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 Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 11:19 GMT
DVD piracy trial nears climax
Jon Johansen and his lawyer
Johansen has become a symbol for hackers
A landmark trial of a teenager in Norway accused of video piracy has ended with prosecutors calling for his computers to be confiscated.

But they stopped short of seeking jail time, recommending that the teenager, Jon Johansen, get a 90-day suspended sentence instead.

A verdict is expected within a few weeks.

Mr Johansen is accused of creating and distributing a computer program that unlocks the copyright protection on DVDs.

In the five-day hearing, the teenager said that the software he created was necessary to enable him to watch movies on his Linux computer.

Spreading information

The thief who breaks into his own flat is not committing any crime

Halvor Manshaus, defence lawyer
The software, known as DeCSS, was tested on two DVD movies that he already owned, The Matrix and The Fifth Element.

"The thief who breaks into his own flat is not committing any crime," his lawyer, Halvor Manshaus told the Oslo court room.

Prosecutors said Mr Johansen intended to spread the information among internet hackers and that his actions damaged movie studios.

The case was originally filed by the US Motion Picture Association, which represents the major Hollywood studios.

Angered over the fact that thousands of surfers were downloading the software programme, movie moguls feared mass piracy and loss of revenue.

DVD Jon, as he has become known, has become something of a folk hero to those in the net community who believe that making software like his is an act of intellectual freedom rather than theft.

The judge, aided by two experts, is expected to deliver a verdict early next year.

See also:

10 Dec 02 | Technology
17 Jan 02 | New Media
29 Nov 01 | New Media
30 Jul 01 | TV and Radio
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