The Null Device

War on Economic/Copyright Terrorism: Jon Johansen, who published DeCSS, has been charged with computer crime for bypassing DVD access-control mechanisms. The law under which he is charged has been used to prosecute crackers breaking into banks; there is no precedent applying it to copy-control mechanisms, but Hollywood and the US Government are pushing hard for one. (And you don't want to get in the way of the US Government; just ask the Afghans.) If convicted, Johansen faces 2 years in prison. (Though presumably he should be thankful he is not going to be extradited to the US; Norwegian prisons are probably more humane than US federal prisons.) The usual pirasymps are lobbying for the charges to be dropped.

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