Norwegian hacker rebuts music piracy criticism

Friday, 28 November 2003, 6:43 PM EST

A Norwegian hacker, famed for defeating Hollywood in a cyber piracy trial, yesterday rejected allegations he had illegally unlocked a code that enables unauthorised copying of music files from the Internet.

Jon Johansen, a 20-year-old computer programmer who was cleared of piracy charges in January, has developed a source code for copying music and posted it on the Internet less than a week before he is due to appear in an Oslo appeals court.

Johansen's code allows users of Apple Computer's new iTunes online music store to break digital rights management (DRM) technology that prevents people copying files downloaded from the service.

On an Internet site named "So Sue Me", Johansen said critics had "failed to understand that by buying into DRM they have given the seller complete control over the product after it's been sold", calling them "clueless about copyright law".

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