A Norwegian court will retry in December a teenager whose DVD-copying exploits made him a hero to hackers worldwide, in a case that will be closely monitored by the motion picture industry. In January

A Norwegian court will retry in December a teenager whose DVD-copying exploits made him a hero to hackers worldwide, in a case that will be closely monitored by the motion picture industry. In January, an Oslo court acquitted 19-year-old Jon Johansen, dubbed "DVD Jon," of charges that he developed a computer program that enabled mass copying of movies on DVD digital discs.

Film studios accused Johansen of developing the software and posting his findings on the Internet. Johansen's attorney, Halvor Manshaus, said he had received a letter from the Borgarting appeals court today (April 1), saying it had set aside eight days from December 2 for the appeal hearing.

"I regard our prospects for the appeal as positive. We are in a stronger position now than ever before, since we won the first time," Manshaus said. The first-round acquittal was a blow to the film industry, which is on a global campaign to crack down on piracy. The U.S. motion picture industry estimates piracy costs it $3 billion annually in lost sales.

The Motion Picture Association of America, representing major studios such as Walt Disney Co., Universal Studios, and Warner Bros., filed the original complaint at Norway's Economic Crime Unit. The Oslo district court ruled that prosecutors had failed to prove that Johansen's program -- called DeCSS -- had been used for illegal copying of DVDs, saying he was entitled to copy legally purchased DVDs.

Prosecutors in January lodged an appeal, objecting to the application of the law and the presentation of evidence. There is no specific legislation in Norway that bars the digital duplication of copyrighted material, but use of Johansen's program has been made a criminal offense in the U.S. under the Digital Copyright Millennium Act.


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