Norwegians scramble for tech savvy DeCSS judge

Trial delayed until December

The trial of the teenage Norwegian programmer accused of creating the DeCSS "piracy tool" has been delayed until December 9 this year.

Jon Johansen, who created DeCSS as a utitlity to play DVDs on PCs running on Linux, was due to stand trial for creating the DeCSS programme this summer. But the trial has been put back so that a "technically savvy" judge could be appointed, Greplaw reports.

Johansen faces charges brought by the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit under Norwegian Criminal Code 145(2) that carry a possible sentence of up to two years in jail.

The motion picture industry has launched numerous lawsuits and prosecutions in the US and abroad to ban Johansen's software, on the basis that DeCSS is a "piracy tool" that is key to descrambling and copying data on DVDs. Critics, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, argue that this is untrue and that Johansen created DeCSS software that can enable DVD playback on Linux, among other lawful uses.

Besides, DeCSS is not needed to infringe DVDs, critics say, arguing that in effect Johansen has been charged simply for trying to access the data on his own DVD. ®

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