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Censorship Your Rights Online

Still in DMCA Prison 250

Posted by michael
from the you-can-get-a-good-meal dept.
Let's go over the Sklyarov situation. Sklyarov is still in jail. In fact, he's still in Las Vegas, where he is being held without even a bail hearing, much less bail. The excuse given for not having a bail hearing when he was arrested on July 16 was that he was being immediately transferred to San Jose and would get a hearing there. Anyway, a recap of the protests: San Jose, more San Jose, New York, Seattle, Chicago writeup and Chicago pictures, Moscow writeup and Moscow photo and news coverage: New York Times, Business2.com. Wired has Washington's viewpoint - Representative Coble says "there have been very few complaints from intellectual property holders". Well, duh. Linuxplanet has an opinion piece exploring the Digital Millennium Rape Act. Finally EFF has written a letter to U.S. Attorney Mueller, asking for the U.S. to drop the charges against Sklyarov. It seems pretty doubtful that he will, since he won't want to be seen as soft on crime during his Senate confirmation hearings.
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Still in DMCA Prison

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    As one of the protesters this week who showed up at various federal courthouses around the country to plead for his release, I'd first like to say to the EFF - what in god's name were you thinking? Did you honestly believe the government, when faced with an excellent candidate for persecution - unable to adequately defend himself, Russian, and whose crime most people can't even understand... would simply drop it because an activist group and some random corporation agreed to issue a press release asking for his release? We should still be out there informing the public what the DMCA is and what it means, not sitting at home quietly hoping "it'll be all right".

    That aside, my run-ins with the public suggest it is easier to explain to them that a russian who (questionably) committed a crime in another country and who came here only to give a speech about how it was done is in jail here seems easier for people to grasp than copyright issues. I suggest we focus on that instead.

    ~ Signal 11

  • by Anonymous Coward

    We are the geeks. We are the administrators, the scientists, the engineers, the technicians.

    We keep the modern world running. We have the power to make a statement.

    Other workers have work slowdowns, sickouts, and slowdowns. Why don't we?

    We have the power to bring down the internet, stop the email, interupt phone service, turn off power grids, and many other things. and we should do it.

    On August 1st, shut down the US. Give Congress, the President, and the Corporations something to think about.

    Posted anonymously to keep from being arrested in Amerika

  • by Eric Green (627) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @10:51AM (#61707) Homepage
    There is no militant branch. We're all a bunch of lamers who will rant and rave for a few hours on Slashdot, and tomorrow forget about it. *DO* something? Why, that'd require leaving the computer keyboard!

    -E

  • As we know, corporations care only about profit. They will happily pay for legislation circumventing fair use rights, and then they will have people thrown into jail for breaking those laws.

    Who is responsible? If you asked Adobe's CEO, he would say: "I'm just doing what the shareholders want me to do; I have to maximize the return on their investment. DMCA may be ugly, but it sure is good for the profit prospects of us IP companies. My owners tell me to maximize profit, that's what I'm being paid for, and that's what I do."

    And he's right: the ultimate culpability lies with the owners. The buck stops with the shareholders, nowhere else. Ultimately, owners are responsible for what is perpetrated in their names and with their money.

    Do you own Adobe stock? Have you checked the holdings of the funds in your retirement accounts lately? Maybe you yourself are responsible for this mess?

    --

  • so the police should pick and choose laws to enforce?

    They are doing that already. Here in MN, oral sex between consenting (even married) adults is illegal, and the penalty is higher than that for prostitution. Still, the police does not have undercover operations in single bars with offers for oral sex. Plenty of undercover operations with offers for sex for sale though.

    --

  • The whole point of the article was to show the absurd philosophy behind the DMCA, namely that potential guilt = actual guilt (otherwise known as "guilty until proven innocent," which last I checked was unconstitutional) for what it really is.

    I do admit to taking issue with the article's promoting the horrid misconception that only men can commit rape, however; the subjects of the DMRA should have been anyone with a set of genitals, or a mouth or rectum (if you consider forced anal or oral sex to be forms of rape, which most do).
    ----------
  • You can also send a Telegram [westernunion.com].

