Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
December 13th, 2002



It seems like the movie industry wants to go a little too far — they’re trying to convict a Norwegian teenager for trying to view the DVDs he legally bought. The whole story is that he co-created software that allowed him to view DVDs that he legally bought on his Linux computer. Linux currently does not have any approved software for viewing DVDs. He posted the program code on the Internet so that he could test out the program. Apparently, the MPAA got paranoid and wanted to sue everyone — not only Jon Johansen, the teenager, but anyone who linked to his program! I guess we now say goodbye to freedom of speech, ¡adios! to freedom of the press (for hyperlinking), and Auf Wiedersehen to buying DVDs — after all, we can’t watch them anymore, can we? In the US, this will be the first major case under the DMCA, and in Norway, this will be the first case trying someone for viewing a legally purchased product. Wow. Sometimes makes you want to become a lawyer, doesn’t it?


  1. Well, for one, he's not (as you said earlier, in person) being tried under the laws of the State of California, he's being tried in Norwegian court under Norwegian law. But I totally agree that the MPAA really has no right to sue for creating a system to view DVDs on his computer; the fact that the program could be used for piracy doesn't mean that that it should be illegal. Take, for instance, the extreme pro-gun control lobby, that wants to make it illegal for private citizens to possess guns. Granted, you can use a gun to kill people, but there are other uses (hunting, or target shooting) that make guns a constructive tool (most of the time. You don't need an anti-tank rifle to hunt deer.) Even if you do agree with the extreme pro-gunners, you have to concede that movie piracy is much less serious than murder. Most likely, the MPAA will lose their case. With good reason.

     – President Fogg