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DeCSS Author Arrested 493

TyFoN sent us a link to a CNN story where you can read that the author of DeCSS was arrested for violating copyright law. If anyone can find something in English, I'd really appreciate it... the usual translation engines seem to be less then enchanted with norwegian. Update: here's an English version of said story.
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DeCSS Author Arrested

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  • The register contains a little - Article Here [] but basically it says that the Norwegian police force arrested him and his father on copyright enfringment charges.

    His father was arrested because he owns the site on which DeCSS was posted. A mobile phone and two computers were also taken.

  • The article has a reader feedback poll. Could someone make a stab at translating it, I want to know which way to vote.

  • by arcade ( 16638 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:01AM (#1338796) Homepage
    or is this the actual author this time?

    it was jon both times. The guy is arrested, and I've printed out a couple of hundred flyers here at the university of Oslo. We are preparing a demonstration - due Friday.

    "Rune Kristian Viken" - - arcade@efnet
  • by JamesSharman ( 91225 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:04AM (#1338798)

    Well, things are starting to get a bit out of hand. Before I mumble on about real issues I would like to ask a question. What is the best way to protect your personal possessions from theft, 1) Buy good locks for your doors and windows, or 2) Leave the door open and sue anyone who steals anything.

    This is no longer about Jon Johansen, or the cracking of DeCSS, this is about Abuse of privilege. In any country the legal system is paid for by the people and is there to protect the people and other legal entities (including corporations). The legal system is not there to replace adequate safe guards, do we complain when prisoners start law suits at the publics expense because they got the wrong kind of peanut butter? Do we complain when able-bodied people call an ambulance to take them for a checkup? The answer to this is yes (I hope) because it's abuse of the system. In the same way we should protest that entities like the MPAA think they can throw their weight around at the public's expense due to little more then their own failings, yes I know they pay for their own lawyers but the courts etc. all come from the taxpayer.

    The issues surrounding the right to access legal acquired information etc. have been covered in other posts, but I would like to bring to people's attention another abuse of the CSS system. The CSS system is there to protect against piracy and to enforce the region coding system. I am angered by the abuse of the region coding system, a DVD disk costs about twice as much in the UK as it does in the US, and quite often does not have as many added extras (interviews, clips etc..). The region coding system forces us to buy often inferior products at always exaggerated prices. Naturally a booming market in imported DVD's and 'chipped' players sprung up but the MPAA lobbied the British government into a large scale crackdown of the 'Grey imports'. Once again taxpayer money wasted in support of big business screwing over the overage joe.

    For these reasons I will continue to host a mirror at [] and urge other mirror owners to email me and pass on their URLs to aid in the construction of a larger list of mirrors. The MPAA and it's members need to learn three lessons, 1) Attempting to control legal use of a legally purchased product is futile, 2) They cannot continue to abuse privilege, 3) There is no putting of the baby back into the womb once it has been born.

  • Ok, what i'm gonna propose
    is to organize a meeting in norway,
    the maxmimum number of person should come,
    to discuss what we can do,
    and do it...

    I'm personnaly living in france,
    and i'm ready to come.
  • by aeonek ( 73537 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:07AM (#1338803)
    My norwegian is not the best in the world, but here it comes:

    Should it be illegal to crack protection codes?

    A. Yes, that's why the codes are there.

    B. No, the media giants is overprotecting themselves.

    C. Only if you use it for commercial purposes.

  • by RPoet ( 20693 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:09AM (#1338808) Journal
    I just heard on Norwegian radio news that Jon will not be held economically responsible, which must be a great relief. As for the Norwegian CNN article, it doesn't hold much more new information. It does though, as most other Norwegian media today, "point out" that the main use of DeCSS is to copy DVD discs illegally (of course it never mentions the price of blank DVD disks, the price of burners, and the size of the actual movies).

    I also completely understand it if "outsiders" get the idea that most Linux users are ruthless piracy freaks, after reading all the mindless articles around.

    Jon is even on the front page of the largest (I think) norwegian tabloid paper today. Our "economic crime" police division (ØKOKRIM) shows it's pathetic servile attitude in doing anything that the mighty Americans tell them to. One can only hope that this tragic case opens the eyes of people to what a fight for people's rights it really is!

    A norwegian Linux related page runs a petition for Jon, and it seems to be going really well. The wheels are in motion! :)
  • by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:11AM (#1338809) Homepage
    The point is: the guy didn't do anything illegal. He just created a program which could be used for something illegal. If he's arrested for copyright violation, then all manufacturers of any kind of weapons should be arrested for murder.
  • Diverging from the original thread (but what Slashdot thread doesn't) it's not necessarily the fault of region coding that brings us discs with fewer extras on but our own BBFC (British Board of Film Classification)

    As an example the Region 1 disc of The Matrix has additional sound tracks and a follow the white rabbit interactive element which are not included on the Region 2 disk - not because Warner couldn't do it or didn't have time but because to put these extras on the disk would have meant them having to re-edit each one because the BBFC objected to a scene that included headbutting - something they consider to be 'imitatable behaviour'

    Don't get me wrong - I'm not in favour of the Region system but we do have to tackle our own film industry as well as trying to take on the big guys because even if Regions were removed from DVDs the versions on sale in the UK will still be butchered and less featured thanks to the BBFC.

    Rant over.

  • by mrglue ( 25783 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:14AM (#1338812) Homepage
    The article in question says just about the same as the VG story already translated in the previous /. article []. Here's a translation of the poll, asking "Should cracking protection codes be punishable?"

    "Ja, det er derfor kodene er der" = "Yes, that's why the codes are there"
    "Nei, mediegigantene overbeskytter seg" = "No, the media giants are being overly protective"
    "Bare hvis det utnyttes kommersielt" = "Only if it's used commercially".

  • Isn't arresting someone what comes before them being charged - then comes the trial then improsonment / not imprisonment?
  • by Ice Tiger ( 10883 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:21AM (#1338824)
    Ok so this guy is being prosecuted in Norway, but this action no doubt was prompted to influence the case(s) in the US.

    If it is decided that DECSS is illegal due to being illegally reversed engineered, the reason being the person doing the reverse engineering clicked on a licence agreement, well will it not effect the whole of the shrink wrap software industry.

    How does company A get thier software to write the file format of company B. Well by reverse engineering it of course. This is one example, but there must be hundreds of precidents of reverse engineering of software and hardware with the standard shrink wrap licence.

    So does this mean for example Microsoft can be sued by the makers of Word Perfect as to use the software they must have clicked on the licence agreement first. Or Microsoft can then sue anyone that tries to write software that can write thier file formats, or interface to thier protocols.

    It makes you wonder, doesn't it, replace the words DECSS and the two parties names by any large company and any peice of software and you can see the simularity.

    Maybe the software industry will realise this and rally behind us.

    Or maybe they would like to see application barriers to entry being backed by the legal system. In the short term this is great for the corporations but in the long term it will hurt them and also the consumer looses out totally.

    Ice Tiger
  • by Hobbex ( 41473 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:21AM (#1338825)

    If I woke up as CmdrTaco and found this news I would post it too before having seen that it was already posted during the night. Its an emotional issue, probably the most important one ever to have the Linux and Slashdot communities at the center. This fight is about our right to be who we are, and persecution 16 year old - for no other reason then that he and his friends were smarter than a multi-billion dollar industry - must never be forgotten.

    The article from Norwegian CNN looks like the same one that was linked from the last thread from Norwegian newspaper VG. Someone posted a translation here []. It is a pretty good article, and includes Jon correction that DeCSS is not "a crack that allows copying of DVDs", but "a crack that allows _playing_ of DVDs". We have to continue to spread that message whenever we talk the press. This is not, and was never, about piracy.

    This does mean war people, and it is just the beginning. The Information society _cannot_ both preserve the flows of information and enforce the appropriation of it, and as long as industry and government continues to kling to this contradiction, the costs to freedom will be without limit. As of yet, these are only a few paranoid associations who have not yet been actually threatened to the life: and yet they are ready to take it to the level of abusing the rights of a 16 year old. When the shit truly hits the fan, everything we love here stands to be lost.

    I'm very afraid that when the overhyped overpriced Internet companies of today cannot live up to the growth and revenue they have promised, we will become the scapegoats. If your information company is loosing money, blame piracy and try to get the punishments lifted. If your Internet company is loosing money, blame cacheing, deep linking, and the use of Agents until it becomes illegal to link to a page on the WWW without permission (a violation of the very idea behind the media, not to speak of Freedom). If your tech company isn't making money, try to increase the already outdated patent laws beyond any possible rhyme and reason.