    On the positive side, it's just $9.95 (for 1000 characters), is delivered to your recipient's address rather than just showing up in that day's mail, and you can send it over the net. However, telegrams of today are not what they were in the fifties. Apparently, Western Union just prints your message out on telegram stationery and sends it next-day on Airborne Express. And if you're sending it to a congressperson, they may regularly get several telegrams a day anyhow.

    I've never sent or received a telegram -- this is all gleaned from Western Union's site. But that's the thing, although just about everyone knows what a telegram is, they're quite rare in this country these days (even in Washington, D.C. when compared to a generation or two ago). They used to be common before affordable long-distance calling, but now they're a surprising curiosity. Most people in the US under the age of forty or fifty have probably never gotten a telegram in their life. So this looks like a possible way to register your opinion with some impact without ever having to leave your computer.

    Anyone have experience sending or getting telegrams with WU's current system?

  • by GeorgeH (5469) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:41AM (#61714) Homepage Journal
    If you want to know how far the government is willing to go to "protect" us from these cyber-criminals, check out the Kevin Mitnick [kevinmitnick.com] case. He was held in pre-trial detention for four years without a bail hearing.

    I know it's l4m3 to talk about Kevin Mitnick and I'll get modded down for it, but even if you're with the "He stole millions of dollars by copying source code" camp you still have to agree that being held without a bail hearing for four years is a bit fishy.

    Now it's starting to happen to a legitimate software developer. Who's next...
    --
  • and I do not know if it exists in United States law.
  • Along with the Creationist debate, this gun problem seems to be a typical American nonsense. And they are similar at least in a point, both base their claims in an ancient text written in a complete different context. Both groups will also invent all kinds of rationalizations and outright lies to mantain their faces (see the source of the statistic quoted out of context here, originating this debate: the figures are the result of a method change - url in a comment bellow).

    I really have laugh when a gun nut say he/she has weapons to defend their homes from the evil government (and in Waco we all have seem how well guns will defend your home when the evil government wants in).

    I am also amazed by poorly trained civilians thinking they can defend themselves from criminals for whom guns are everyday professional tools.

    As for "if guns are banned only criminals will have guns", it makes a neat slogan but also a neat instance of double-talk. The whole point of the exercise is to make sure only criminals have guns! So, when the police spot a gun they don't need any other clue, they know they are in front of a criminal.
  • by Pac (9516) <paulo...candido@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @10:36AM (#61720)
    I have read the same figures elsewhere. It was in a BBC site sometime last month, I think.

    But what is not clear to me is the relation between the gun-banning law and this number. You see, if you ban guns doesn't possessing a gun become a "gun related-crime"?

    If so, and if gun-possession crimes are included in the mighty 40% increase (making all this wonderfully circular), we are just seeing a FUD campaign, cortesy of our ever present friends, the gun-nuts.
  • Last I checked, Adobe wanted Sklyarov freed [cnet.com]. What good is punishing *them* going to do?
  • Maybe that's why Adobe wants the charges dropped [cnet.com]. It's likely they wanted the decrypting software removed from the market, but didn't want to see him arrested for it. At least that's how I see it.
  • While my feelings on gun control are ambivelent at best -- Western Europe has less crime, but look at what happened in the balkans without the "check" gun-advocates argue private gun ownership helps hold our governments in check, and consider Switzerland, in which virtually every adult citizen is required to own and have ready a firearm, and the picture becomes decidedly more confused, leading a reasonable person to suppose other influences in the lower crime rates, like (gasp) more social justice and a less uneven distribution of wealth, leading to less privation and desparation overall than what one typically sees in the United States.

    Be that as it may, the statistic you question does appear to be in reference to guns being used in offenses:


    An independent report, Illegal Firearms in the UK, to be published by the Centre for Defence Studies at King's College in London tomorrow, says that handguns were used in 3,685 offences last year compared with 2,648 in 1997, an increase of 40 per cent.[Bamber, 2001 [telegraph.co.uk]]


    While not beyond the realm of possibility that one might cook the statistics by including gun possession and misdefining possession as "use," were that the case I think we would be hearing about it from the pro-gun control side of the issue, loudly. It would, in fact, be an outright lie to use the word "used" in conjunction with mere passive possession, so while I don't comletely rule out your scenerio for pro-gun people cooking the stats, I do consider it to be very, very unlikely in this particular case.

