Tuesday, October 18, 2005


Who the heck is “DVD Jon”? Well, he is the young Norwegian (see circa 1986 picture of Jon at left) putting pressure on Hollywood.

I think it is safe to say that Jon is a true hacker. He's a geeky, 21-year-old Norski living at home with his Polish mother and Norwegian father. He claims to have no friends (other than his Pa), no drivers’ license, and he spends about nine hours every day in front of the computer, hacking merrily away.

His most recent "accomplishment" came in August 2005 when he reverse engineered the encoding used in Microsoft’s NSC format and authored a decoder. Today he is focusing his efforts on Apple iTunes music store to remove restrictions on how many times legally bought songs can be copied or on which devices they can be played. I am sure we will read more about this shortly.

In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, writer Steve Stecklow says, “Mr. Johansen, Hollywood executives claim, has done more than almost anyone in the world to ignite the explosion of movie piracy on the Internet, costing them billions of dollars in lost sales. He scoffs at that.”

Jon was the first brainiac to crack the copy protection on DVDs and he wrote a program allowing people to copy DVDs. This is something both U.S. and Norwegian governments has tried to convict him of, with no success.

The article continues: “As for Mr. Johansen, he now says he plans to move to a different jurisdiction with more job opportunities and a better climate--southern California. He hopes to take a job in the computer industry. 'Of course,' he says, 'when I'm in the U.S., I will take great care not to break any U.S. law.' "

Will DVD Jon be part of Norwegian history or just another punk trying to hack himself to the top? Only time will tell, but I hope Norwegian history has no room for the legend of DVD Jon. Perhaps Hollywood will make a movie about his life (which, thanks to the subject's trickery, we can illegally copy using one of his programs).

If you are living in Southern California, look for him at your local DVD rental store. I think we are safe from him here in Minnesota–too cold here for DVD Jon.

If you want to read the story, click here. If you are interested in DVD Jon’s blog click here.


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