"DVD Kid" to be Retried in December

Though originally acquitted on charges of violating Norway's data break-in laws, the teenager will be back in court.

by / April 1, 2003
OSLO, Norway (AP) -- A Norwegian court will hear the appeal of a teenager's acquittal on charges that he created and circulated online a program that cracks the security codes on DVDs, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Erik Moestue of Norway's economic crimes unit said the trial was scheduled for early December in Oslo, the capital.

Jon Lech Johansen, 19, was acquitted of violating Norway's data break-in laws Jan. 7. The Oslo District Court said Johansen could not be convicted of breaking into DVD films he legally owned, or of providing a tool others might use to copy films illegally.

The case was the first of its kind in the nation and a key test in determining how far existing laws protect copyright holders.

Johansen was 15 when he developed the program, DeCSS, to watch movies on a Linux-based computer without DVD-viewing software. He also posted it on the Internet.

The program is just one of many that can break the film industry's Content Scrambling System, which prevents illegal copying and blocks the use of legitimate copies on unauthorized equipment.

Prosecutors filed charges against Johansen last year after a complaint from the Motion Picture Association of America and the DVD Copy Control Association, the group that licenses CSS.

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