    I don't know exactly where I come down on this debate, except to say that the more I watch my own government in action in Washington, particularly with respect to the DMCA and Dmitry, the less inclined I am to trust their motives in taking away my right to own a firearm. On the other hand, living in downtown Chicago I don't have such a right anyway (handguns are illegal in the city, and other firearms strongly discouraged)[1], so any arguments pro- or con- are necessarilly rather theoretical from my standpoint.

    [1]Of course, only the police and the criminals (by definition ... the joys of writing laws is that anyone who acts in opposition to such law is automatically a criminal, making the entire injustice system rather circular in definition.
  • If the government is making procedural mistakes now, won't those mistakes be possible grounds for getting the trial thrown out later?

    What a clever way to get away with terrorizing the community, without ever having to actually defend the Constitutionality of the law that makes it possible (DMCA) in court. Lose the case after doing the damage, without ever getting The Supremes involved.


    ---
  • No. They aren't "some of the most highly..." etc. They are paid considerably less than management. Actually, the average pay of high-tech workers has constantly been overestimated, because the funny-money stock was being computed in as a part of their wages. When the stock collapsed, they had an extensive retroactive pay cut.

    That's rather beside the point, however. Most of the money is from the corporate coffers, and isn't a part of anybody's salary. But management gets to spend it as it chooses "for the benefit of the company". But this is always interpreted to mean "for the benefit of the management", which is in some ways the benefit of the company, and in others is quite divergent. And it also depends on how you define the company. If the company is all of the people who work for it, then management is usually direlect in its duties.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@ear ... t ['hli' in gap]> on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @12:05PM (#61739)
    Why do you believe that Adobe wants the charges dropped? Just because they say so? What effective actions toward that end have they taken?

    I'm sorry. I feel that the crocodile tears were just that, and no more to be believed. Have they offered to pay for the defense? Have they offered to meet whatever bond is demanded? They set him up, so unless they take effective action to redress their wrong, I won't believe their public speech is anything other than a PR ploy.


    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • Sorry, but "I was only following orders" didn't cut it at the Nazi war crimes trials and doesn't cut it now.

    Exactly. IIRC all police dept. Oaths of Service include language to the effect that make it the job of the officers to not only enforce Constitutional laws, but it is their duty to refuse to enforce an illegal law, and their duty to refuse orders to the contrary. I don't know what oath FBI agents take, but it should be very much inline with the rest of law enforcement in this country.

    --
  • So, although the soundbite is "ban handguns, crime up 40%", the actual effect is an annual increase of between 2% and 7%. As a gun-hating liberal, I was quite surprised by this. If the gun-nuts used that number more people might listen to them. But instead they prefer to whip their supporters into a frenzy, while alienating people who can actually do math.

    As a person who carries a gun for self-defense, I am glad to hear you respond rationally. There are Bill of Rights supporters who are over-the-top zealots, the same as the anti-Bill of Rights folks. If only we could get everyone to be rational in the discussion of these issues.

    --
  • These posts call for an invocation of Godwin's Law. Can we go back to talking about Sklyarov & the DMCA?
  • "But I wonder if those same advocates would be as protective of a piece of technology that helps people obtain their personal information online."
    --Allan Adler

    I don't blame the technology that collects my personal data (web bugs, cookes, databases). I blame the people who use this technology for dishonorable purposes. Cookies can be used to track my surfing habits without my knowledge, and they can retain my preferences and login information so I don't have to relogin to Slashdot every time I visit.

    In the same way, copy protection circumvention devices can be used for making legitimate backups and shifting the data to other devices and operating systems, or they can be used for piracy. Don't blame the tool, blame the person who uses the tool.

  • They obviously are not reading the stuff their voting on.

    It's worse than that - they know they are writing and passing laws that stifle our freedoms and violate the Constitution, but they either don't care or actively oppose freedom for us little people.

