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The Courts Government Privacy News Technology

DVD-Jon Completely Clear 298

A reader writes: "The case against DVD-Jon was finally ended today. DVD-Jon won the first trial on the 6th of January 2003. The Norwegian Okokrim appealed but Jon also won the new trial the 22. December. It was expected that Okokrim would appeal this decission to the Supreme Court, but today Nettavisen is reporting that Okokrim have decided not to pursue the case further. No news in English yet, but they will probably be there soon. I guess the news will be on in English soon." Okokrim is the Norwegian equivalent to the RIAA here in the States - and yes, Virginia, this means DVD back-up is fully legal in Norway. Spelling updates - thanks, Disillusioned.
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DVD-Jon Completely Clear

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  • Okokrim is The Norwegian National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime. More information here [okokrim.no].
    • by arth1 ( 260657 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:11AM (#7880497) Homepage Journal
      Indeed, Okokrim is a branch of the Norwegian police. It's a typical Economic Crime Unit, which unfortunately has been burdened with also investigating computer crime, possibly because some clueless politician thought that both had to do with numbers. Unlike the US counterparts, the Norwegian Okokrim suffers from low-to non-existant computer skills, equipment and insight, and rely heavily on using consultants. Which usually are no better than the police boss that picks the consultants.

      What the heck does RIAA have to do with this? Copying of DVD-A music?

      --
      *Art
      • by Daniel Dvorkin ( 106857 ) * on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:41AM (#7880693) Homepage Journal
        Unlike the US counterparts, the Norwegian Okokrim suffers from low-to non-existant computer skills, equipment and insight, and rely heavily on using consultants. Which usually are no better than the police boss that picks the consultants.

        Don't assume this is "unlike the US" at all. The level of ignorance, Luddism, and outright hysteria on the part of the US legal system toward any kind of high-tech problem is really shocking. I don't think that I'm exaggerating when I say that most of what most cops, prosecutors, and politicians know about what what might broadly be called "computer crime" comes from watching War Games nigh on twenty years ago and thinking it was a documentary.
        • I got in a tiff a few days back with a couple of people for "suggesting" that maybe the spam problem could be solved via vigilante means since the law isn't interested in helping and technology hasn't worked to date. That set me thinking about the mass hysteria that grips people, especially the law, when technology is involved in a crime. I thought about how stupid it is that "breaking into a computer across state lines" is a felony. There is no real equivalent to this in the "real world", since you can't physically break into a building across state lines. Given the odds of someone getting hurt when a hacker breaks into a computer system vs. the odds of someone getting hurt when theives break into a building, why the enthusiastic approach to prosecution when a computer and phone line is involved? You'd probably be better off breaking into a building and actually picking up and walking off with a database server that physically houses millions of credit card numbers than if you broke in and copied the database electronically. I don't know about anyone else, but I'd rather have a guy with a trojan break into my computer than a guy with a gun in my house.

          I suspect that the computer crimes investigators in the U.S. are just using an old managment trick: mask incompetence and cluelessness with enthusiasm so it looks like you're chasing a bunch of big bad scary hackers around when, really, you're chasing your own tail because you haven't got a clue. When they catch some punk kid like that teen that modified SoBig (or whatever - I can't remember which of the 10 trillion Windows viruses it was) a while back, they held him up as an example. Example of what? A script kid? Big whoop. They get caught anyway, that's why they're script kiddies. Who caught Mitnick, again? Was it the FBI? Local law enforcement? No, another hacker he made the mistake of pushing. Then, when a catch is made, you get that idiot Ashcroft up there spouting BS as if he had anything to do with it. I'd be willing to bet he has his assistant turn his computer on for him, why's he talking about computer crimes?

          The frothing, mad dog approach to computer criminals is really getting old. I'd be happy if they just showed a little competence and treated computer crime just like the original counterparts instead of blasting the occasional catch to pieces as an "example" to others...