    Can they win? Of course not. The genie is out of the bottle, and now that we have had glimpse of Freedom, we will never be giving up. The question is how much damage they can do to the world on the way down, and the answer is frightening.

    We cannot reason ourselves out of our basic irrationality. All we can do is learn the art of being irrational in a reasonable way.
  • One wonders how much pressure the Norwegian Government has received to do this, if any at all, and if they have, then from who?

    I believe that this is a decission by the state attorney (Ms Inger Marie Sunde) that a crime might have been committed. There is no reason to believe that there has been any pressure from any governement, but the MPAA has asked the Norwegian police to investigate.

  • I want everyone who supports Jon to go there and vote if they haven't done so already. The current score is quite revealing...

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • I have thus far held off on buying a DVD drive for my system because it would be next to useless on it. In the environment that makes this whole decss flap possible, I've decided that the only real way to avoid trouble is just to never buy any product that incorporates copy protection of this nature. If the industry wants to offer me the choice of watching it in Windows or not at all, I'll choose not at all, thanks, and go with content created by independent authors posted on the Internet. I will never buy an encrypted DVD or DVD-CD, I will never buy a DVD device and because I question the morality of anyone who could work for a group like the RIAA in the face of shit like this, I will never hire anyone who worked for them.
  • Oh come off it already. Karma is not the dick measuring contest you think it is, despite your best efforts. I'm not sure if you know this, but other users can't even see your karma. The only people that "fish" for karma are the morons that troll around pointing it out, as well. So either post things of substance or don't post at all.

  • by UWCM ( 120589 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:31AM (#1338841)
    original article: l

    CNN NORWAY -- 16-year lod Jon Johansen broke the codes which protect DVD-disks. Now mediagiants like Sony, Warner and Disney want to punish the norwegian. Monday he spent 7 hours in police questioning.

    "We have filed charges against Jon and Per Johansen on behalf of MPA and DVD CCA", confirms lawyer Espen Tøndel from Simons Musæus to Verdens Gang.

    Motion Picture Association (MPA) is the organisation representing the interests of USA's seven largest movie producers: Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, MGM, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studio and Warner Bros.

    DVD CCA controlls and protects copyrights on DVD products.

    Jon and his father are charged with violating copyrights and penalcodes [sic!] after the 16-year old participated in an international ring that developed and distributed the program DeCSS. The program makes it possible to copy DVD movies.

    "The charges are invalid. The codes on DVD disks do not provide copy protection, but play-back protection. All that we've done is to make it possible to play back DVD on our computers", Johansen told Verdens Gang after being released from questioning monday evening.

    The "agency to combat economic crimes" also searched the home of pupil Jon Johansen (16) from Steinsholt in Vestfold.

    Johansen were forced to hand over his mobile phone, computers, a number of CD's and the passwords to the computers.

    The District Attorney Inger Marie Sunde from the "agency to combat economic crimes" confirms to the Evening Post that a search warrant was obtained for searching the home of Jon Johansen.

    Sunde says the agency takes a serious view of the type of crime that the 16-year has been charged with.

    Johansen became known in computing circles last year when it became public knowledge that he had participated in the group MoRE that broke the codes which protect DVD movies

    Already at that time, when Jon Johansen was 15, was he contacted by the firm Simonsen Musæus which asked him to remove the information about DeCSS.

    Last week, MPA's view was supported in an american court of law, so that links to DeCSS had to be removed from several american webpages.

    So far, they are the only ones in the world against whom charges have been filed, after MPA last week had their view confirmed in an american court that all internet-links to DeCSS had to be removed. But he does not regret that he came forward in full view after the news about DeCSS became known.

    "Somebody has to fight this fight", he says and prepares for a long night.

    Johansen has posted his version of the Agency's action on the website

    CNN Norway has written this article with contributions from Verdens Gang.

    The poll asks "Should it be illegal to break the protection codes?" and the three options are (from top to bottom):

    -Yes, that's why the codes are there.

    -No, the movie producers are overprotective

    -Only if it is used for commercial purposes.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Media giant threathens 16 year old computer genious.

    25.january 2000 Published 07:02.

    CNN - Norway -- 16 year old Jon Johansen breaks the code that protects DVDs. Now media giants like Sony, Warner and Disney want to punish the Norwegian. On Monday he was put through seven hours of questioning by the police.

    - We've charged Jon and Per Johansen on behalf of MPA and DVD CCA, lawyer Espen Toendel from Simonsen Museuus confirms to VG [Norwegian newspaper].

    Motion Picture Association (MPA) is the organization that combines the interests of USAs seven largest movie corporations: Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, MGM, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Universal Studio and Warner Bros. DVD CCA controls and protects copyright of DVD-products.

    Jon and his father are charged for violation of Intellectual Property law, and criminal law after the 16 year old participating in an international ring who developed and distributed the DeSCC program that makes it possible to copy DVD movies.

    - The charges are wrong. The code on DVDs is not a copy protection, but a playing protection. We've only made it possible to play DVDs from our computers, Johansen said to VG when he was released from questioning Monday evening.

    On Monday Oekorim [economical crime division] searched the home of elementary school pupil Jon Johansen (16) from Steinsholt in Vestfold.

    Johansen had to hand over his cellular phone, computers, some CDs, and give passwords to the computers.

    DA in Oekokrim, Inger Marie Sunde, confirmed to Aftenposten [yet another Norwegian newspaper] that the courts have given the police the right to search Jon Johansen's home.

    Sunde says that Oekokrim take the type of charges brought against the 16 year old very seriously.

    Johansen became a celebrity in the computer community when it last year became known that he'd been part of the group MoRE that cracked the protection code for DVDs.

    Already then, when Jon Johansen was 15 years old, he was contacted by the firm Simonsen Museuus, which asked him to remove information about DeCSS.

    Last week, MPA got support in american courts, so links to DeCSS had to be removed from several American sites.

    For the moment, they are the only ones in the world being prosecuted after the MPA last week getting a verdict in American court for their demands that all Internet-links to DeCSS had to be removed. But he doesn't regret giving his full name after the DeCSS becoming known.

    - Someone has to take this battle, he grins, and prepare for a long night.

    Johansen has posted his version of Oekokrim's actions on the net site

    CNN Norway has posted this article with contributions from VG.

    -- Eythain (Sorry that this is posted as AC)

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <[imipak] [at] []> on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:33AM (#1338848) Homepage Journal
    First, can Slashdot keep BOTH stories up & running? Even if it seems like duplication. This is a MAJOR issue, and deserves the extra mention.

    Second, the film industry is reneging on it's deal with the DeCSS people. The letter (published on Slashdot) made it clear no action would be taken against people who removed the source code from their site. This is sheer naked hostility, far beyond anything DeCSS could possibly warrant.

    Third, IMHO, this is because of the Californian judge ruling against the trade secret motion by the film industry. I think they wanted blood, and went where they could get some. In short, it's legalised revenge for loosing in court. (I think this is what we should fear the most. It means that they believe themselves outside the law, and will seek revenge for every defeat they suffer in the courts.)

    Lastly, this goes waaaay beyond DeCSS, the potental for piracy, or anything else. This is Corporate Government. Those who fear the "New World Order" of a World-wide government should open their eyes. It's here, but it's not the UN, the EU, or the NSA. It's Microsoft, Hollywood, AOL, and the other multinational giants. THEY are your "New World Order", not some dweeb in a suit who got voted in for that afternoon. By fearing Big Government, people put power into the large multinational, faceless Corporations. And they have become more powerful than any elected Government has ever been. What's more, you can't vote them out. Your representitives can't vote for impeachment. You are powerless. And the amusing thing? This was all possible, because people were scared of a few jelly-bean addicted nuts, stuck in an oval office with nothing to do but make prank calls on the radio.

  • Mine arrived as well.

    Let's see the courts ban an article of clothing.

    Chas - The one, the only.
    THANK GOD!!!
  • DeCSS is not illegal. No one has passed any law which this software breaks. This is just a bunch of unethical, profiteering gluttons flexing their "legal" muscles in an effort to scare him off. If that doesn't work and they actually try to bring him to crominal court, their case will deflate quickly because he hasn't broken the law.
  • This site DeCSS Central [], has some very good information and insight into the DeCSS hoopla.

    Plus some good Linux DVD related links.

  • by redd ( 17486 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:39AM (#1338858)
    This might have been suggested before.

