MPAA Lose Case on DVD Copyright

MPAA Lose Case on DVD Copyright

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), has received a second blow, only days after being defeated in U.S. courts. The newest embarassment for the MPAA came today when a young man, Jon Johansen also known as "DVD John", was acquitted, on all counts, of the charges brought against him by movie industry giants.

The charges brought against him were based around claims that he had been watching DVD's on a Linux computer using the Linux-based de-scrambling program DeCSS, which he had created. The real grudge the MPAA had against DVD John, as can be easily assumed, was the creation of the software rather than the actual copying of a DVD he already owned.

What the prosecution claimed was that DVD John, who was 15 at the time, had been involved in a conspiracy, with a number of other individuals on the Internet to crack DVD codes. The success of the prosecution relied on the court accepting that he had broken a Norwegian law which prohibits people breaking into others' locked property to get data that they're not supposed to obtain, also known as Norwegian Criminal Code section 145(2).

The court however, decided that there was no evidence that Johansen or anyone else on the Internet had used a decryption code he created for illegal purposes and accepted his claim that he had developed DeCSS simply in order to view a DVD he owned on another machine.

This blow comes only days after the MPAA was refused the right to bring an individual from Texas to California in order to stand trial for DVD copyright related offenses. The main charge, according to the MPAA was that the individual was posting links to DVD decrypting software on the internet.

These recent decisions can be considered as severe blows to the MPAA's fight to control the spread of movies over the internet, they cannot be said however, to be decisive decisions, as there is further action for the MPAA to take. In all of the mentioned cases the MPAA has met with stiff opposition from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), members of which are hailing recent court decisions as a victory for consumer rights.