      • Unlike the US counterparts, the Norwegian Okokrim suffers from low-to non-existant computer skills

        Do not assume that the police do not have computer skill. The local sheriff might be computer illiterate, but that does not automatically transpose to a central police investigation bureau like Okokrim. On the contrary, they are very computer literate. They have to be to successfully investigate and gather evidence in computer crime.

        That they are set to uphold a law that does not make sense anymore is not t

  • by bluethundr ( 562578 ) * on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:44AM (#7880320) Homepage Journal


    News in the mother tongue [barnesandnoble.com] appears [silicon.com] to be spreading! [infoworld.com]
    • by Joey7F ( 307495 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:04AM (#7880458) Homepage Journal
      I am not Norwegian and I am in a hurry so I will just translate bits and pieces that seem the most important (not the history of the case).

      Feel free to correct :)

      Okokrim har valgt a ikke anke straffesaken mot Jon Lech Johansen. Dermed blir frifinnelsen av DVD-Jon staende.

      The Economic Crime unit has chosen not to pursue further action against Jon Johansen. DVD Jon has been aquitted.

      - Min klient er fortsatt pa ferie i Frankrike, og jeg har ikke fatt snakket med ham enna. Men vi diskuterte jo dette utfallet som en mulighet for han reiste avgarde. Derfor vet jeg at han vil bli veldig fornoyd med a slippe og tenke mer pa dette, sier DVD-Jons forsvarer, advokat Halvor Manshaus, til TV 2 Nettavisen.

      My Client is on vacation in France and I have not spoken with him. But we held discussions before he left. Therefore I know that he vill be very satisfied with the charges being let go and think more about this (my note: the vacation, presumably) said Jon's lawyer and advocate Halvor Manshaus to TV 2

      - Lagmannsretten legger til grunn at en DVD-plate er sa utsatt for a fa skader at kjoperen ma vaere berettiget til a ta en kopi, for eksempel av en film han er spesielt interessert i a bevare, het det i dommen.

      The judge rulled the software was legal iff you bought the film. You are entitled to make a copy of that disc. For example, if there is a film you had a special interest in preserving.

      Sorry for the rough translation but though something would be better than nothing right now :)

      --Joey
      • > the software was legal iff you bought the film

        Did you mistype if or do you really mean iff [wolfram.com]? If this is true, that's pretty interesting. You can't use the software (look at it? read the code? what?) if you haven't bought a film.

        Anyone care to elaborate?
        • I believe that what is meant here is...

          "The software is legal to use to view a film if you own the film."

          In other words, you can't use the software to violate copyright, that's all.
        • Here's a more accurate translation of that paragraph:

          Lagmannsretten legger til grunn at en DVD-plate er sa utsatt for a fa skader at kjoperen ma vaere berettiget til a ta en kopi, for eksempel av en film han er spesielt interessert i a bevare, het det i dommen.

          "The court argues that DVD-records are so exposed to damage that the buyer must be entitled to make a copy; for example of a movie he's particulary interested in preserving."
    • by ThisIsFred ( 705426 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:40AM (#7880690) Journal
      From Infoworld:

      An Oslo Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a lower court's ruling clearing Jon Lech Johansen of charges related to his development and distribution of DeCSS, a software tool that can be used to crack copy protection on DVDs.

      Wrong! CSS does not prevent DVDs from behing copied, it prevents "movies" from being read (played) on machines of which the MPAA does not approve. If this is how the American tech press is going to pick up on it, I'd rather they'd stick to something they understand.
      • by the_mad_poster ( 640772 ) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Monday January 05, 2004 @12:25PM (#7881514) Homepage Journal

        HA! Not understanding an issue never stopped them from discussing it before. The mainstream "American Press" frequently "elaborates on issues" without a clue what they're talking about. Some typical myths the "American Press" insists on blindly perpetuating:

        DeCSS is used to make copies of DVDs.

        Patently false. As you've already pointed out, CSS is used to prevent a movie from playing on "unapproved" playback systems. DeCSS is used to play those unplayable movies. It never comes into play in the copying process which is why pirate DVDs have been available since DVDs were introduced to the market.

        Kazaa is an illegal music sharing site.