  • by meldroc (21783) <meldroc@@@frii...com> on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:47AM (#61748) Homepage Journal
    Habeas Corpus is Latin for "Produce the body". In legal terms, it means that the government can't imprison someone for more that a couple days without charging him with a crime. I do believe that Sklyarov has already had an arraignment hearing where he was formally charged, then denied bail, so he already had his Habeas Corpus rights fulfilled.
  • Yes, but it can be tried in civil court aka DeCSS, without having to risk someone spending years in jail.
  • I've posted on this before - your idea while nice simply is not effective. If every single /. reader took your advice and never bought another CD, DVD, or movie ticket, you know what would happen? Nothing, they would never even notice the 1% "slump" in sales (if it were even that much). I myself have only been to two movies in the past year, have bought no CD's and only about two DVD's, yet the industry doesn't seem to be hurting for money.

    Instead we need to focus resources where it will get noticed. I write my reps in the house and senate (on paper). I donate money to the EFF to help fight the legal battles that are the ONLY WAY we will ever see the DMCA go away (no matter how much sales dropped the music industry would still cling to the DMCA - it's just how they think). If you want to stop buying DVD's and send that money the the EFF then fine, just don't pretend that simply not purchasing a DVD is really doing anything to help.

    Your idea also hurts artists and other people who are just caught in the middle. While the people who run these industries may be robber-baron evil, the workers are not. So, focus your efforts on areas where fighting is really effective!
  • >It seems pretty doubtful that he will, since he won't want to be seen as soft on crime during his Senate confirmation hearings.

    This is quite possibly one of the most cynical things I've heard in months. Give me a break, the guy is interested in upholding the LAW, as is Ashcroft. You haven't noticed the difference since El Reno left? Come on now...
  • If you don't want someone arrested, why would you call the FBI and accuse them [Skylarov] of a felony?

    --
  • Thank you.

    last year below means 2000.

    handguns were used in 3,685 offences last year compared with 2,648 in 1997, an increase of 40 per cent Actually it's very slightly over 39%, but whatever.

    It reveals an increase in crimes using shotguns [not banned], up from 580 in 1997 to 693 last year. That's 19%.

    Offences involving air weapons [not banned] show an even more startling rise, from 7,506 in 1997 to 10,103 last year [2000]. That's
    34%.

    So, although the soundbite is "ban handguns, crime up 40%", the actual effect is an annual increase of between 2% and 7%. As a gun-hating liberal, I was quite surprised by this. If the gun-nuts [slashdot.org] used that number more people might listen to them. But instead they prefer to whip their supporters into a frenzy, while alienating people who can actually do math.


    --
  • "We" are not like the Christian Coalition which is united by a fundamental belief system (pardon the pun.) Most of my co-workers really don't know or care about this issue. When I mention things like the DMCA or Dimitry at lunch people treat it more philosophically than as an actual issue. And this is in an IT department for a newspaper.

    The fact is, Big Media employs more people; is united; and has more political muscle than a heavily divided IT industry. I wish it wasn't so but it is. And politicians aren't listening to us as so depressingly pointed out in the Wired article.

    I don't have an answer to this problem except to say that those who actually give a rip press on and hope enough people begin to care.

  • I'm constantly amazed at how willing some people are to cut off their nose to spite their face.
  • Sure. And if I still have my job after being remiss in my duties I can spend the next month or two cleaning up the network.

    I'd rather explain to my boss that the distribution system we're considering purchasing may not be as secure as the vendor proposes because it is using Adobe's products to deliver the articles.Unfortunately, though I could, I won't get the program to test it because I would be violating the DMCA. As the vendor could have me arrested for proving their product isn't secure I won't take that risk. Not covered in my job description.

    btw, that's a real world example and in my mind much more effective than some "Let's shut down the Internet" pipe dream.

  • And also passed by a Republican controlled Congress. Isn't bi-partisanship a wonderful thing?
  • The example I gave along with writing my congresscritters, protesting when I can, and using my money to support organizations like the EFF instead of going out to see a movie or buy a dvd are by far superior than what is being proposed in this thread. Shutting down the internet or being derelict in one's job only serves to give more fuel to the demonization of the hacker community and guarantees that more laws will be passed.

