January 8, 2003  ·  Lessig

In a second, important defeat for the RIAA, and DMCA-defender types, Johansen was acquitted by a Norwegian court. And as the EFF is nicely publicizing, the principles on which this court in Norway decided the case might be familiar to those who remember our own constitutional tradition. As the chief judge said in reading the verdict, “no one could be convicted of breaking into their own property” and “consumers have rights to legally obtained DVD films ‘even if the films are played in a different way than the makers had foreseen.” The freedom to tinker in Norway is real. So too should it be so here.

  • http://www.pawlo.com/ Mikael Pawlo

    I am just here to rain on your parade.

    The law is about to be changed. Norway will follow the European Union and
    the European Copyright Directive and will as a member of EEC implement a version of the WIPO Copyright Treaty, that also served as inspiration for
    the U.S. Digital Millenium Copyright Act. Draft Norweigan legislation is
    expected in February 2003. This will make the Jon-DVD case void as a
    precedent, since the legislation most likeley will adopt the protection for
    anti-circumvention devices in the WIPO Copyright Treaty.

    I really do not want to be a Lessig kind of pessimist, but you are starting to convince me of the color of the future. The color has a dark shade – that is if you do not consider strengthened copyright protection a good thing.


    Mikael Pawlo, Eeyore in spe

  • Anonymous

    It’s hard to argue with “no one could be convicted of breaking into their own property.” The issue, however, is whether the user ‘owns’ a song or video, or is merely licensing its use. You buy and own the container (the CD, DVD), but you license the content.

    BTW, I don’t like the DCMA at all. I feel it is ill-conceived, if not unconstitutional (despite the so-far lack of court rulings in that direction).

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