Jon Lech Johansen

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Jon Lech Johansen (born November 18, 1983), also known as DVD Jon, is a Norwegian who was involved in the release of the DeCSS software. In 2002 he was put on trial in Norway but was found not guilty of any illegal behaviour. A second trial in 2003 resulted in him being acquitted a second time.


DeCSS prosecution

The prosecution was conducted by Økokrim, a Norwegian crime unit investigating and prosecuting economic crime, after a complaint by the US DVD Copy Control Association (DVD-CCA) and the Motion Picture Association (MPAA). Johansen has denied writing the decryption code in DeCSS, saying that this part of the project originated from someone in Germany. His defense was assisted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The trial opened in the Oslo district court on December 9, 2002 with Johansen pleading not-guilty to charges that had a maximum penalty of two years in prison or large fines. The defense argued that no illegal access was obtained to anyone else's information, since Johansen owned the DVDs himself. Also, they pointed out that it is legal under Norwegian law to make copies of such data for personal use. The verdict was announced on January 7, 2003 acquitting Johansen of all charges.

This being the verdict of the district court, two further levels of appeals were available to the prosecutors. Økokrim filed an appeal on January 20, 2003 and it was reported on February 28 that the appeals court had agreed to hear the case. On March 5, 2003 the appeals court said that arguments filed by the movie industry and additional evidence merited another trial.

Johansen's second DeCSS trial began in Oslo on December 2, 2003, and resulted in an acquittal on December 22, 2003. Økokrim announced on January 5, 2004 that it would not appeal the case any further.

Other projects

In November 2003, Johansen released QTFairUse, an open source program which dumps the raw output of a QuickTime AAC stream to a file, which could bypass the digital rights management (DRM) software used to encrypt content of music from media such as those distributed by the iTunes Music Store, Apple Computer's on-line music store. Although these resulting raw AAC files were unplayable by most media players at the time of release, they represent the first attempt at circumventing Apple's encryption. One of the few media players that is able to play raw AAC files is foobar2000.

Johansen is now a VideoLAN developer, and he has reverse engineered FairPlay and wrote VLC's FairPlay support.[1] ( It has been available in VideoLAN CVS since January 2004, but the first release to include FairPlay support is VLC 0.7.1 (released March 2, 2004).

On April 25, 2004 Johansen released another program: DeDRMS. Written in C#, this 230 line program is also said to remove copy prevention. On July 7, 2004 he released FairKeys, a program that can be used to retrieve the keys needed by DeDRMS from the iTunes Music Store servers itself. On August 12, 2004 Jonansen announced on his website that he cracked Apple's AirPort Express's encryption which lets users stream Apple Lossless files to their AirPort Express.

On November 25, 2004 he released a proof of concept program that allows Linux users (Via VLC) to play video encoded with Microsoft's proprietary WMV9 codec. With Microsoft's protections broken, Linux users will now be able to watch high-quality WMV9 content, which had previously been impossible. This is a large development as Microsoft has been lobbying to have their codec used with the next DVD standard.

On March 18, 2005, Travis Watkins and Cody Brocious, along with Johansen, wrote PyMusique, a Python based program which allows the download of purchased files from the iTunes Music Store without DRM encryption. This was possible because Apple Computer's iTunes software adds the DRM to the music file after the music file is downloaded.

On March 22, 2005, Apple released a patch for the iTunes Music Store blocking the use of his PyMusique program. The same day, an update to PyMusique was released, circumventing the new patch.

Johansen is featured in the film documentary info wars.

He also reverse engineered the communication protocol used by the JazPiper MP3 Player, allowing Linux and BeOS users to use their Piper MP3 players.


  • Reuters news report, February 28, 2003; [2] (, [3] (; - appeals court agrees to hear the case.

External links

de:Jon Lech Johansen es:Jon Lech Johansen no:Jon Lech Johansen


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