    I'm sure the next time some nasty virus/worm/exploit comes down the pipe and I don't take care of it, the person who lost four months of research on a story will be more than receptive to hear "Free Dimitry!" as an excuse.

    Not.

  • The problem isn't with the Justice Department, the problem is with the law. The solution would be to get the Movie & Music industries to notice we are fed up with the DMCA. Simply stop buying CD's or going to movies for a year. The companies will find their profits drying up, the stockholders will want to know why and the executives will have to come up with better models for selling things to the public instead of sneaking laws like the DMCA under the fence. Enroll your family & friends -- just say no to movies & music. Patronize your library or a used book store instead.

    It will not free Sklyarov now, but it will make people think twice about pulling something like this in the future. ADOBE still remains on my "do not purchase list", perhaps forever.

    Also, organize concerted efforts to let your local radio and television stations know about this. Have several friends call their "news tips" desk. Point out how the U.S. is volating Sklyarov's rights and creating an international incident all because the record & movie companies want to make you pay every time you listen to, or view, one of their products. The Supreme Court has said if you own it you can use it any way you want.

  • Right. Adler is clearly a fuckwit. It's worth pointing out that to obtain personal information about me by breaking encryption, you'd also have to hack into computers, thereby breaking many laws already on the books, which just makes the DMCA look irrelevant, as well being an unconsititutional, consumer-screwing, freedom-killing POS.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.
  • It doesn't keep you from cracking systems. That's already illegal. If you don't know that, you're really to stupid to be reasoned with.

    It does prevent you from using encryption-cracking technology to access a copyrighted database floating around on a CD somewhere, but I can't imagine why that would ever be the case. I challenge you to come up with any circumstance where the DMCA would stop you from doing anything harmful that would be legal without the DMCA.

    Anyone who even pretends to value freedom is under the burden of demonstrating, for any given law, that it can actually prevent or punish something that causes palpable harm to others, that it does not unduly limit the freedom of those not causing such harm through such actions, and that the law does not restrict an overly broad class of activity. The DMCA fails miserably on every count.

    Boss of nothin. Big deal.
    Son, go get daddy's hard plastic eyes.

  • You've provided a lot of links - tell me, are the dead tree news outlets saying the same?

    Several of the links provided earlier were from newspapers. Here's the local paper's take on the matter (of course, since "local"=="Las Vegas", it follows that there'd be an article here):

    http://www.lvrj.com/lvrj_home/2001/Jul-18-Wed-2001 /news/16563325.html [lvrj.com]

    What about Television - where has the DMCA and the Sklyarov arrest been mentioned?

    Can't say, as most TV news is slanted so far to the left I don't waste my time with it. Local TV news might've covered it, but I couldn't say one way or the other. (Actually, someone else posted a link to KTNV's website [ktnv.com] in one of the other Sklyarov threads here on /., so I guess the local TV news media have covered the matter.) The only TV news program I follow with any regularity is Fox News Sunday [foxnews.com], and their website indicates they didn't cover this issue.

  • The FBI's job is to enforce the law...Just keep in mind, the folks who made the law are to blame, not the folks mandated to enforce it.

    Sorry, but "I was only following orders" didn't cut it at the Nazi war crimes trials and doesn't cut it now.

    Separation of powers has a purpose; legislatures can (in theory) prevent bad laws from passive, executives can (in theory) prevent bad laws from being enforced, and judiciaries can (in theory) prevent anyone from being convicted under bad laws.

    None of them gets to use the "look what you made me do" [mat.upm.es] excuse.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • In AAP's case, they're for free speech, but against free beer. It's only ironic if you confuse the two meanings of 'free'. Or if you find it necessary to put everyone into only two groups: agree with us, or disagree with us.
    --
  • The FBI and the DOJ are going to be unwitting accomplices in the death of the DMCA. Civil Rights meets Human Rights meets censorship meets international law = fucking firestorm.