    In the cases where the law can do nothing to help us (perhaps even inhibit us) with our own internet rights, the only action the internet user is capable of generating against corporate bullies is to raise awareness.

    In the same way that we boycot spammers with the RBL and the UDP, a list of websites owned by communities who infringe the rights of net users that could be accessed by all net users could benefit. How many people actually KNOW about Amazon/Etoy/MPAA/etc? Probably the population of slashdot readers. How it should be implemented would have to be described, but if web proxy software could pop up "warning, you are about to enter a website of a known abuser of peoples rights, click here for the reason why", it would certainly gain attention.
  • by browser_war_pow ( 100778 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:40AM (#1338861) Homepage
    Corporations are making more and more progress every year towards becoming more powerful than the governments that were put in place to stop them and other no goodnicks from hurting the people. It is about time that the federal government and the state governments bring the movie and music industries (and possibly closed-source software industry too) to justice for their abuse of individuals' rights. It is time for the people to put the corporations in their place. Individual rights and personal liberty are more important than the success of corporations/governments. I certainly hope that DeCSS will now be used by as many people to pirate as many dvd movies as possible to show the movie industry what happens when they step on people's rights.
  • by theonetruekeebler ( 60888 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:41AM (#1338862) Homepage Journal
    Saturday I got impatient and bought myself a DVD player for my birthday, which is a week from tomorrow. I'm glad I hadn't opened the box yet, because I'm going to return it today after work. I just can't own one of these things with a clear conscience anymore.

    When they ask me for my reason for returning it, I'll simply say, "They threw a Norwegian kid in jail for figuring out how one of these works. I'm not going to subsidize their lawsuits, so I'm boycotting DVDs and DVD players."

    I really, really hate not having a cool toy like a DVD player, but screw it--I despise the behavior of these companies and I will not endorse their behavior by paying them for this technology.

    I wonder what all else I'll have to stop using or buying, and I doubt I can make a difference, but so what? I'm not going to pay these companies to "protect" me from this kid.


  • by arcade ( 16638 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:41AM (#1338863) Homepage
    Eh? You should really read some more history. Norway was INVADED by germany. Norway shot and sunk the german warship "blucher" when it was coming in the Oslo fjord.

    The problem was that norway didn't have very much defence in those days. There were some cannons shooting at boats, and a pretty nifty resistance-movement, but except for that - nothing.

    But - the government never ever supported nazi germany. The government the nazi instantiated of course did - it was lead by Quisling - who was executed after the war ended.

    "Rune Kristian Viken" - - arcade@efnet
  • The Norway Post [] has a (very) short article [] in English.

    The National Authority of Fraud Investigation(ØKOKRIM) yesterday searched the home of a 16-year old student in Vestfold.

    Two personal computers were confiscated.
    Both Jon Johnsen and his father were taken in for questioning last night, after they had been reported to the police by several large US multimedia companies.
    Jon Johnsen became internationally known, after he cracked the code for copying DVD-films just before Christmas.
    Both father and son are charged with violating the copyright laws, and could face up to 2-3 years in jail, according to VG.
    Jon Johnsen was questioned for eight hours, and had to turn in his mobile phone, his pass words and several discettes.
    He claimss that the charges are wrong. -The DVD codes are not copy-protection, but replay-protection, he says, claiming the companies are trying to infringe on his right to fredom of expression.
  • This is getting way out of hand. The next thing we know it's going to be illegal to own a debugger and listen to your friends CDs that you borrow.
  • Here is a link to the Petition for Jon

    Anyone capable of reading Norwegian, (or not) should sign up.
  • The whole CNN story details the awful consequences that await you if you "hack your way through the codes meant to protect the products from downloading" (clueless, ain't it?) It presents NO arguments for the other side, it just describes the might of the recording companies who go for the boy, his father and everybody else in the freaking universe. I'm not normally paranoid, but this story might be a part of the same campaign it describes. Remember what CNN is and who it belongs to. Go figure.
  • Sorry for my sometimes bad english, but here goes:

    - start of article -

    Media giant threatens 16 year old computer genius
    CNN Norway -- 16 year old Jon Johansen cracked the codes that protect the DVD discs. Now, mediagiants like Sony, Warner and Disney wants to punish the norwegian. This Monday he sat 7 hours in police interrigation.

    - We have sued Jon and Per Johansen on behalf of MPA and DVD CCA, confirms Espen Tøndel, a lawyer at the lawfirm Simonsen Musæus.

    Motion Picture Association (MPA) is the assocation
    that preserves the interests of the 7 largest movie companies in the US; Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, MGM, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox. Universal Studios and Warner Bros.

    DVD CCA is the association that controls and protects the copyrights on DVD products.

    Jon and his father is charged with violation of the copyright law, and the "punishment law", since
    the 16 year old has participated in an internation ring that developed and distributed the program DeCSS. The program makes it possible to copy DVD-movies.

    - The charges is wrong. The code on the DVD discs is not a copyprotection, but a playing protection.
    We only made it possible to play DVD movies on our own computers, said Johansen to VG after he was released from the interrogation monday night.

    Økokrim also searched the home of the 16 year old
    school pupil, from Steinsholt in Vestfold.

    Johansen had to give up his cell. phone, computers, CD's and all the passwords on his computers.

    The State Attorney in Økokrim, Inger Marie Sunde,
    confirms to Aftenposten []
    that the interrogation courts has given the police
    it's permission for them to search the home of Jon Johansen.
    Sunde says that Økokrim takes crime like Jon has been charged for, very seriously.

    Johansen became a celebrity in the computer circles when it was learned that last year he had been a member of the group MoRE, that cracked the
    protection codes to the DVD movies.
    Already at that time, when Jon Johansen was 15, he
    was contacted by the firm Simonsen Musæus, who asked him to remove the information regarding DeCSS.

    Last week, the MPA got an approval in an American
    court to remove all links to DeCSS from all American sites.

    They (Jon and his dad) are the only ones in the world that have been charged, since the MPA got an approval from an American court to remove all Internet links to DeCSS. But he doesn't regret that he came out with his full name after the news
    about DeCSS was known.

    - Somebody has to fight this, he says, and prepares for a long night.

    Johansen has posted his version about the Økokrim
    actions on the website []

    CNN Norway has written this article with the help of Verdens Gang.

    - end of article -

    (The top box contains some information about DVD,
    while the second box ask your opinion on this case; Should it be a crime to crack protection codes; (top choice) yes, thats why the codes are there (2nd choice)no, the mediagiants are protecting themselves, (3rd choice) only if it is used commercially.
  • by Hard_Code ( 49548 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:52AM (#1338886)
    I just took a look at the Norweigan the bottom is a link back to the slashdot article: tml

    So apparently we have slashdotting reporters in our ranks ;)

    Anyway, when I follow /their/ link back to the article, as an Anonymous Coward, the posts are all in flat mode at threshold 0. Consequently, of course the first posts I see are Anonymous Cowards posting people's email addresses and web sites and proclaiming that we should all "e-mail bomb" these people. I think that is the last thing we want to present to the public at large. Perhaps you could change the default Anonymous Coward threshhold to something like 2, to avoid presenting ourselves as wackos to the casual reader/public? - the Java Mozilla []
  • by retep ( 108840 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @05:54AM (#1338888)

    Licenses already prohibit releasing benchmarks of the software without written permission by the software manufacture. AOL could cancel the accounts of people who said bad things about AOL if they wanted to.

    If reverse engineering wasn't allowed there would be no PC compatibles. The BIOS of the first non-IBM computers was made by Phoenx. They used the clean-room reverse engineering process.

    The abserd conditions of many software licenses must be *stopped* If this doesn't happen... How could a Linux Office clone read MS Office files? How could we have made MP3 players if the MP3 format was locked up? How could WINE or DosEMU be created?

    It is *not* illegal for a car manufacture to have it's engineers take apart a competitors car. Why should software be any different?

    Non-disclosure agreements for employees are one thing. But shrink-wrap licenses can be basically NDA's for *everyone*

  • by theonetruekeebler ( 60888 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:00AM (#1338897) Homepage Journal
    From a [] article:
    The plaintiffs in the case are Universal City Studios Inc.; Paramount Pictures Corp.; Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.; Tristar Pictures Inc.; Columbia Pictures Industries Inc.; Time Warner Entertainment Co.; Disney Enterprises Inc.; and Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., according to a statement issued last Friday by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).