        Patently false. While many people use it to share illegal music files, KaZaa is a client for accessing a p2p network which can be used to share ANY files, legitimate or not (and it's not a "site"...).

        The music industry has said that "xyz" is legal/illegal....

        Terribly misleading. Who cares what the music industry says is legal? When I have to stand before Cary Sherman for judgement in a courtroom (god help us all), I'll give a crap what the music industry says is legal.

        An "Internet Virus" has been loosed...

        ...in reference to a virus that only affects one platform (typically, Windows).

        mp3s are illegally copied music files that Internet users share.

        My god.. I don't even know where to start with this tripe.

        To sum it all up, the American Press is just as technologically retarded as the typical American Citizen, so it works out pretty well in the end for selling newspapers and magazines.

        • Terribly misleading. Who cares what the music industry says is legal? When I have to stand before Cary Sherman for judgement in a courtroom (god help us all), I'll give a crap what the music industry says is legal.
          The day I have to stand before Cary Sherman In court is the day i purchase an uzi submachine gun.
        • mp3s are illegally copied music files that Internet users share.
          Wouldn't it be nice if the publich/governments/courts/whatever continued believe this, whith the following addition:

          OGG files are legal music files that can be used in arious ways

          "mp3" is just too infected a term, an infection which odd doesn't share.

  • by LordoftheFrings ( 570171 ) <null@f r a g f e s t .ca> on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:45AM (#7880324) Homepage
    What a great way to start a monday morning, two inspiring stories about the fight against DRM. First, the Big 5 record companies are being tried because of the DRM on CDs, and now DVD-Jon having all charges dropped. A big w00t to that.
    • But what does this really mean for people who want to exercise their fair use rights?

      I have a feeling that this ruling will be cited continuously by people trying to fight restrictive DRM in the US and other parts of Europe as part of their legal arguments. Who knows - this might be a watershed event.
  • by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:48AM (#7880343)


    Please reschedule Norway and Belgium [slashdot.org] ahead of Syria and Iraq. Thanks.

  • by Samuel Duncan ( 737527 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:51AM (#7880362) Journal
    I still remember who some very smart people warned in the 1920ies that the entertaiment industry would become due to media concentration too powerful and could get laws changed to their favor. Of course, hardly anyone took them seriously. We had only some movie industry in hollywood and the big competitor the German UFA was still alive and kicking. So the advised regulation law got passed. After WW II when it became clear that they were right, all proposals in this direction were stomped by McCarty as "communist agitation" - that why the big ones in the movie industry supported him. And later, well, it was too late. Which leads in the end to such things as the DCMA.

    Lesson learned: always act preventativly or it will be all too late.
    That's why I think that people should take this MS monopoly stuff more seriously.

    • If it comes to that Jefferson warned that large corporations were the most serious threat to liberty all the way back in the late 1700's.

      American inheritence tax was originally concieved not, primarily, as a means of deriving funds for the state, but rather to prevent the formation of multigenerational capitalist aristocracies which could wield power greater than the government.

      Well, we see how well that worked out.

      KFG
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:53AM (#7880373)
    I just bought a DVD+Jon writer!
  • Norway (Score:5, Funny)

    by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:53AM (#7880375) Journal
    This Norway is sounding like a pretty good place to be. Too bad it's in, like, Norway.
    • Re:Norway (Score:2, Informative)

      by grazzy ( 56382 )
      Norway is one of the most beautiful places on earth I'd say.. and I'm swedish ..
    • Re:Norway (Score:2, Funny)

      by Seahawk ( 70898 )
      Well - you know they have prizewinning fjords there... :)
  • by NynexNinja ( 379583 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:53AM (#7880377)
    They are backing down from the legal court battle because they will be paying off the bureaucrats (read: lobbying) to create new laws in norway to address this type of activity (i.e. DMCA).
  • by Schreckgestalt ( 692027 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:54AM (#7880381)
  • Okokrim (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bud ( 1705 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:55AM (#7880388)
    Nope, Okokrim [okokrim.no] is a state-owned unit prosecuting economic, computer and environmental crimes. At least in theory, they are pursuing lawbreakers on behalf of the Norwegian state (i.e. the Norwegian people).

