No jail time sought for teen in Norway DeCSS trial

In closing arguments Monday, prosecutors called for Jon Lech Johansen, the 19-year-old Norwegian charged with using and distributing DeCSS, a program that can be used to break the digital copy-protection mechanism of DVDs, to be given a three-month suspended jail sentence and made to pay 10,000 Norwegian kroner (CDN$2,182) in police costs, according to Johansen’s defence counsel, Halvor Manshaus.

A three-month suspended jail term means Johansen would not go to prison if found guilty-unless he committed a crime within the next two years, in which case the three-month sentence would enter effect.

Part 145 Section 2 of the Norwegian criminal code, under which Johansen was charged, provides for a maximum sentence of six months for gaining illegal access to information by breaking or circumventing a code or barrier, or two years if the act is motivated by profit, Manshaus said.

Johansen, also widely known as “DVD Jon,” developed the DeCSS program in late 1999 in order to watch DVDs on a computer running the Linux operating system.

Prosecutors from Norway’s special force for economic crime,