December 22, 2003

Jon Johansen acquittal upheld!

Jon Johansen has been acquitted again! (link credit - Lessig )

A panel of judges Monday cast aside the appeal that prosecutors had filed to a lower court decision handed down in January. That means the lower court's decision will stand, at least until another eventual appeal takes the case to Norway's supreme court.

The lower court had ruled that Johansen, now 20, did nothing illegal when he helped crack DVD copy protection codes in 1999 and then publicized how he did it. The prosecution had sought a suspended jail term, confiscation of his computer equipment and a fine of NOK 20,000 (less than USD 3,000).

This is great news. A win is always great news. It would have been very bad news if he had lost.


This is NOT quite so great news as people will think, for two reasons:

1) Contrary to myth, Jon Johansen's DeCSS work wasn't the reverse-engineering of CSS. That part of the creation of DeCSS was done by an anonymous German.

2) With new more DMCA-type laws being proposed and passed all the time, being found innocent here, does not mean the next programmer charged, will be found innocent. That is, they'll just change the law. See my old post on Grokster, Streamcast copyright win, vs. LaMacchia case

Again, victory is good. But let's keep in mind what's been won - and what hasn't!

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in copyblight , dmca , legal | on December 22, 2003 11:51 AM (Infothought permalink) | Followups
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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