    Guess I'll have to quit following this on, too, them being a Time-Warner company. Any idea what studio released American Beauty []? I want to go see that before I start boycotting <g>.


  • That's what I've been telling the movie companies. I've wanted to buy DVD for a year, but won't until I can watch on all my screens. Only two of my screens are analog TV, the others are computer monitors and most of those are Linux-only.
  • The California and New York Preliminary injunctions only apply to those who are defendants named in the suits, and who have been served or given notice of the preliminary injunction. THey are the only ones who are required by the court order to remove DeCSS from their web pages. This does not mean that the MPAA or the DVD CCA will not attempt to take action against others who post the code, but there is not currently a court order proventing anyone other than the Defendants in those suits from posting the code. BTW this is not legal advice. If you are considering mirroring or posting the code you should at least consult with a lawyer in your jurisdiction so that you are at lease aware of all of the possible downsides. Dane Torbenson
  • by Millennium ( 2451 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:12AM (#1338917)
    There's something we need to face here. In all probability, DeCSS is dead. The DVD-CCA and MPAA together have so many resources that, unethical as their use may be, they'll win out. They've won this battle.

    But we will win the war. Here's how...

    1) Start a new project, the "CSS Documentation Project" (or CDP for short) This project's stated goal is to document the techniques used by DeCSS for playing DVD's on Linux. Where will it get its information? The DeCSS source, of course. But not just any copy of the DeCSS source. You see, when DVD-CCA filed its nice little lawsuit against DeCSS, it included the DeCSS source in its filing. The court has to release that filing to the public, and did so. That filing, and everything in it, are now in the public domain, if I am not mistaken. What an excellent little loophole to slip through...

    2) Now, this is very important: no actual code can appear in the documentation that the CDP creates. This is just to make sure MPAA and DVD-CCA can't do a damn thing about it.

    3) Using the CDP's documentation, a new piece of software is written. It should probably pay homage to the original DeCSS in some manner or another. The point is, it should fill in the two holes which MPAA exploited:
    1. It was made using publicly available documentation, which itself was made using only publicly available documents. Technically no reverse-engineering took place.
    2. It does not allow the user to copy DVD movies. At least the first version of the software should only be able to play the movies on the fly. Yes, this leaves people with DVD drives and slower machines out in the cold, at least for a while. But it's more important that the software is first established to be totally legal, or at least legal enough that DVD-CCA can rant till it's old and grey but can't do anything else about it.
    3. At least at first, it would probably be best if the original DeCSS authors didn't work on this project. Just as addeed insurance that DVD-CCA can't do anything about it; we have to tread very carefully until the software is established as legal.

    That would be a constructive way of fighting the DVD-CCA. Of course legal funds for the DeCSS author are also good, and should continue to be pursued; he shouldn't have to suffer when he's committed no crime. But we need to work on this as well; a new version of the software that can't be attacked like DeCSS has.

    Now, all we need is a real start for the project. Any vounteers?

  • First they attack people in America using the DMCA and the Trade Secret Act, using the fact that this kind of case hasn't been tried in Norvegian court up to now and with the help of a norvegian law expert, and when they manage to have a restraining order against us they attack the guy back home and they can point out that the American Justice is "supporting them".

    I know that a restraining order is far from being a definite judgement, it just says that it may be illegal and it may harm the CCA so while waiting for the end of the trial you must not redistribute it, BUT the problem is that everybody don't know that and are therefore more easily manipulated into thinking the American law said it was criminal.

    They really are vicious.
  • Here's the link: 0001/25/1505441.html []

    Talks of support being given by the EFF and Linux users worldwide.

  • DVD players output MacroVision... unless of course you're a fidelity nut like myself and have your DVD player modified so that doesn't happen. (i have one of those 'evil' regionless, macro-vision free DVD players... and yet somehow i've still never copied a movie)
  • by heroine ( 1220 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:21AM (#1338925) Homepage
    The kid is definitely too young to be prosecuted in an American court. Unfortunately, I'm too old to get away with these things without prosecution. I'm also no longer under the free legal protection and dependancy status that college students enjoy. Yet I've integrated decryption and decoding in one step.

    DVD playback is only possible if you decrypt and decode in one step. You can't decrypt the entire DVD and play the files off your hard drive because it's too slow. You can't cat the decrypted data through UNIX pipes because this doesn't allow seeking.

    So what I've done is integrated decryption in the DVD decoder but I'm not allowed to distribute it because that would violate the GPL and I'm too old to avoid prosecution. The only way for a person like me to distribute it is as a binary.

    The decryption engine is just one .c file but distributing any of the decoder without that one file violates the GPL. Perhaps we could get a consensus on allowing a binary form of the decoder to be distributed with decryption. The we could agree on distributing the source code of everything but the one .c file.

    In other words. DVD playback is only possible if you build the decryption into the decoder. We can have a tarball containing everything but one decryption file and a binary player which decrypts on the fly but we need to resolve the GPL issue.
  • Hmmm, interesting. Is /. mirrored anywhere? In the previous story regarding the case in California, several slashdot comments were quoted in the "legal brief"; any possibility of /. servers being seized? And please don't say "It can't happen here" because you damn well know it can.
  • I'm sure many of you have noticed that the mainstream media's take on the whole DVDCCA thing is usually not more than a listing of the DVDCCA's complaints. Someone reading this, and not knowing what is really going on, will just think "Oh well, another one of those evil hackers getting what they deserve."
    Everyone reading Slasjdot should write polite letters to the editor(s) of any site carrying this story, and correct them. Get our point of view out there. I've noticed, for example, that Cnet's seems to be more open to this sort of thing than most.
    They need to know this is not about piracy or copying movies. This is about the freedom to find out how a piece of software works.

    But if you do write, please do not flame the editors. That does more harm than not writing at all.

  • A $25 "video clarifier" will take the MacroVision signal right out.
  • Acually, only the named defendents are enjoned, and only the ones in the court's jurisdiction.
  • You will probably find that the US police, or the CIA or someone, contacted the Norwegian Police and asked them to arrest him for the crime, which they did. Depending on Norwegian Extradition treaties with the States, he may or may not be sent on trial. From what I read in the article, he was questioned and then let go again. I assume his equipment is still being held. However, again, I would say that the equipment will remain in Norway. It is just International Diplomacy.

    Something similar happened here in Ireland when a college student sent a death threat to the President of the US. The CIA contanted the Gardai (Irish Police Force) and asked them to arrest and question him. I believe the CIA were in Ireland too in that case. Anyway, once it was explained that it was a joke (very funny!), the charges were dropped.

  • I am, just like most people in the Open Source community, outraged by what happened. There has to be something we can do to help. Jon Johansen & his dad could sure use some. We must show the suits they are NOT above the law just because they have money.

    My question is, what would be the most effective thing to do? We must act quickly or else it will be too late! (and no, ranting on /. does not count).
  • But... on my "Axis & Allies" game board Norway was grey! THAT MAKES THAM NAZEES!!1!

    So are France, and parts of Russia... Does that make them 'Nazees' too ? I'd suggest reading a history book...

  • This is a very important phrase (if our translation is accurate). I only think that any of this (DVDs,MP3s) is a problem when you try and *profit* from the use of protected media. The only time you are violating the agreement is when you do it for cash. I just don't think, given the Internet and all, that we need to have such onerous protections. Cracking down on the *selling* of protected media is fine, but not for stuff like this. A potential sale is to a real sale as my sperm is to my children. (I have no kids).
  • by QuMa ( 19440 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:37AM (#1338945)
    You mean macrovision? Basicly. you just put in a $10 filter, and your good to go.
  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:40AM (#1338947) Homepage Journal

    I find it interesting that the same companies who region code discs and do their best to prevent consumers from buying product in low cost markets rather than in high cost local markets are the same ones who get very upset about any talk of 'region coding' employment so that they can't have products produced where labor is cheap to sell where products are expensive. Fair is fair!

  • Enough is enough!

    It's time that those of us interested in freedom pool our resources and purchase an island somewhere in international waters. It's sole purpose would be to provide an extranational haven for information such as this which is acquired legally, but still prosecuted in this manner.

    The only thing resembling a police force on the island would be that which is there to prevent other countries from agressing against us and attempting to confiscate our physical posessions and/or data. No cooperation with any other country on prosecution of someone placing data on the servers would be allowed by it's charter.

    There is a great need for a physical space which is truly out of the reach of over-reaching, intrusive and confiscatory corporations and nations.