    Many have simultaneously expressed great regret that Dmitry has to sit in prison, and fear that the anti-DMCA sentiments will whither once he is released. This ambivalence is not dangerous unless it is self-fulfilling. Releasing Dmitry does not prevent another corp from having their rent-a-cops (FBI) from arresting another programmer.

    Tell people Dmitry's story, celebrate his eventual release, and use it as a reminder when you start to think you don't have to get the DMCA repealed. Until it is repealed, there is still work to do.
  • I had a few people like you walk past me on Monday. "No, I don't want to read about why you're protesting." What, is your brain too full? Simply don't have the time to learn about injustice and erosion of the US constitution?

    I admit, putting fliers on cabin doors might be less effective than knocking on them and talking to the occupants; but face it: if it is the wrong time to tell you about how the DOJ is arresting innocent foriegn nationals while you walk to and from lunch, or while you are at your cabin, or while you are at a bar... When is the right time? When you sit in front of the TV and have it fed to you?

    I don't know what to do about people like you, but I'm determined to find out. In the mean time, I'll talk to the people whose brains aren't full yet.
  • by underwhelm (53409) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .mlehwrednu.> on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:23AM (#61780) Homepage Journal
    Declan's article reads a little like propaganda, but I have no issues with being manipulated by it's message: our elected representatives have issued a challenge to the American people. They want to hear that we're upset about losing our rights to free speech and fair use. Like petulant Gods, they are toying with our lives to see if we will offer sacrifices, request forgiveness, or openly defy them in our evolution as a democracy. Only defiance will get the DMCA to go away. Any other course of action will doom us to greater injustice as they extend the boundaries of their unconstitutional behavior.

    Americans do not think about copyright, Americans would rather not think about people in prison. Americans have a tendency to think circularly: people arrested must be criminals. All laws passed by congress are legitimate. We have an uphill battle convincing them that Dmitry has done nothing wrong, and that the DMCA is unconstitutional.

    Don't accept "the Supreme Court will handle it." Who says they will? Why wait for the justice system? Once a sufficient number of Americans are informed about the existence of the DMCA and the erosion of their rights, we can make congress uphold their oaths and protect the constitiution like they should have done in the beginning.

    The system is being challenged in court. Fine. But that is not justification for twiddling our thumbs in the mean time. Action now makes it easier for the judges to strike down the DMCA. Action now makes it easier for shy, right-thinking congress people to speak out about what a travesty the DMCA is.

    Tell 3 people today about the DMCA. Join a protest next week, and tell 1,000. Make people think, encourage people to reason.

    Free Dmitry.
    Repeal the DMCA.

    Why wait?
  • > "The Tree of Liberty must, from time to time, be watered with the blood of patriots"
    >
    > - Thomas Jefferson
    > And ill probably be arrested for quoting him.

    Naah, you only get arrested if you quote him like this:

    "Gur Gerr bs Yvoregl zhfg, sebz gvzr gb gvzr, or jngrerq jvgu gur oybbq bs cngevbgf."
    - Gubznf Wrssrefba

    Which reminds me, it's time to update my .sig file.

    "Now that crypto is outlawed, only outlaws quote Wrssrefba."

  • The upcoming senate hearings for confirmation of the new FBI director and regarding the apparent malfeasance of the FBI ( and incompetence ) should provide an opportunity for us to lobby our congresscritters to seek information on why Dimitri is being held without bail etc. This is a real-time example of the FBI not following constitutional guidelines in its daily operations.

    Z

  • by Kintanon (65528) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @11:49AM (#61783) Homepage Journal
    Woah! I dunno where you got that idea, but the US Consitution applies to every human being within the US borders. Even illegal aliens are protected by the constitution.

    Kintanon
  • tell me, are the dead tree news outlets saying the same

    Um, last time I checked, the New York Times (linked to from the main article) and Boston globe (one of these links you're criticizing) are real newspapers- They just also happen to have a copy of the content online.

  • by bwt (68845)
    Representative Coble says "there have been very few complaints from intellectual property holders".

    This is the sickest thing I have heard in a long time. Does this man care nothing for the public interest? We need to use him as the poster boy of a big media lapdog in Congress.