    RIAA [riaa.com] is a trade association, an interest group for lobbying lawmakers and protecting the interests of publishers of recorded music. They are purely interested in squeezing the most amount of money out of music artists and consumers.

    --Martin
    • I guess the poster accidentally wrote "equivalent of" instead of "puppet of"...

      Phillip.
      PS Not Norwegian, just a tongue in cheek comment ;-)
    • In fact, Okokrim essentially had to prosecute him in the first place, because what he did was plausibly against the law, and it's not their job to decide whether things are legal or not. When the lower court decided that what he did (which was never in question) was legal, they had to appeal in order to get a suitable precedent established. Evidentally, they decided that a Supreme Court opinion wasn't necessary.

      In any case, Okokrim was probably not all that happy to prosecute a Norwegian citizen at the dem
  • Now. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Raven42rac ( 448205 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:58AM (#7880409)
    Now if we could only get around U.S. law. You are legally allowed to make an archival backup copy for your own use. However, the DVD manufacturers do not have to make it possible for you to do so, and circumventing their copy-protection is a crime. So they are infringing on your rights, and if you assert them, they have big brother on their side.
    • We have the power in our wallets. If we, collectively, avoid copy protected products like the plague, the message will get across to the powers that be - they can not make us buy what we don't want to buy, after all.

      If they do not change, it will be their ruin.

      Sadly, most people will not follow this path, as they are satisfied to let the corporate moguls dictate what they can and can't do in the confines of their home.
      • Re:Now. (Score:3, Funny)

        by red floyd ( 220712 )
        Slashdotter: "We have the power in our wallets. If we, collectively, avoid copy protected products like the plague, the message will get across to the powers that be - they can not make us buy what we don't want to buy, after all."

        Then...

        "Oooh! A Two Towers DVD! Cool! I want it!"
        • I assume you are refering to a lack of discipline on the part of young people to hold on to their money?

          Please explain your 'Two Towers' reference; is that a movie or a music video?
  • by Pivot ( 4465 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:59AM (#7880415)
    - that they will be going after VHS Lars [www.nrk.no] next..
  • Translation (Score:5, Informative)

    by muffen ( 321442 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:02AM (#7880442)
    Alright, I'm Swedish, so I might have made a mistake or two.. I'm not doing a complete translation, just translating the relevant bits. Content should be accurate though.

    Lawyer: DVD-Jon is on holiday in France, and I haven't spoken to him yet. However, we have discussed this as a possible outcome, and I therefore know that he will be very pleased to hear the news, as he can finally relax and stop thinking about this case.

    It has been 4 years since the legal actions against DVD-Jon were taken, and he was only 15 at the time. It has been a heavy burden for him during these important years in his life. However, I think he has handled the situation well. He wrote DeCSS so that people can play DVD's on other OS'es than Windows. This case has been brought up by IT media all over the world, and many people have expressed support for DVD-Jon.

    From the verdict in the "lagmannsretten" in december last year, the court said that it was clear that he had bought the DVD's himself, and therefore he has the right to play them however he wishes to.

    "Lagmannsretten" also said that if you buy a DVD, there is a risk that it may become damaged, and therefore you have the right to make a copy of the DVD, if it's a movie you intend to preserve.

    As I said, not an exact translation, but should be sufficient :)
  • The Norwegian paper Aftenposten as an english article online: DVD-Jon wins new legal victory [aftenposten.no].
  • by dnoyeb ( 547705 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:08AM (#7880476) Homepage Journal
    My son likes to chew on my DVDs. So if I leave one in the player by mistake, and he happens to be around, he will play with the player, but eventually he gets around to putting 1 -2 bite marks on it.

    He does not understand that he is hosing the DVDs. Thus, either I keep forking out $20 everytime he does this, or I go back to Video Tapes. I am certain DVDs are more profitable for the industry than tapes.