    Come on folks, let's put our resources to work. I have read posts in this forum from what seem to be some of the most educated and intelligent individuals with which it is my pleasure to read and associate. In addition to our techie orientation, we come from all walks of life and backgrounds. I have seen people post who are lawyers, nuclear physicists, and doctors. Even with those who are not in these occupations, we are the cream of the crop, we are, collectively, a highly intelligent entity. And we have a tendency to be in the upper scale of income.

    Let's put that intelligence, creativity and dollars to work to protect our freedom. Churches function on the premise that the members donate/tithe for the common good. The entire free software movement is based on contributing to the whole. And some of us have even had massive windfalls recently through the major IPO's. Not me, of course, but I am still willing to contribute time, what dollars I can, etc. to insuring that my freedom remains. Many of our predecessors have fought physically and died for this, we can throw a little money at it.

    How about it ESR? :) You said in your story after the IPO that you had most of what you needed, how about contributing a small Carribean island in international waters to protect the Bazaar?

    And while Eric (or any other individual) may choose to make a significant contribution of this type, all of us must make a effort to protect what we hold dear. I realize this is a massive concept and project, but we are a powerful force. If we feel impotent to affect the outcome of these legalistic events, how about we behave like the net we love and 'route around the damage' by creating a physical place free from that damage.

    Whattya think folks? Good idea, or am I just talking through my hat?

  • I just ordered two. One for a certain Washington Post reporter that wrote about this case. I figure if he's that interested in the First Amendment, he should be interested in EVERYBODY'S First Amendment. Not just the newspaper's freedom to report whatever they want us to think today. HerrGlock
  • by Carl ( 12719 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:44AM (#1338955) Homepage
    If you ever read the Masters of Reverse Engineering text file about The Truth about DVD CSS cracking by MoRE and [dEZZY/DoD] that came with DeCSS and that can be found on: []

    You can read the following very interesting statement:

    Lately, Jon Johansen of MoRE has been pretty much all over the news in Norway, though he had NOTHING to do with the actual cracking of the DVD CSS protection. Yes, it was MoRE who did DeCSS, but the actual crack was not a team effort, MoRE didn't even exist back when the anonymous German (who is now a MoRE member) cracked it...
  • If today's suit of monopoly protection laws and licenses had been operational twenty years ago, Compaq's engineers would have been jailed for reverse engineering the IBM PC bios. Suddenly software could be run - and yes, copied - on non-IBM-made computer systems. Did the markets collapse? Were consumers hurt? No way. This was the beginning of the cutthroat competition in the computer hardware sector that brought down prices at the same time as improving on every quantitative measure. Such were the halcyon days of the legacy market-democratic system that has now been replaced by the plutocracy of monopolistic companies and trusts.
  • I've seen lotsa comments saying they can't kill it as long as the code is out, but I'm afraid that might not be true. The real problem (i think) is that they will go after the developers. I don't know how livid is on the people at the moment, but if they need someone with a little coding experiencee and no dvd drive, I'd love to help. But if you've got a dvd drive and more coding experience, you'd probably be more usefull. Even if they don't need people, develope some on your own, and distribute the changes!
  • DeCSS code remains under the licence that the code was originally released on. Just because the code was included in a public document does not make the code "public".

    Code generated by reverse engineering is (legally) safer than code that is generated by looking at existing source codes. Code written while looking at existing code still falls under copyright. If it didn't, then the need to reverse engineer the IBMPC BIOS wouldn't have existed; Compaq could simply have implemented the code AS PUBLISHED by IBM (which IBM was required to do by their consent decree with DOJ).

    If I remember right, DeCSS is released under GPL. If it is, then publishing the sources as part of the case documents still falls under the GPL's legalize; nothing in DeCSS has changed because the sources were published in a legal document. We can (and should) continue to distribute the code as much as we can, and get the MPAA to realize "the cats out of the bag and you can't stop it"; or at least get the courts to realize that. DeCSS was written legally, was distributed legally.

    If it isn't "OpenSource", then writing a new CSS system by "looking at the DeCSS" code will still fall under copyright of DeCSS (NOT copyright of DVD/MPAA, which is what the MPAA claims).

    At any rate, we need to fight this court case (as a community) for something far more important: corporations, like goverments, want any "threat" of misuse blocked as soon as they can. They want a "potential weapon" blocked, even for legal usage, merely because "illegal usage" is possible with the tool. The government keeps trying this with guns and encryption, corporations have now taken this tactic with MP3 and now DeCSS.

    A tool that "may make illegal activity possible" should NEVER be made illegal in and of itself. The act of misuse is ALREADY illegal. Enforce that, but leave the rest of us to use the tool in a legal manner. And we need (in America) a BIG court case (yes, it'll have to hit the Supreme Court) to get this legal decision rectified once and for all.

    The MPAA is hitting "the source" in Norway as a way to try to set a legal precident that the American courts may take into effect in the ISP case here in NY.

    Now i'm going to enjoy my snow day...

  • by sethg ( 15187 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @06:50AM (#1338965) Homepage
    Judging from the legal papers I've seen regarding this case, the strongest arguments on both sides of this case depend on one question:
    Did the person who reverse-engineered CSS violate a legally binding license?
    If Johansen is convicted of violating the Xing license, then the DVD CCA has a very strong trade-secret-violation case against anyone with DeCSS. On the other hand, if Johansen is acquitted, the EFF can argue that everyone with DeCSS got it legitimately, so the DVD CCA is SOL.

    So, my questions for those who know more about the relevent laws:

    1. If Johansen is acquitted, what "backup arguments" can the DVD CCA and the MPAA use to win their case?
    2. If Johansen is convicted, what would be the strongest arguments remaining on the defendants' side?

    "But, Mulder, the new millennium doesn't begin until January 2001."
  • by Carl ( 12719 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @07:09AM (#1338981) Homepage
    This as almost what the LiViD [] people did.

    Frank Stevenson wrote a Cryptanalysis of the Content Scrambling System which can be found on: []

    It might be a good idea to mirror his paper also for such a documentation project. (It seems to be far more important then the actual DeCSS source.)

  • As I mentioned in a thread below, I'm boycotting all big media -CDs, movies, DVDs, all of it, as long as this nonsense continues. I spend literally thousands of dollars a year on entertainment products, but not one more penny of my money is going to support these actions. I've had it. This is completely unacceptable. I understand fear of the future, but change or die people.

    Harry Caul
  • Can you imagine the commercial viability of an independent data haven site? There's some serious problems in setting the whole thing up, like getting recongnition of other countries, getting power from sufficient numbers of sources such that no one coalition could shut us out (buy from US, Mexico, Canada and Cuba, perchance??)

    But wow. Imagine the possibilities of servers hosted there, with some powerful ssh/ssl interfaces, a few anonymous remailers and liberal use of Zero-Knowledge's Freedom or similar products and some hard-drive wipers (PGP has one, IIRC, as does SynCrypt).

    It could charge an arm and a leg for commercial hosting, and provide a few dedicated servers for free use for open-source projects--especially those that don't fall under the 'retail' or 'fully-open-source' categories in the new US crypto-export regs.

    We could even tap Neal Stephenson and Bruce Sterling and Gibson for venture capital, as they've all mentioned the idea at one time or the other. Or maybe they'd like to buy homes there...
  • Maybe I'm just not awake yet, but I'm having a hard time figuring out what ease of acquisition should have to do with whether or not something is illegal.

    Should a crime be less punishable simply because it requires more effort to prepare to commit it?

    Or are you just advocating background checks and a 5-day waiting period for software downloads?

  • Government should be the 'whore of the people' We created it so that it may serve us. Let the SIGs, multinationals and foreign powers bugger off. They have no place in government.
  • I agree with most people here, about the movie industry going too far. I don't believe DeCSS had anything to do with piracy, or with theft. So please don't flame me for that.

    Still I must disagree with you on principles. The legal system is exacly for what is presented here: theft of property. If someone steals anything from you, they should be prosecuted. It makes no difference at all if that property was locked thightly, or wasn't protected at all. You shouldn't take anything that isn't yours.

    Something else is happening here (and it up to the judges to convince them of that). Nothing was stolen here. What happend was that people had a right to use something that was locked away, and they found an alternative way to open that lock.

    Let's please review the facts, and not get carried away here.

  • GPL doesn't prevent you from having same code under another license. Contact the author, get a permission on usage of this code without GPL restrictions, and go ahead. I don't see why the author won't give you a non-GPL license.
  • by acarlisle ( 96757 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @07:45AM (#1339008)
    How about leaving the threshold at 0, but having it sorted with ``Highest scores first''? That way, all (non-troll) voices are heard, but moderation does have influence.
  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @07:48AM (#1339009)
    In addition to the many other positive approaches I have read here, I propose that we begin making changes in habit that will eviscerate the pocketbooks of the DVD Forum's members.

