Inforights Activists Unite To Free Dmitry Sklyarov

Posted 20 Jul 2001 at 07:44 UTC by MisterBad Share This

A loose coalition of cypherpunks, cyberrights groups, Free Software activists, hacker organizations, and civil rights advocates have united under the umbrella of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) to protest the arrest of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov on July 16th by the FBI in Las Vegas.

Dmitry Sklyarov, an employee of ElcomSoft of Moscow, is the author of a software utility called Advanced eBook Processor. The AEPR allows legitimate purchasers of a digital book format called eBooks to exercise their fair use rights (such as making backup copies or reading eBooks on a Linux machine) with eBook files. These rights are normally impeded by the eBook security system.

Adobe Systems, makers of the eBook, filed a complaint with the FBI about Sklyarov under the criminal section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Based on this complaint, the FBI arrested Dmitry in Las Vegas on July 16th. Sklyarov had given a presentation at Defcon, a convention for security experts, hackers, and cyberrights groups in Las Vegas, about weaknesses in the security system of the Adobe eBook platform.

More coverage of the Sklyarov arrest and information about the legal foundations of the DMCA can be found here:

Concerned cyberrights activists have concentrated around an email list called free-sklyarov. Within days, they have organized a world-wide network of protests scheduled for Monday, July 23rd, 2001. Held outside Adobe Systems' offices, US federal buildings, and US embassies, the protests will raise public awareness of the issues in the case and demand action from Adobe and the US government to free Dmitry Sklyarov and drop all charges.

Already, demonstrations have been scheduled for San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Moscow, Boston, and other cities. In the Bay Area, protesters will be meeting in downtown San Jose at 11:00AM and march to Adobe Systems global headquarters. There, they will demand that Adobe withdraw its complaint and refrain from filing similar complaints under the DMCA.

More information on the Free Sklyarov protests in San Jose and elsewhere is available here:

Fair use, an important doctrine in US copyright law that allows purchasers of copyrighted material limited rights to quote and archive information, has been continually eroded by the DMCA in recent years. Notable cases include the RIAA vs. Napster and the MPAA vs. 2600 Magazine. Those cases, however, were civil suits between industry groups and individuals. It is believed that Sklyarov's is only the second case under the DMCA criminal sections, which went into effect in October of 2000.

Sklyarov has been held without bail and is out of contact with his family in Russia. He is currently in transit to the jurisdiction of the Northern California US Attorney, where the complaint was filed.

Is this for real?, posted 20 Jul 2001 at 14:55 UTC by chakie » (Master)

Oh, America, where art thou going?

Na ubarfg nffrffzrag., posted 20 Jul 2001 at 16:14 UTC by Waldo » (Journeyer)

Nqbor naq gur QPZN pna oybj zr.

Vf vg vyyrtny sbe Nqbor gb ernq guvf?

Vf vg vyyrtny sbe Nqbor gb ernq guvf?, posted 20 Jul 2001 at 16:59 UTC by deven » (Journeyer)

Yrg'f ubcr fb!

Help the EFF help us, posted 20 Jul 2001 at 17:33 UTC by harvey » (Apprentice)

If want to make sure that the abuse of the DMCA stops, one of the best ways to do so is to join the EFF. This way they have the money they need to keep fighting for privacy, fair use, and freedom of speech. Writing letters to your Representative and Senators is another good way to protest.

For those who want a cut and paste answer., posted 21 Jul 2001 at 05:22 UTC by sethcohn » (Master) has a rot-13 encoder decoder...

Unless the FBI has already busted in on them for harboring underaged Qs and Zs.

and /~kominek/rot13/ has a list of wonderful forbidden code in every language... coming soon to a T-Shirt near you.

Letter to My Friends and Family, posted 22 Jul 2001 at 01:32 UTC by goingware » (Master)

I wrote this letter to many of my friends and family last night, most of whom were probably unaware of Dmitry's plight, or even what the DMCA even is.

Perhaps you'd like to forward it to your friends and family, if you'd like to introduce them to the matter in a simple way.

It is hosted at my Free Dmitry! page, where I will also be adding the letters I'm composing to send to my congressional representatives.

A more thorough discussion of the issues involved in the DMCA and Dmitry's arrest can be found in the Background section of The Chicago Free Sklyarov Protest: Pre-Protest Packet. If someone wants to know more about what's going on than I have to say, send them that, it's a plain-text file.

Adobe & EFF Jointly Call for Sklyarov's Release, posted 24 Jul 2001 at 00:48 UTC by goingware » (Master)

Adobe, Electronic Frontier Foundation Call for Release of Russian Programmer.

Note that while Adobe is withdrawing its support for the criminal complaint, it is still asserting its rights under the DMCA.

Adobe earlier put up a much longer press release in support of both the DMCA and Dmitry's arrest, but pulled it after a few hours. Some people had kept copies and have posted them at the latest slashdot discussion.

EFF endorses companies that waffle, posted 25 Jul 2001 at 01:42 UTC by jmg » (Master)

I am very disappointed that the EFF decided to endore Adobe after they caused the whole mess in the first place. Right now, even though Adobe has came back on the "good side," it does nothing to change the damage that they did in the first place. They still will get the prosecution of Dmitry, yet they will end up looking like the good guys because they "saw the light" and removed their request from the FBI to have him arrested.

It still doesn't remove the fact that they brought the charges in the first place. How much do you want to bet that the people who suggested the arrest knew that type of outcry it would bring? And depended upon it to get more publicity for them and make them look like a good guy? We should not excuse people for not thinking before they acted. Either they didn't think, or they knew perfectly well what would happen. In either case, they are still to be blamed for Dmitry's exile from Russia and his family. I hope that the next time an Adobe executive goes over seas that they receive the same treatment so they'll think twice next time.

So, what's the score right now? Adobe is a "good company" because they realized it's not the way to do things. Dmitry is still in jail because of Adobe and the US government for an unconstituional law. FBI is just looking stupid with the whole thing.

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