    I have not bought any dvd backup system yet because they are so expensive but I plan to. I certainly hope they see that I need this and am not a thief. Unless they are willing to provide free replacements!?
    • by goldspider ( 445116 ) <ardrake79NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:14AM (#7880517) Homepage
      "Thus, either I keep forking out $20 everytime he does this, or I go back to Video Tapes."

      Or you could keep your DVD collection away from your son.

    • by Groote Ka ( 574299 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:20AM (#7880554)
      I am certain DVDs are more profitable for the industry than tapes.

      Sure. Ever tried to compare production cost of a VHS tape (with all the tiny mechanical components) to the production cost of a pressed DVD?

      (solely) Considering that, VHS should be 50% more expensive than DVD instead of the other way around as in daily practise.

    • by Wordsmith ( 183749 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:24AM (#7880588) Homepage
      He'll outgrow it. Mine used to do this too, but he stopped somewhere around the time he turned 24.

      He said he doesn't like the videotapes as much, but then again he never did enjoy serial.
      • He'll outgrow it. Mine used to do this too, but he stopped somewhere around the time he turned 24.

        He stopped at 24? Wow. How did he ever get through high school and college with this habit?

        Personally, I've never liked DVDs. Too many pits. Plus the idea of eating a WORM just turns me off.
    • My kid chews disks too. I keep dummy disks in the DVD like "Titanic" just for him.
    • by FyRE666 ( 263011 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @11:55AM (#7881264) Homepage
      For god's sake man, you must grow yourself a spine and cure the child of this habbit. The next time he starts gnawing on your movie collection simply lock him in a room with a box of 100 blank DVDs. Then tell the boy that he's to stay there until he's eaten every last one of them... and the box. He'll think twice before chewing disks again, I can tell you!
    • My wife wants to get our 4 year old a CD player for her birthday, but is fearful of all the cd's getting trashed ("Elmo's Favorite Songs" - yeah...I can think of worse things that could happen :)

      Anyway, I told her I can just burn copies of the cd's so if anything happens to the copies, just make another one. Easy solution. This is a pain with DVD's...can't just put it in andmake a one-to-one copy. It's a pain to rip, convert, etc... Even if it wasn't the dual-layer issue, I can't just copy back and for
    • I make burns of all my dvd's especially those for my 3 yo son. He has a dvd player in his room and knows how to change the movies out and stuff, but he's still a little heavy handed with them and scratches aren't uncommon, so instead of leaving $20 originals in his room I rip and burn them to dvd-r and give him those, that way when one gets scratched I just load the saved image up off my drive burn him a new copy and he's good to go. Wish I could do this with his Gamecube games too :(
  • by Groote Ka ( 574299 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @10:17AM (#7880531)
    and yes, Virginia, this means DVD back-up is fully legal in Norway.

    And apparently, circumvention of encryption for that purpose is legal as well.

    Under old law, that is. Norway, as an EFTA (European Free Trade Association) member is obliged to implement some EU legislation like the European Copyright Directive related to aspects of the Information Society.
    This piece of law requires local governments to implement in national legislation that circumvention of copyright protection is illegal. And it was not implemented at the date of the alledged (but apparently not committed) crime.

    So although this has been an interesting case, it seems rather irrelevant to me for the future of DeCSS.

    In summary: No appeal. So what? We're right back at the start.

    • So although this has been an interesting case, it seems rather irrelevant to me for the future of DeCSS.

      No, not for the future of DeCSS itself, because traditionally Scandinavians never apply new laws retroactively - or well, at least this is the case in Finland, but I suppose Norway and Sweden are somewhat similar. So: as DeCSS is legal under present law, it will be forever.

      But for the circumventability of future DRM technologies, yes.
      • Your logic doesn't hold. Yes, laws can't be passed to make past distribution and use of DeCSS illegal, however laws can certainly be passed to make distributing or using DeCSS illegal from the effective date of the law onwards. (ObDisclaimer: I am not a lawyer...). The point being that in a civilized society the legislative shouldn't be able to pass laws that make a criminal of someone for something that was legal when they did whatever is being made illegal.
    • >This piece of law requires local governments to
      >implement in national legislation that
      >circumvention of copyright protection is illegal.