    I suggest a renaissance of Fireside chats, book readings over beer and pizza, out loud with friends or family, and evenings out at the theater, comedy club, or ameteur venues. If we eliminate television and movies from our lives and replace them with alternative forms of entertainment instead, the DVD Forum will lose allot of money. I suggest doing this as part of a political movement to fight what the DVD Forum members are doing. We may not win back our government from Corporate Earth, but we can punish them for what they have done and take back a third of our lives from their clutches. If you MUST watch movies, limit yourself to independent studios not a part of the MPAA or the DVD Forum, though I believe elimitating the entire entertainment genre from our lives would do much more to scare these corporations than a simple boycott of their particular brand-name would, as it would represent a fundamental shift in our behavior that even and end to their activities might not stop.

    I am not suggesting we make a major sacrifice, removing entertainment from the leisure portion of our lives, but rather substitute one form of benign entertainment for a malignant one, and to do so in a social context that encourages others to do the same.

    Throw a party for friends, in which you tell each other stories or read a book aloud together over, beer, wine, or whatever poison is your choice, and let your friends know exactly why you are doing this. Encourage your friends and family to do the same. If your TV, satelite, or cable hardware supports it, turn off the ability to select channes owned by Time Warner et al. If you feel strongly enough, unplug your TV, or better yet, sell it on ebay. Use the printed media or net exlusively for your news and, if you simply can't live without it, "media" entertainment.

    It isn't as important that the DVD Forum members or MPAA know why you are doing this as it is that your family and friends be well informed as to why you are doing this. I am basically proposing a grass roots movement we as individuals take part in, designed to remove the MPAA and DVD Forum from our social and ecominic lives, as a way of both freeing ourselves and punishing those that perpetrated this evil.

    I say this as someone who owns thousands of dollars in Laserdisk and hundreds of dollars in DVDs that I, regrettably, bought before discovering how malignant the DVD Forum is.

    I encourage others to brainstorm and post other novel, positive ways we can take back control of our own lives from these jerks and hit them in the pocketbook at the same time. We are smarter than these people. Rather than reacting emotionally and throwing stones, let's react intelligently and put them out of business.
  • Somebody please tell me where I can send money to help defend this kid. When I was 14 years old, I umm, well, got bullied around a bit by a corporation that I had perhaps obtained access to some of their computers. That was scary as hell (convinced me to stick to entirely legitimate operations).

    But that's kinda outside the point. The real point here is that we want to stand up for this guy's right to reverse engineer DeCSS. There are dozens of posts here emphasizing how incredibly important this case could be. Well the industry and life have blessed me with some cash that I would love to put to good use defending this kid. I realize that joining the EFF here in America is a great way to support the fight against the MPAA and to press our rights to use DVD technology on the operating system of our choice and our right to understand and reverse engineer technology that we buy and use every day.

    My point is, does anybody have an address I can send a US dollar denominated check to to support this case in Norway?

  • So, are you saying we should censor their legitimate activity?

    It's a dangerous road to travel, where we claim to fight for freedom, but we become censors.

    Who determines who the bullies are? I agree that MPAA should be slapped around for their actions. But then the other side will say,

    "Where did these hackers get the right to invade someone else's intellectual property in the name of open source?"
    Or in my case with Mattel [] people have said,
    " Grow up! It's time for you to move on with your life!

    They may have been irrosponsible, but frankly you started it.

    We have to educate some of these people and companies that they can't do the this to people. We can't lower ourselfs to these levels.

    What we have to do to the companies that use these tactics:

    • Educate them
    • Tell them out opinions
    • Tell others, not just geeks, about this. Darkness can't exist in the light of truth.
    • Educate them to the fact that we won't stand for this
    • Fight this legally. When a company abuses process like this, turn around and file suit for this abuse. A few large award against companies like this, will discourage others bullies.
  • >And the difference between "arrest" and >"imprisonment" being..? Jon is walking around >freely today, afaik.
    >He's not locked up - he's not arrested :)

    He wasn't compensated for the full day spent being "interrogated."

    If there was ever a moment when Jon was not free to go home if he wanted to, he was arrested.

    Depending on his answers to the questions during the interrogation, he may be in worse trouble than ever before.

    The correct way to handle "seven hours of police interrogation" is by providing "seven hours of complete silence." You never make it worth their while to give you a custodial investigation.
    If you do, they'll be only too happy to lock you up and interrogate you again. And anything you say will be quoted out of context and used against you.

    Well, if nothing else comes from this case, at least Norway is off the list of places from which people can post "move to a free country you ugly americans" messages.
  • Well its pretty clear that the government and the press are swallowing the megacorps' allegations hook line and sinker, while having little consideration for our side. I do think its a shame we don't hear more from RedHat or VA on this issue.

    The everyday commonman is only hearing one side of the story. He should hear both. I think it's time for another web blackout [] to draw attention to this corporatism run amok.
  • by SurfsUp ( 11523 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @08:21AM (#1339041)
    As has been pointed out many times, one of the big arguments in the lawsuits, and perhaps the criminal investigation as well, is whether the reverse engineering was done legally. Let's kill that argument by having a second version done according to the well-know cleanroom reverse engineering techniques that worked so well for Phoenix when they cloned the IBM PC rom. It has to be unarguably legal reverse engineering, done strictly for the purpose of cross-platform support. We not only have to have the moral high ground, but be seen to have it. Do the work, and keep records of how it was done.

    Will this help the current cases? No - those cases still have to be fought hard, and maybe somebody will have to beat a strategic retreat. But it will help prevent us from losing the war.
  • Again a young person with real skills is persecuted for his application of knowledge. He did not steal, cheat or harm anyone. Okay so he hacked. But it was the kind of hacking we should promote not stomp into the dirt of ignorance. Taking clocks apart to see what makes them tick. Building cool things out of legos. This is where it all starts. Where would the world be without people like this? What if Isaac Newton hadn't discovered gravity where would we all be?? I'll tell ya...probably on the moon or just floating around (on the plus side we could jump really high). This boy obviously has a decent understanding of the processes involved, give him a job. You shouldn't prosecute him for non-malicous code that he's already written. Ridiculous.
  • That doesn't change anything. Regardless, we're getting the source from a public document, authored by DVD-CCA.

    The code is GPL'd. Therefore, to comply with the GPL, the document must also be distributable under the terms of the GPL. I believe that's what the Open-Content License is for.

    So it's still possible. I didn't choode my words very well when I talked about the public-domain bit. But the idea still works.
  • That doesn't change anything. Regardless, we're getting the source from a public document, authored by DVD-CCA.

    The code is GPL'd. Therefore, to comply with the GPL, the document must also be distributable under the terms of the GPL. I believe that's what the Open-Content License is for.

    So it's still possible. I didn't choose my words very well when I talked about the public-domain bit. But the idea still works.
  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @08:48AM (#1339055)
    I believe that this is a decission by the state attorney (Ms Inger Marie Sunde) that a crime might have been committed.

    If Inger Sunde isthe person who made the decision to attack us like this, then we need to crucify her. Many attorney's in the US are elected (or at appointed directly by elected officials) so they are sensitive to public opinion. If you live in Norway you should probable be calling Ms. Sunde office to complain and explain the truth.

    Also, it is worth pointing out that it is in Norway's interest that people can use systems like Linux since Norway should not want to be too dependant on US software (i.e. Microsoft). Hell, if I was a citizen I would be calling her a traitor unless she drops the case. I wonder how useful this "anti-Linux == treason" meme would be in the non-US world.. it might win us some support from some segments of the populatin which really don't know anyhting about computers.

    We should make a point to remember public officials like this who make anti-Linux/OSS policies. If she sticks to this decision I would be willing to chip in some money to run commercials explaining why she is a traitor to her country on Norway's TV at election time.

    I would love to see somoene who knows about the politics of this sort of thing in Norway explain the bezt course of action for communicating our message.. forcefully.


    BTW> Generally, we should be tring harder to apply our zelotness and looking for people like this to crusify. It might help the movement quite a bit to kill the career of an anti-Linux, anti-OSS, or anti-reverse engenering government official or two.. as other government officials will sit up and take notice.
  • by Azog ( 20907 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @09:03AM (#1339059) Homepage
    I've been suggesting this repeatedly over the last two days in several of these stories.

