:this is brave (Score:5, Informative)

    by SoCalChris ( 573049 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:55PM (#30302272) Journal
    Montana code 61-8-303(2) [] allows you to speed up to 10mph over the limit on two lane highways to safely pass another vehicle.

    "A vehicle subject to the speed limits imposed in subsection (1) traveling on a two-lane road may exceed the speed limits imposed in subsection (1) by 10 miles an hour in order to overtake and pass a vehicle and return safely to the right-hand lane."
  • I do live in Denmark (Score:5, Informative)

    by nielsdybdahl ( 1027712 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @04:59PM (#30302372)
    I do live in Denmark. The danish copyright laws are based upon the copyright rules from the european union, that all member states have to implement in their national laws. One of these rules state that it is allowed to circumvent the copy protection schemes if it is necessary to use the media. That is probably intended to make it possible for Linux users to play DVDs, but in this case it might also be used because if the user has a PC without a DVD drive, then it is necessary to rip the DVD with a different PC. Another european rule states that temporary copies that are necessary for using the media are always allowed. Again in this case if the user has a PC without DVD-drive, then it is legal to store the DVD content on a harddrive (which is not a permanent copy).
  • Re:law vs. law (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sandbags ( 964742 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:15PM (#30302696) Journal

    You are correct sir, mostly. The USA is NOT a "true democracy", but it is a democratic for of government. Technically, it's a Federated Constitutional Republic utilizing a Globalized Presidential system and representive democracy. Spelled out, Federated (national, state, and locally subdivided), Constitutional (document providing powers to seperated executive and legislative branches), Republic (where the head of state is not a monarch but subject to both pubic vote and suffrage). Presidential (to preside) over a representative democracy (people do not directly vote on laws nor do they have direct power over those elected/appointed). By Globalized, our president gets permission from various world organizations and other governments to perform certain acts, and world opinion has nearly as much influence on our government as our own voters do.

    By "true democracy" you must be refering to "direct democracy" instead of "representative" democracy. The USA is only marginally a "representative" as elected politicians are in no way bound to vote in the favor of their constituents, nor is there a formal feedback process (only letters and complaints, which can be easily ignored in favor of lobyists who are not typically working the the favor of the constituents or people, but of themselves or a corporation). This is where the Capitolism enters the playing filed, and where the USA is somewhat apart from others.

    It is also correct, though not completely in the traditional sense, to add the work "socialist" in front of Republic, as the USA does use numerous socialist policies. Socialism is not itself a form of government, but can be used to describe any form of government. Commonly, socialism is put by many people on a scale between democracy and communism, as if those could be directly compared as government types, and often it is confused with Marxism. Also, many confuse "socialized" with "socialist" but these are completely different terms. In a socialist nation, goods and saervices are litterally OWNED by the people, and your work efforts provide you a share of those resources equal to the work others do. Socialized services are services provided to those by others who can not afford them otherwise, regardless of effort put forward. Socialized healthcare for example does not mean you have to perform services for the government, nor that you receive certain preferential treatment in healthcare, MEDICARE is already defined as socialized medicine. So long as joinging a government run program is not COMPULSORY (options to select from both public and private options exist), then "socialized healthcare" is simply the fallback coverage for those without coverage, and the choice for others.

  • by Zarhan ( 415465 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:21PM (#30302782)

    Wasn't there a $100,000 speeding ticket in Finland a few years back?

    Yes. That happened to the current CEO of Nokia (back then he was VP or something). The fines are scaled according to your income (the idea being that if the fine were a fixed sum it would just give richer people a reason to consider it 'fun tax' instead of a real punishment) so a guy making tons of money gets a big ticket too. If you have no income, it goes down to a few hundred euros (depending on crime).

