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!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

PC World
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

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.

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?