    The idea of an island outside of any country is interesting, but I doubt you could find an island to purchase that isn't part of a country. Otherwise, who would you buy it from?

    A more realistic option is to find a country with really good laws and decent internet connectivity (not just one or two links to the outside world).

    The main criteria is that it should be impossible for big companies to get it shut down through injunctions, threats, revenge lawsuits, etc.

    Uses for a data haven:
    - CVS hosting for open source cryptography software
    - CVS hosting for reverse engineered software
    - Anonymous remailer
    - Encrypted mailing lists, irc chat(?) and other useful communication methods
    - $cientology stuff
    - the list goes on and on

    The big question:
    What country has good laws for setting up a data haven?

    Other questions:
    - Is there something stupid about this idea that I don't realize?
    - Does something like this exist already?
    - If so, can I support it?
    - What would it take to start one?

    Some suggestions from previous responses:
    - from slashdot user "Nimmy": Forget an untouchable country, instead build distributed data havens. Nimmy is starting a project for this.
    - from slashdot user "ralphclark": These already exist as warez sites. Just use the warez sites techniques.

    I appreciate both of these responses. But they don't really achieve what I would like to see: a well known url and site that people can proudly point to and say "See that! All that freedom enhancing, privacy protecting code, right there in the open for everyone to easily find, use and contribute to."

    Torrey Hoffman (Azog)
  • Here [] is an excellent explanation of what Macrovision is and why it works the way it does.
  • "It sounds like you are saying that the MPAA is choosing option number 2, but it's not!. It would seem to me that the CSS system is an attempt to put good locks on the doors and windows."

    The CSS system is a form of crytography, the level of which doesn't even rate as 'week'. I was in no way attempting to suggest that it is ok to crack something that was protected.

    What I was attempting to say however that if you have something valuable and don't protect it very well you can more expect it to be stolen, wrong it may be but badly protected valuables get stolen.

    You have to remember here that the MPAA is quoting potential loss figures that dwarf the insurance value of the English Crown Jewels, the Crown Jewls are stord in huge vault below ground inside a fort. The Css system was protected with a system in crytography terms equivlenet to a spring catch on a balsa wood door.

    The core of my argument (on this point) is that expecting the tax-payer to pick up a large chunk of the bill for damage-control on secret a secret that was not very well protected is not entirely fair. Yes it's wrong to steal secrets but I would like the law changed to say:

    If you want the taxpayer funded courts to help defend you secrets you need to provide adacuate protection for them yourselves.

  • Yes, I realize it was Quisling's alliance. The real problem is when he took over, the adminstration, police, etc, just obeyed his orders.

    Under threat. A lot of teachers said "No way" to teaching nazi ideology. They was put in prison.

    The same goes for all other parts of "administration/police" and so forth. When you've got the choice between rotting in jail and unwilling cooperation - you choose the later.

    Even when it came to things that violated human rights.

    Yes, we're ashamed of the way we threated the jews. Packed them together and got them sent away. It was not good. Except for that? Well, I dunno

    You should also know - that at least where I come for - Kvinesdal - we had something kalled "Knaben Gruver" -- that is "The mines of Knaben" or something in english. They dug for molybdenium(?) there. The germans used PoW's and so forth to dig it out. Well, what happened? Well, the english / allied just .. bombed .. the place. Lots of norwegians, russians and other POWs were killed.

    That made very many norwegians (the place in norway i am from) hate the damn english pilots - at that time.

    "Rune Kristian Viken" - - arcade@efnet
  • You have some very interesting ideas. We need to do things to push these sorts of ideas on the general public. I guess you could write a manifesto and get it posted all over the internet.

    I encourage others to brainstorm and post other novel, positive ways we can take back control of our own lives from these jerks and hit them in the pocketbook at the same time. We are smarter than these people. Rather than reacting emotionally and throwing stones, let's react intelligently and put them out of business.

    First, it would be nice if someone would post ways to contribute to the guy's legal defence (this post [] asked before me).

    Second, we need the support of the general population, so we may need emotional campaigns. Specifically, we should politically attack the government officials who do this kind of shit. It could be really useful to the community to kill the carear of an anti-Linux / anti-fair use politician or two (I discuss this further in my other post [])

    It is worth mentioning that non-US countries should not want to be dependent on a US company (Microsoft) so "anti-Linux == treason" is a useful meme which the general population can understand. I think the community should take what happens in the rest of the world very seriously.. to the point of remembering anti-Linux politicians (like Ms Inger Marie Sunde (state attorney in Norway) and donating money to see them removed from office. We could run a web site which lists the anti-Linux politicians who are currently running for office and allows people to contribute to campaigns opposing them. People could contribute small amounts of money, but it would be scary to politicians since it draws money from all over the world.

  • An earlier DVD CSS discussion contained several comments that there already are DVD data extraction programs for MS-Windows. The existing licensed DVD drivers for MS are already being used to get the video data. DeCSS is not needed if one wants to extract the video data. DeCSS is only needed by Linux users who want to be able to buy DVDs.
  • He was charged in Norway because the Norwegian authorities investigated when a Norwegian law firm reported him to the police.

    Norwegian law firm Simonsen & Musaeus said it had reported Johansen and his father [] to the police on behalf of the Motion Picture Association (MBA), a lobby group for seven major Hollywood studios.

    Here's an old Livi d-dev article [] from Johansen which mentions that law firm.

  • What he meant was the viewing threshhold, not the posting threshhold. In other words, if you're not logged in, your posts stay rated at 0, as usual. But you only see comments with a score of 2 or higher by default. Of course, you can easily change that viewing threshhold with the control gadgets at the top of each /. page, just as before.

    That way, journalists and other non-Slashdot regulars will see the good stuff before they see the crud.
    The real meaning of the GNU GPL:

  • What I was attempting to say however that if you have something valuable and don't protect it very well you can more expect it to be stolen, wrong it may be but badly protected valuables get stolen.

    This is true, yet even if I leave valuables in public view and they are stolen, does the thief not get prosecuted at the public expense? As far as I am aware this happens all the time to shoplifters etc.

    The argument that the "tax-payer" shouldn't be paying for large companies legal expenses in this case is a totally separate one from the (IMHO) main argument: Jon is publishing information about how to do it. It's like being prosecuted for having a web-site that details how to shop-lift.

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @11:15AM (#1339101)
    Let's not forget who owns the vast majority of the media outlets, including two of the three major American networks. Yup, member conglomerates of the MPAA and DVD Forum. It is possible, even likely, that the same is true of most of the media in Europe as well.

    Don't expect to get the whole truth on this from traditional media -- their hands and minds are hardly free of ill intent. In fact, don't expect to even get a reasonable portion of the truth from those sources.
  • by BinxBolling ( 121740 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @11:29AM (#1339106)
    This is no longer about Jon Johansen, or the cracking of DeCSS, this is about Abuse of privilege.

    Indeed. Here, as I see it, is why they're after Johansen:

    The CSS licensing is not about money, it's about control. (In fact, as I understand it, the licenses are free.) As long as one has to sign a contract with the DVD CCA to get the information needed to build a DVD drive that handles CSS-protected discs, the DVD CCA has some degree of control over DVD drive manufacturers. I'm sure that the licensing contract prevents manufacturers from selling consumer-priced unrestricted hardware (i.e. drives that happily ignore region coding and can do bit-for-bit writes). Currently, all such drives are well out of the price range of the casual consumer (though not the serious, professional pirate).

    But now, thanks to DeCSS, all the information needed to build a DVD drive is out in the open. Anyone who wants to can put together an unrestricted drive and sell it for $200, if that price point is profitable for them.

    The DVD CCA faced a tough choice when it came to CSS. They had to choose whether to patent the system (assuming this was possible - probably, giving the current state of patents), or keep it a trade secret. Both choices have advantages and disadvantages:

    • Patent:In this case, they can prevent anyone from building cheap unrestricted players, because the patent gives them control over the system's use. However, the information needed to decrypt CSS is now out in the open, and anyone who wants to write a DeCSS-like software utility in order to pirate DVDs (to some other media) can do so quite easily - they just can't release it publicly, or must do so anonymously.
    • Trade Secret:At first, they still have control over who builds drives. And writing DeCSS is harder, because it requires reverse engineering. However, if/when the system is reverse engineered and the information becomes public, they lose all control - now anyone who wants to can legally build an unrestricted player and sell it for $200.

