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EFF.org: DVD Update: Johansen Shines on Witness Stand in Defense of his Software

Jul 24, 2000, 20:01 (3 Talkback[s])

[ Thanks to Bryan Taylor for this link. ]

"Jon Johansen, the Norwegian teen-ager who created DeCSS, the software at the heart of this case, took the witness stand Thursday morning to testify for the defense. Johansen explained that he was attempting to build a DVD player for Linux when he and two other members of the group MoRE developed the code. He also explained that DeCSS was written as a Windows executable file because the project had to be tested first on Windows since Linux could not read a DVDs UDF files. This testimony blew a huge hole in both the movie studios' and the judge's reasoning who assumed that because the code was written for Windows it had nothing to do with developing a Linux DVD player, as EFF's defense team has claimed for months."

"The courageous teen also revealed that the MPAA filed charges against Jon and his father Per, instigating the Norwegian Economic Crime Unit to ask Jon to answer questions at the police station in January 2000. His testimony revealed a flaw in the judge's thinking, who has previously stated in several opinions that the teen was arrested and has inferred guilt therefrom. Not only was Johansen never arrested for developing the software, the Norwegian government awarded Jon a prestigious award for his excellent grades in high school and his contribution to society for creating DeCSS. Although it did not come out in court today, the Norwegian parliament has also issued the young teen a formal apology for the treatment he has undergone as a result of publishing the code."

"In stark contrast to the veracity and integrity Johansen displayed on the witness stand in the face of a powerful industry trying to crush him, the head of the MPAA's world-wide anti-piracy effort Mikhail Reider testified next. The MPAA investigator who was previously an intelligence officer for the DEA and FBI gave testimony replete with "I can't recall", "I don't know", and "I can't remember" to the most basic questions involving the MPAA's investigative efforts in this case, reminiscent of the Jack Valenti deposition. The credibility and truthfulness of this witness was called into further doubt when shown and asked about internal MPAA reports sent to her that contradicted her testimony and were obtained by EFF's defense team through discovery battles. At the conclusion of Reider's testimony, the Plaintiff's rested their case.

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