Turre Legal

Supreme court denied leave of appeal in the CSS case

Finnish Supreme Court has denied leave of appeal in the CSS case. Decision of the Helsinki Court of Appeal is therefore final.

Supreme Court does not give any arguments why an appeal is denied. Possible practical reasons include that (1) the case started as provocation, (2) it was highly political, and (3) there was no real legal interests as the defendants were acquitted from all charges (albeit for different reason) by the Court of Appeal. Having a new ruling just on court reasoning or the reinterpretation of facts is admittedly rather difficult to have.

So yes, my prediction on Supreme Court precedent was wrong, and the case is basically closed. We might still try the European Court of Human Rights based on freedom of speech arguments, but that’s pretty far away from where we are now.

On the positive side, there is no binding legal precedent on the issue whether viewing DVDs on Linux is legal. My opinion is that applying the correct facts to the legal interpretation of the Court of Appeal the circumvention of CSS scrambling for DVD viewing is indeed legal in Finland.

Herkko Hietanen
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Herkko Hietanen

Lakimies, osakas, kauppatieteiden tohtori, oikeustieteen maisteri at Turre Legal
Lakimies, jolla on 15 vuoden kokemus teknologia- ja mediaoikeudenkäynneistä, startup-yrityksistä ja IT-juridiikasta.
Herkko Hietanen
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  1. Ossi, you are correct on condition that we accept the Court of Appeals statement of facts that you cannot circumvent CSS ”accidentally”. Anyone familiar with CSS encryption knows that many people who circumvent it with some open source player do it without knowing a system called CSS exists in the first place. Think your parents or your wife, for example. This is why I cannot personally accept the conclusions of the Court of Appeals and keep on claiming that CSS is indeed ”ineffective” in Finland with correct reading of the facts. One random court reading the facts like it did (and without hearing the case) does not change my opinion.

  2. It however seems that *distribution* or assisting distribution of DeCSS / libdvdcss components is illegal in Finland.

    It would be interesting to know if posting information about how to obtain decss components can be seen as providing assistance for breaking css. Example: posting a blog entry or newspaper article illustrating how to to add unofficial decss repository for Ubuntu and downloading decss component with package manager.