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Johansen Pleads Not Guilty
By Jon Newton, p2pnet.net
(more articles from this author)
2003-12-02
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Johansen - Not amusing any more

Jon Lech Johansen told a Norwegian court yesterday that he didn't break the law when he created DeCSS to crack the Content Scrambling System on DVDs so they can played on any computer, no matter what the O/S.

He trounced the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America - read Hollywood) in an earlier online piracy trial when it claimed he'd illegally unlocked the CSS code and in the process, allowed pirate copying of music files from the Net.

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The MPAA filed the original complaint when Johanesen was only 15-years old.

"The facts in the case are still the same," Johansen's counsel Halvor Manshaus told Norwegian news agency NTB. Quoted in Norway's Aftenposten here, "Oekokrim [Norway's Economic Crime Unit] will present more witnesses than in the first trial and then we will do the same," he says.

"Jon is quite worn out by the whole case and doesn't find it very amusing any more. You should not underestimate the strain of having such a case hanging over your head from the time you are 15 years old.".

The court's orignal decision was that Johansen could do what he wanted with DVDs he'd legally bought. It also said prosecutors had failed to prove that Johansen's program had been used by others to copy and distribute pirated copies.

Now, in a case which could last until the middle of this month, the MPAA is trying again to use Norway's prosecution system to nail Johansen.

The Oekokrim charges were brought under the Norwegian criminal code section 145.2 which outlaws bypassing technological restrictions to access data one's not entitled to access.

This is the first time it's been used to prosecute someone for accessing his own property.

The penalty for violation is two years in prison.

"If Johansen's acquittal is over-turned on appeal, it will become illegal for Norwegians to bypass DVD region code restrictions or technical restrictions that prevent fast-forwarding over advertisements, or otherwise circumvent digital controls on their own property," says IP Justice Executive Director Robin Gross.

Johansen's latest exploit is his QTFairUse QuickTime for Windows AAC memory dumper.


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