  • Re:Kudos (Score:3, Informative)

    by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:46PM (#30303296)

    Know why those labels are there in the first place? That's right. Because some consumer somewhere probably sued the company because he didn't know mattresses were heavy or that you shouldn't eat your keyboard or something stupid like that... :)

    You couldn't be further from the truth and the fact you automatically assume that those labels are unnecessary and the result of a frivolous lawsuit is a sign of just how gullible our society has become. Those labels [] are there so that the person selling the mattress can't claim it's stuffed with handpicked goose feathers and made with a silk cloth exterior and charge the buyer three times as much when it is actually made from reused synthetic products. It's called truth in advertising. Those types of consumer protection things were used a lot back in the days before regulatory capture [] when the government occasionally acted in the best interests of the consumer instead of the corporation.

  • Re:This is not brave (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @05:57PM (#30303492) Homepage

    I will correct you. I'm not from the US but I still know that Trademark law is completely different from copyright law and patent law. Please don't bunch them together.

    Yes, but he's still right which makes you wrong. Trademarks can lose their protection if they become generic words, for example "aspirin" is no longer a protected trademark but a general name for painkillers. Obviously the trademark holder can't go around controlling what everyone says, but he has to at least take action against companies and others using it officially. For example, "to google" is starting to become a synonym for "to search (on the Internet)", but Google would quickly protest against anyone using that term for searching on Bing or Yahoo or whatever.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:5, Informative)

    by DamnStupidElf ( 649844 ) <> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:06PM (#30303654)
    For consumer DVD drives, it's necessary to authenticate the software to the drive firmware before it will read encrypted sectors. You can test this by putting an encrypted DVD in a Linux box and typing 'dd if=/dev/dvd of=/dev/null' and watching the kernel message log for sector errors. The UDF directories are unencrypted so the OS can mount the disk, but the VIDEO_TS files are unreadable without authenticating the drive with a CSS key. See this quick explanation []. At this point, DRM has already been broken and you're a horrible criminal, but you can still copy the entire encrypted DVD (e.g. dd if=/dev/dvd of=dvd.iso) and then you have a bit-for-bit copy of the readable portions of the DVD sectors. Not everything, because DVDs have 2054 byte sectors to include a per-sector 6 byte CSS key, but the drive firmware on consumer drives only returns the 2048 bytes of data. For all the DVDs I've ever seen, the CSS key is the same for every sector of a given file in the VIDEO_TS directory, so it doesn't really matter that the per-sector keys aren't copied. Once the encrypted copy of the DVD is made, it can still be decrypted by brute forcing the CSS key for each encrypted file at run time, which is made pretty quick by the broken cipher used for CSS. To make a long story short, you are correct that the DVD has to be decrypted before re-encoding or burning a new DVD. As others have pointed out, with consumer hardware you can't burn the per-sector keys to a DVD+/-R, which means that any re-encoded DVD will have to be burned as an unencrypted DVD.
  • by jonaskoelker ( 922170 ) <jonaskoelker&yahoo,com> on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:25PM (#30304014)

    If you read the comments to the article, you'll note a link to Henrik's home page, [] (which is in danish).

    If you click "Sådan støtter du op om digitale kopier" (how to support digital copies), you'll see a page telling you to click the paypal link on the right hand side (of his home page) to donate any amount "for the running of".

    That would be an obvious way to support him. There may be laws against collecting money under a false pretence (A Time To Kill says there are such laws in the US, fwiw ^_^), so you may want to add a note to the paypal transfer saying "Hi. Here's some money for whatever purpose you like. You might want to spend them on lawyers etc." (although I suspect that if you give him money without saying that he can spend them for whatever he likes, you're the only one who can sue him for having taking your money under a false pretence. IANAL, TINLA, ask a ninja, etc.)

    The support page at [] also lists putting banners on your web page, reading his twitter feed, writing to the Danish ministry of culture ("minicult"? :D), and joining a project that Ekstra Bladet (a Danish tabloid news paper) is running where you can submit your own digital copying stories.

    You can also send him an email and ask how you might help. Click on the "kontakt" (contact) link in the upper-right corner.

    (I'm not going to post his email address here on slashdot since he'd get, well, slashdotted with mail. If you really want to get in touch with him, you can take the time to click a few links. Also, he posts his street address and phone number there, but encourages people to comment on his blog articles where relevant.)

