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[dvd-discuss] Jon Johansen Acquittal Upheld
- To: dvd-discuss(at)eon.law.harvard.edu
- Subject: [dvd-discuss] Jon Johansen Acquittal Upheld
- From: Seth Johnson <seth.johnson(at)realmeasures.dyndns.org>
- Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 11:42:16 -0500
- Organization: Real Measures
- References: <20031218165125.GB611@sethf.com>
- Reply-to: dvd-discuss(at)eon.law.harvard.edu
- Sender: owner-dvd-discuss(at)eon.law.harvard.edu
DVD-Jon wins new legal victory
Norway's most famous computer whiz got an early Christmas present on Monday.
An appeals court in Oslo upheld Jon Lech Johansen's earlier acquittal on all
counts of alleged copyright violations.
A verdict in the case, which has caught international attention, wasn't
expected until early January. But the appeals court (Borgarting
lagmannsrett) apparently didn't see any need to wait with its decision.
A panel of judges Monday cast aside the appeal that prosecutors had filed to
a lower court decision handed down in January. That means the lower court's
decision will stand, at least until another eventual appeal takes the case
to Norway's supreme court.
The lower court had ruled that Johansen, now 20, did nothing illegal when he
helped crack DVD copy protection codes in 1999 and then publicized how he
did it. The prosecution had sought a suspended jail term, confiscation of
his computer equipment and a fine of NOK 20,000 (less than USD 3,000).
Prosecutors had put Johansen back on trial earlier this month for his role
in creating a software solution that removes copy protection from DVD films.
He was dubbed "DVD-Jon" after he helped crack the copy protection code as a
teenager and then published it on the Internet.
He became an instant hero to those who finally could watch DVD films on
their computers instead of being forced to buy expensive DVD players, but he
incurred the fury of some of the biggest players in the entertainment
industry. It all turned into a classic "David and Goliath" situation, with
Johansen ultimately facing prosecution by Norway's white-collar crime unit
Oekokrim. In January, Johansen won. An Oslo court cleared him of all charges
that his role in creating the so-called "DeCSS" program was a violation of
copyright and an invitation to wide-scale piracy.
Prosecutors appealed the verdict, only to be knocked down once again by the
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.
DRM is Theft! We are the Stakeholders!
New Yorkers for Fair Use
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