Almost 16 months after Hollywood won the controversial court case that outlawed the DeCSS utility, Norwegian prosecutors have indicted the author of the tool that cracked the DVD copy protection system.
The National Authority for Investigation and Prosecution of Economic and Environmental Crime in Norway indicted Jon Johansen on 9 January under a law that prohibits breaking a protection mechanism to gain access to data.
It is the first time in Norway that someone has been brought to trial for cracking an encryption system. If found guilty, 18 year-old Johansen could face a two-year prison stretch. The trial is expected to start before the summer.
The case comes over two years after the Motion Picture Association of America filed for a criminal investigation of Johansen and then began a slew of successful lawsuits against websites publishing or linking to the DeCSS code.
The DVD Copyright Control Association also got in on the action which sparked a feud between the DVD industry and the geek community.
More recently, a US appeals court reversed the preliminary injunction that outlawed DeCSS and found that publication of the code is protected under the First Amendment.
Those responsible for the development and publication of DeCSS have always maintained that the tool was not designed to make copies of DVDs, but to help create playback software for the Linux operating system, which had been somewhat neglected by the DVD industry.
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