    I hope this helps, and that Google Translate can get you the rest of the way.

  • by loshwomp ( 468955 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @06:46PM (#30304366)

    and isn't a hidden income redistribution effort.

    Now that is amusing, although I suspect you were being serious. A system that extracts money from filthy rich scofflaws? I'd welcome it.

    It's wrong to give a rich guy a harsher punishment because he's rich just like it's wrong to give a poor guy a harsher punishment because he's poor.

    That was the whole original point -- an $XX fine is a harsher punishment to me than it is to Bill Gates.

  • Re:Kudos (Score:3, Informative)

    by dasunt ( 249686 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:16PM (#30304858)

    We all know the "the coffee burned me when I spilled it" stories, though, too.

    Actually, it was a "the coffee caused 3rd degree burns that required skin grafting" story.

    According to the trial, McDonald's coffee was served at a temperature that would cause 3rd degree burns within 2 to 7 seconds, and burns that would require skin grafting in 12 to 15 seconds.

    But hey, keep ranting if that helps you. ;)

  • Law wording (Score:4, Informative)

    by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:38PM (#30305172) Homepage

    I don't know how the law is worded in Denmark, but in Switzerland you're explicitly allowed to break DRM if it stands in your way to exercices "fair-use" copies according to the copyright law.

    The Denmark law wording could be explicit (as in Switzerland) or not clear enough (so you can't exclude that DRM breaking has to occur in order to exercice "fair-use"), so the whole test case might make sense, in order to create jurisprudence that DRM can legally be broken in order to create legal copies.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:3, Informative)

    by Golddess ( 1361003 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @07:46PM (#30305268)

    Take it to trial and only one thing matters. "Sir, were you speeding?" "Yes, but..." "You can pay your fine to the clerk on your way out. Next!"

    Spoken like someone who's never been in a courtroom for a traffic violation.

    Of course, my experience has been rather limited, but there were always 3 ways that you can plead: not guilty, guilty, and guilty with an explanation.

    Also, judges tend to take into account your previous driving record for things like a Probation Before Judgment, where basically the ticket is thrown out (though there are still court fees). I've also witnessed a judge mark down a speeding ticket exactly like GP stated, though not for GP's reasons.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jesse_vd ( 821123 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @08:02PM (#30305492)
    that lane is not for fast traffic, it is for passing. if someone wishes to pass YOU, they must do it in the left lane, therefore YOU'D better move over when you can and let them go.
  • Re:This is not brave (Score:4, Informative)

    by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @09:05PM (#30306140)

    Selective enforcement of laws is allowed in Denmark :

    For criminal law - no (like everywhere else, including the US)

    Actually, in the US, prosecutorial discretion provides a nigh-unreviewable [] power for prosecutors to decide whether or not to bring charges. About the only way to challenge a selective prosecution in the US is to prove that their is a discriminatory motive and effect in prosecuting decisions.

    I don't know how Denmark compares, but I've seen several references to Denmark having "discretionary prosecution." I don't know what that really means, though.

  • Re:First (Score:3, Informative)

    by alexo ( 9335 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @10:14PM (#30306650) Journal

    I'm very glad civil-rights leaders in the 60's weren't so cowardly.

    Yes, most people are very glad when $SOMEONE_ELSE is not so cowardly.

  • Re:this is brave (Score:5, Informative)

    by cpt kangarooski ( 3773 ) on Wednesday December 02, 2009 @11:33PM (#30307154) Homepage

    Well, I don't know about Denmark, but in the US at least, copyright involves several different exclusive rights. One of them is distribution, another one is reproduction. It is entirely possible to infringe on a copyright in the US by making copies without distributing them. It may be less likely to be noticed and litigated, but it is no less infringing.

    Take a look at 17 USC 101 and 106 for useful definitions and the main exclusive rights compromising a US copyright, if you're interested.

  • Were I him... (Score:3, Informative)

    by JerryLove ( 1158461 ) on Thursday December 03, 2009 @10:38AM (#30309952)

    I would have turned myself in for 1 instance, not 100.

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