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Norwegian Court Acquits DeCSS Developer of Piracy Charges

The New York Times reports that a three-member panel in Oslo City Court ruled that Jon Johansen had not broken any laws by using or distributing DeCSS and that he is free to view any DVDs he purchased leagally in any way he chooses. This is a major setback for the Entertainment Industry, which argued that the mere existance of software to decrypt DVDs was an open invitation to digital piracy.

However, the court found that Norwegian law treats a DVD purchased at retail as the purchaser's property, and not merely a license to view the content of the DVD on a player certified by the Motion Picture Association of America and similar industry trade groups. As a result, according to Aftenposten, "Johansen and his defense attorney Halvor Manshaus won on all counts, with the Oslo court ruling that Johansen did nothing wrong when he helped cracked the code on a DVD that was his own personal property."

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