No jail time sought for teen in Norway DeCSS trial

In closing arguments Monday, prosecutors called for Jon Lech Johansen, the 19-year-old Norwegian charged with using and distributing DeCSS, a program that can be used to break the digital copy-protection mechanism of DVDs, to be given a three-month suspended jail sentence and made to pay 10,000 Norwegian kroner (AUD$2,490) in police costs, according to Johansen's defense counsel, Halvor Manshaus.

A three-month suspended jail term means Johansen would not go to prison if found guilty -- unless he committed a crime within the next two years, in which case the three-month sentence would enter effect.

Part 145 Section 2 of the Norwegian criminal code, under which Johansen was charged, provides for a maximum sentence of six months for gaining illegal access to information by breaking or circumventing a code or barrier, or two years if the act is motivated by profit, Manshaus said.

Johansen, also widely known as "DVD Jon," developed the DeCSS program in late 1999 in order to watch DVDs on a computer running the Linux operating system.

Prosecutors from Norway's special force for economic crime, Økokrim, claimed that DeCSS could be used to make pirate copies of DVDs. According to Manshaus, Johansen replied that you can make copies to which you are not entitled using the software, just as you can with CD burners, photocopiers and video cassette recorders -- all technologies that, like DeCSS, can also be used for legal purposes.

On Friday, just before the trial was due to end, Økokrim asked the judge for leave to change the nature of the charges against Johansen, to add a charge of breaking the DVD Content Scrambling System (CSS) and gaining access to the player keys, a series of digital encryption keys usually stored in DVD players and used to unlock the content of DVDs.

After initially objecting to the move, Manshaus agreed to the changes without waiting for the judge to rule. Objecting would have resulted either in a refusal of the change, or a retrial if the judge had accepted it.

"We've waited three years for this trial, we didn't want to delay it any longer," Manshaus said.

The judge will announce the verdict on Jan. 7.

The investigation began in January 2000, when a Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) complaint against Johansen led Norwegian police to raid his home. His trial finally began on Dec. 9.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

PC World

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?