      Ehh, only circumvention of a system that prevents a right the copyright holder has exclusive right to, like copying. In this case, there is no issue of circumventing a copy protection system. It is an access system. That is, it makes it possible to play a DVD. It has absolutely nothing to do with the copying. So no, this will not change because of the EUCD.
  • "You've already made us look stupid twice doing your dirty work, so we quit."
  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @11:09AM (#7880923) Homepage Journal
    But, will this common sense judgement migrate to US courts..

    I doubt it.
  • As far as I understand it all this means is Jon is free. The case wasn't taken to the Norwegian Supreme Court, so no legal precedent was made (presumably the reason why it didn't go to the SC). I may have misunderstood things (in the best /. tradition IANANL) but I don't think so.
    • The case wasn't taken to the Norwegian Supreme Court, so no legal precedent was made (presumably the reason why it didn't go to the SC). I may have misunderstood things (in the best /. tradition IANANL) but I don't think so.

      IANANL (I Am Not A Norwegian Lawyer), but I'm strongly suspecting that the parent poster is correct.

      If any prescedent was set, it is presumably that writing and distributing software to bypass copy protections are legal in Norway. This would put Norway smack dab where the United Stat
  • by MuParadigm ( 687680 ) <jgabriel66@yahoo.com> on Monday January 05, 2004 @11:28AM (#7881075) Homepage Journal

    This is completely off-topic, but while reading the DVD-Jon story on Aftenposten (yes, I read the stories, there goes my karma), I browsed some of the other stories, and:

    Did you know that Norway leads the world in both per-capita porn consumption *and* per-capita deodorant use?

    Is there a connection between the two? I have no idea. I simply know that I must move to Oslo someday. It's calling my name.

  • DVD-Jon to the USA (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Nyh ( 55741 )
    I am wondering. Would it be save for DVD-Jon to go to the USA? Will the RIAA respect the Norwegian verdict or will it seize the opportunity to lynch trail him the american way?

    Nyh
    • Why would he go to USA anyway?
      Apart from a possible MPAA lawsuit; he as a Norwegian will be treated as a criminal upon arrival in USA after January 5th 2004.
      The authorities will start with taking pictures and fingerprints of all the passengers before they are registrered in a huge database of potentiall terrorists.

      So as for many other Norwegians there are plenty of reasons for him to just stay home instead.

  • by Euphonious Coward ( 189818 ) on Monday January 05, 2004 @01:29PM (#7882136)
    Worth noting again... this result bears on the Andrew Bunner trade-secret case in California. That court found that since the trade secret was (supposedly) illegally obtained, Andrew Bunner and several hundred "John Does" had acted improperly in posting DeCSS, and ordered them not to post it. That order applied to states in the 2nd Circuit, including several western states, but also would have carried weight as precedent in other areas.

    At the hearing the question came up whether in fact the reverse engineering involved was legal under Norwegian law. The judge called for opinions from Norwegian lawyers. The plaintiff trotted out a tame Norwegian lawyer who asserted (without support of any kind) that it was not legal. The defendant's lawyer said nothing in Norwegian law or case law supported any opinion one way or the other. The judge took that to mean that in fact it wasn't legal. That meant that the MPAA still had a valid trade secret in CSS.

    Now that it's established that in fact the reverse engineering was legal, Bunner et al. should be able to have the decision vacated. (Shame on that judge for his bias.) This should mean that the DVD-CCA's trade secret protection on CSS cannot any longer be enforced.

    Is there any word on whether the EFF will act on this?

  • Does this make my DeCSS source code Tshirt no longer edgy and cool? I might audition for Australian Idol 2 wearing one just to see if I can get it on Tele in an ARIA sponsored event.
  • The Register (Score:3, Informative)

    by dmarx ( 528279 ) <dmarx@hushmai l . com> on Monday January 05, 2004 @09:39PM (#7886876) Homepage Journal
    The Register has an article about this in English [theregister.co.uk].

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