Finnish court rules CSS protection used in DVDs "ineffective"

I wrote two months ago about the Finnish hacker heroes Mikko Rauhala and Einari Karttunen, who were going to trial for breaking the Finnish EUCD law (equivalent to US DMCA law). The verdict is now in and the guys were freed. But the grounds for the verdict are more significant: The judge concluded that CSS - the Digital Rights Management system used on DVD movies - is not an effective protection measure, since it is easy for anyone to get and use software that breaks it.

The lawyers from Turre Legal announced this also in English in their blog, along with a more detailed analysis of what really happened. And within the next 24 hours, there was much rejoicing, in the online world.

There are still a couple of days left for the prosecutor to appeal. Since this is the first time this legislation is on trial in all of Europe, let alone Finland, one would assume him to appeal to higher court levels to establish a precedent. However, at least the district court seems to have decided the case as quite clear cut, so we can expect things to go the same way in the future too.

If the decision becomes final, this would end the uncertainty around distributing open source DVD playing software in Finland. Furthermore, also private copying of DVD's would become legal. Finally the decision also sets the bar quite high on other copy-protection measures. Also the copy protection on Blu-ray and HD-DVD movies would probably loose their legal protection in Finland.

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