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.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

PC World
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?