copyright victory of the day
A Norwegian court has rebuffed the piracy case brought against Jon Johansen, the author of the DeCSS program by the MPAA, clearing the young man of all charges.
The studios argued unauthorised copying was copyright theft and undermined a market for DVDs and videos worth $20 billion a year in North America alone.
But Johansen argued his code was necessary to watch movies he already owned, on his Linux-based computer, for which DVD software had not yet been written.
He said since he owned the DVDs, he should be able to view them as he liked, preferably on his own computer. The court, citing consumer laws which protect consumers' fair use of their own property, agreed.
The court ruled there was "no evidence" that Johansen or others used the decryption code called DeCSS for illegal purposes. Nor was there any evidence that Johansen intended to contribute to illegal copying.
The court also ruled that it is not illegal to use the DeCSS code to watch DVD films obtained by legal means.
In the United States, Johansen's case raised concerns among Internet users of what they see as a constitutional right to freedom of expression. A battle is raging in the U.S. over a 1998 copyright law that bans software like DeCSS.
Of course, the Norwegian court has no jurisdiction here in the U.S., no matter how wise its verdict, but w00t anyway!