Verdict in 'DVD Jon' appeal expected Dec. 22

The Oslo Court of Appeals heard closing arguments Wednesday and Thursday in the trial of Jon Lech Johansen, also known as "DVD Jon." A verdict is expected on Dec. 22.

Johansen was acquitted in January of charges relating to his development of a software tool, DeCSS, which can be used to crack the CSS (Content Scrambling System) copy protection on DVDs. Økokrim, the Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime, decided in March to appeal the verdict.

Økokrim chief public prosecutor Inger Marie Sunde repeated her call from the earlier trial for Johansen to be given a 90-day suspended jail term. Such a sentence would mean Johansen would not go to prison if found guilty -- unless he committed a crime within the following two years, in which case the sentence would enter effect.

If either side is unhappy with the appellate verdict, then they have the option of asking the Norwegian Supreme Court to review the case.

But if Johansen is found guilty this time, his lawyer will not automatically lodge an appeal. "I feel it is always important to read the ruling first," said defense lawyer Halvor Manshaus, a senior associate at Advokatfirmaet Schjødt AS.

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