God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll (archmage) wrote,
God of Thunder and Rock'n'Roll

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News Flash 1 - 'DVD Jon' Acquitted

(*Danke to nighthawk, whose post I'm ripping off*)

Pulled directly from Ars Technica.

The recording industry was dealt a blow in Norway when Jon Johansen, who developed the DeCSS code, was acquitted on charges of circumventing copyright protections. Norwegian prosecutors were pressed into action by the US entertainment industry in an effort to globally enforce copyright protection, but were rebuffed on all counts. The court ruled Johansen did nothing wrong in creating DeCSS which enabled him to view purchased DVDs on his linux computer.

The court ruled there was "no evidence" that either Johansen or others had used the decryption code (called DeCSS) for illegal purposes. Johansen therefore couldn't be convicted on such grounds, nor for acting as an accessory to other alleged illegal activity, wrote judge Irene Sogn in the court's ruling.

Nor, wrote Sogn, was there any evidence that Johansen intended to contribute to illegal copying.

Nils, who submitted the news, suggests this may bring an end to Johansen's legal woes. "We can probably expect MPAA and Økokrim to drop further charges. The prosecutor Inger Marie Sunde has relied mostly on a 'LA Law' prosecution by focusing on character assassination and focusing on motive and the industry's possible loss of money rather than law." This ruling coupled with the recent ElcomSoft verdict are major blows to the entertainment industry's legal efforts. Prosecutors failed to prove utilities were created for illegal purposes in either case, and also failed to prove financial harm from the creation of such utilities. It is refreshing to see the Norwegian court focusing on the legal uses for the DeCSS code instead of buying prosecutorial character assassination and possible illegal uses of such a tool. Because a tool may be used for illegal means doesn't make the tool or creation of the tool illegal.

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