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Fox News: Teen-age Norwegian computer geek: A villain to Hollywood, a hero to hackers

Feb 25, 2001, 18:43 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Doug Mellgren)

[ Thanks to brew miester for this link. ]

"In the basement of an old farmhouse deep in the Norwegian countryside, a 15-year-old computer geek named Jon Lech Johansen pecked out the finishing touches on a piece of programming that had been keeping him busy after school and homework."

"Jon says he didn't realize it at the time, but when he pressed 'enter' on his keyboard 16 months ago and launched his handiwork into cyberspace, he was setting off an intercontinental earthquake."

"The program he assembled over a few weeks on his home-assembled Pentium 600 computer would rattle Hollywood, unleash lawsuits, mobilize demonstrators in his defense and have him hauled in for a night of questioning by Norwegian police."

"At 57 kilobytes, the tiny program is no more than the computer equivalent of a heartbeat. But what it does is frightening to anyone with a financial stake in the entertainment industry:

"It enables you to copy movies onto any computer with a DVD drive and send them out unscrambled on the Internet. As bandwidth increases it will become easier and faster to download these movies. And then the question will be, why pay $3.99 to rent Hollywood's latest blockbuster when you can see it for free without leaving your home? And why buy a DVD player if your home PC can do the job?"

Complete Story

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