03.07.2003 12:00 PM
Norwegian appeals court to hear

A Norwegian appeals court has agreed to hear the prosecutor's appeal of the infamous case against Jon Johansen, the Norwegian teenager acquitted of criminal charges for helping to write and publish a DVD descrambling program. Johansen used the software application called DeCSS to watch DVDs on his Linux computer.

Johansen was acquitted of the charge of violating Norwegian criminal law. The law outlaws breaking into another person's locked property to gain access to data that no one is entitled to access. His prosecution marks the first time the Norwegian government has attempted to punish individuals for accessing their own property.

After a request from the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the lobby organization for Hollywood’s motion picture studios, the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit in 1999 charged Johansen for unscrambling DVDs using DeCSS. At the time he was 15. Prosecutors said the case is "of principle interest, and we are prepared for yet another full round in court."

In the U.S., the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a pro-consumer group, has been following the case closely. "A Norwegian court has already acquitted Jon Johansen of criminal charges for taking the steps necessary to view his own DVDs on his own computers," said EFF legal director Cindy Cohn. "We're confident that the appellate court will come to the same conclusion that Johansen has not violated Norwegian law."

For more on the Johansen case visit www.eff.org/IP/Video/DeCSS_prosecutions/Johansen_DeCSS_case.

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