    The CCA chose the second option, and it has backfired on them. Now they're trying to save themselves via the court system. This is why the reverse engineering issue is probably far more important to them than the DMCA issue. If they succeed in nailing Johansen, they'll probably have frightened off anyone who was thinking of reverse-engineering the system themselves (or using the DeCSS-derived information now on the web) in order to build a player.

    Note that if this happens, the CCA will have effectively aquired the same rights as if they'd patented the system - but without ever formally disclosing how the system works, as a patent would normally require. So this case could set a rather dangerous precedent: The whole point of patents is to enhance technological development, by encouraging disclosure. And the carrot used to encourage disclosure is a government-guaranteed monopoly for a limited period of time. Putting reverse engineering on legally shaky ground means that companies have a better chance of keeping a monopoly on a technology that has trade secret status.

    Right now, when companies are deciding whether or not to patent something, they have to ask themselves the question: "How long before someone will be able to re-create this technology without spying on us?" If the answer is over a certain threshold, it's probably better to keep it a trade secret. If reverse engineering becomes de-facto illegal, then the question becomes "How long before someone will be able to re-create this technology without spying on us or reverse-engineering our product?" Obviously, the answer to the second question will often be greater (and never less) than the answer to the first, and thus is more likely to be over the magic threshold where patenting becomes a bad idea.

    And when you consider that the question isn't really whether or not someone resorted to spying (or reverse engineering), but rather whether or not you can convince a court of this, it's even worse - making a case for reverse engineering is probably a good bit easier, if the judge doesn't understand technology well enough to understand what reverse engineering is all about. So we may even see companies trying to convince judges that a competitor illegally reverse-engineered their product when in fact no such thing took place.

    Finally, it should also be noted that while this may prevent companies from going for some patents, it won't prevent them from going after most stupid ones, like the Amazon one-click, because the ability to legally reverse engineer doesn't do much to help you figure out most such 'technologies', anyways.

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @11:36AM (#1339110)
    A boycott is certainly in order. [...] It should also have a defined starting date -- how about Feb. 10, 2000?

    If you are going to stop consuming the RIAA, MPAA and DVD Forum's products, start TODAY. A delayed boycott is no boycott at all.

    Why do you want to wait? Is there a particular movie you want to see first? What makes you think there won't be another one just as appealing in three weeks?

    If a complete boycott is too draconian for you, scale down your efforts. For example, limit your TV viewing to a couple of hours a week or less if zero is too difficult. Rent instead of buying or attending the cinema, if not watching movies at all is too difficult. It is far better for you to significantly reduce the flow of cash from your pocket to the RIAA, MPAA and DVD Forum immediately, than to put off a complete boycott until a later date, only to have it slip away altogether. A complete boycott is of course preferable, but every little bit helps and it is far better to do something limited in scope that still has some impact rather than nothing at all. Too often we end up thinking such things are an all or nothing thing, which doesn't have to be the case. Ten million people cutting their TV and movie consumption by 50% can have more of an impact that fifty thousand eliminating it altogether. The two together, plus others elsewhere on the spectrum, combine to be a mighty economic force indeed. Even if I stand alone, the cost to these jerks over the next year can be measured in thousands of US dollars, and from all appearances here and elsewhere, I hardly stand alone.

    As I noted in another post, I will be removing the MPAA and DVD Forum from my life altogether, and using the time and money I would have spent consuming their products on alternative forms of entertainment instead. Remember, giving up movies and/or television doesn't have to mean that you are suddenly bored with nothing to do ...
  • a scene that included headbutting - something they consider to be 'imitatable behaviour'

    Wait, headbutting is imitatable behavior, but shooting about 100 people and kicking their asses in every way imaginable isn't?

  • It seems to me that the DVD CCA will use Johansen's arrest as evidence that what he did was illegal under Norwegian law. It is unlikely that his case will ever come to trial, where there is a chance he could be acquitted.
  • Really? How does that work? I can't do that with my Panasonic DVD and my Hitachi VCR. When I got my DVD, I just wanted to hook it up by daisy-chaining it through the VCR but the signal gets all scrambled if the VCR power happens to be on. I ended up finally finding a use for that s-video terminal on my TV by buying a cable and hooking up the DVD there. Screwed up my setup though because I used to have a splitter to bring the cable direct into the ant. on the TV, send the other to the cable box and VCR that then went into video so I could tape the Soprano's off HBO and watch X-files at the same time.

    (sorry, long off-topic post, please moderate it down)
  • by Weezul ( 52464 ) on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @12:32PM (#1339125)
    First, here [] is teh correct link to the old LiViD article.

    Norwegian law firm Simonsen & Musaeus said it had reported Johansen and his father to the police on behalf of the Motion Picture Association (MBA)

    We should make this Law firm pay for using these tactics! We must contact there customers and complain about Simonsen & Musaeus's [] actions (you can mail them at [mailto] to tell them you are contacting there customers; they have a list of partners with email addresses here []). I will be tring to identify their customers and posting links so ypou can all email them, but please look yourself if you know more about how to find their customers.

    Ok, I guess I should start with some information. Here is a list of the firms partners if you want to send them mail discussing there abuse of the legal system:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

    I suppose one thing we could do is send convincing letters to these people regarding the dispicable legal tactics of their company.


    BTW> There are other people involved in this who we should take action against too (discussed here []).
  • by Anonymous Coward
    This CNN article gets the facts correct.
    CNN link []

    I don't know how they
    can get away with it. As the report says,
    they are owned by Warner.

    (CNN) -- Police on Monday
    raided the home of Jon
    Johansen, the Norwegian
    programmer who
    reverse-engineered the DVD
    Content Scrambling System
    (CSS) to allow DVD playback
    on computers running the
    Linux operating system.

  • hmmm..... maybe that's what Gold and Appel
    are really up to. Anderson and Celine are
    just floating the "resort" idea to confuse
    the rubes.

    You'd have to buy it from the russians outright
    to remove their sovreignity but think about it.
    Satellite access to anyone that points a dish
    at it - no lines to cut.

  • I hope somebody knowledgeable reads this before we have 2000 comments, because I'd really like to know the answer.

    What law is this guy accused of violating?

    If he was selling pirated copies of Windows 98, then I would be satisfied by vague justifications like "violation of copyright." But this is not a straightforward case. I know that in the U.S., the DMCA [] explicitly makes it illegal to "crack" copy protection (under some circumstances), but that law was only passed recently, and I'm not aware of any corresponding laws outside the U.S. So what's the deal?
  • by David Gould ( 4938 ) <> on Tuesday January 25, 2000 @02:19PM (#1339157) Homepage

    Heh, they should add:

    D. No, that's why the codes are there.

    That's exactly the right answer. Copy protection mechanisms have (or should have) no legal status whatsoever, since they simply serve to make the act of copying more difficult. Bootlegging (remember, don't call it "piracy" []) the content, i.e., violating the copyright by making and distributing unauthorized copies, is already illegal. The act of copying is not necessarily equivalent to bootlegging, because it can be done for legitimate reasons, such as a backup copy under "fair use", and the mere act of breaking the codes is certainly not even equivalent to that, since legitimate reasons include a desire for a DVD player under Linux, or simply a geek's "because it's there" response to an interesting challenge.

    Having the ability to commit a crime is not the same as actually committing it. Copy protection mechanisms are an attempt by the content providers to prevent people from having the ability to copy content, and breaking the codes is a way to regain that ability, which is not illegal -- only using it is, and even that only if the use violates the copyright. Punishing someone for "having the ability to copy DVDs" simply because he has broken the code, regardless of whether or not he has actually copied any DVDs, would be like punishing someone for "having the ability to commit murder" simply because he owns a gun (or any deadly weapon, such as a kitchen knife, baseball bat, or even his bare hands), regardless of whether or not anyone has actually been killed.

    David Gould
  • by Anonymous Coward
    CNN story []

    Why was my last post about this rejected ? Was it a mistake, or am I censored ?

    In this CNN story, they get the facts correct. The only mainstream news story I've seen that gets it correct.

    John Lapeyre

  • Moderate this up please..

    Here is the address of the English Version of the Letter. []

  • It is legal to crack any encryption
    If only that were true. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act [] of 1998 specifically makes it illegal to
    circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title.
    (Sorry, I don't know how to properly cite law, but you can find the text at the link above.)

    This is what the MPAA's case is based on. Before the DMCA, DeCSS would have been completely legal. It may still be, but the case is a lot tougher now.

A hacker does for love what others would not do for money.