    Mr. Coble: I am an intellectual property holder. I write copyrighted software. I detest the DMCA almost as much as I detest corrupt politician like you who sell government backed censorship to the big media special interests without even realizing or caring about the public interest. The fact that you equate "intellectual property holders" as someone different than the legions of citizens who are shocked by the draconian law is a testimony to what is wrong with copyright law. Copyright has become a joke because fools like you in power can only think about the interests of the large monied publishing companies that fund your reelection campaigns. The only good thing that will come out of the DMCA is some humor value at watching you learn how futile your pathetic law is.
  • by bwt (68845)
    That is a GREAT resource!! My Congressman (Lamar Smith R-TX) got only 18% PAC contributions, with a good mix of big and small individual contributors.

    You sure are right! Coble got 80%. No wonder he's their lapdog.

    By the way, here is a breakdown [opensecrets.org] of big media campaign spending. Soft money galore.
  • by bwt (68845)
    More great stuff from http://www.opensecrets.org/

    Individual Donor:

    VALENTI, JACK
    WASHINGTON, DC 20007
    MOTION PICTURE ASSOC OF AMERICA

    03/10/1999 $ 500 Lone Star Fund
    03/24/2000 $1,000 Biden, Joseph R Jr
    03/01/1999 $ 500 Lofgren, Zoe
    03/10/1999 $ 500 Frost, Martin
    12/20/1999 $1,000 Abraham, Spencer
    08/04/1999 $1,000 Hatch, Orrin G
    11/09/1999 $ 500 Coggins, Regina Montoya
    02/08/2000 $1,000 Harman, Jane
    02/08/2000 $1,000 Harman, Jane
    02/24/2000 $ 500 Wu, David
    08/17/1999 $1,000 Democratic Leader's Victory Fund 2000
    09/07/1999 $ 250 Restore America PAC
    09/15/1999 $1,000 Berman, Howard L
    01/29/1999 $1,000 Gore, Al
    11/17/1999 $ 500 Wareing, Peter Staub
    08/17/1999 $1,000 Gephardt, Richard A
    03/31/2000 $1,000 Dingell, John D
    10/07/1999 $1,000 Hyde, Henry J
    10/07/1999 $1,000 Hyde, Henry J
    06/07/1999 $ 500 Casey, Patrick
    04/02/1999 $ 500 Svornich, Rudolph Jr
    06/23/1999 $ 500 Clyburn, James E
    12/29/2000 $1,000 Baucus, Max
    06/09/2000 $1,000 Lewis, John
    06/10/1999 $ 500 Watts, J C Jr
    03/25/1999 $1,000 Markey, Edward J
    05/26/1999 $1,000 Conyers, John Jr
    05/22/2000 $ 250 Lugar, Richard G
    03/15/2000 $ 250 Lugar, Richard G
    10/21/1999 $1,000 Bush, George W
    04/11/2000 $1,000 McCain, John
    09/14/1999 $1,000 Gore, Al
    09/30/1999 $1,000 McCain, John
  • by cananian (73735) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:12AM (#61793) Homepage
    Boston write-up and pictures [freesklyarov.org], Wired article on the protests [wired.com], On-line petition [dibona.com], IDG story [idg.net], CNN copy of the original Reuters story [cnn.com] (better late than never!), ironic page on the AAP website [publishers.org] (the AAP issued a press release defending Adobe and the DMCA).
  • I sent this off to Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby of Alabama yesterday. Feel free to use it as a basis for similar letters to your elected officials.

    Dear Senator _____, Recently, Dmitry Sklyarov was arrested and jailed in Las Vegas for distributing a software program. This software is allegedly illegal under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Although I strongly oppose the DMCA, I had neglected to write any letters to my elected officials until now. I had falsely believed that violations of the DMCA would be settled in civil court. Only now do I realize what a truly chilling effect the DMCA has on our freedoms. I am very saddened that a foreign visitor with a wife and child can be thrown into jail for what is essentially a thought crime.

    Mr. Sklyarov was doing a presentation at a convention on software he had written for his employer in Russia. This software would decrypt e-books created with software by Adobe Systems Inc. Fair uses of these e-books were limited by Adobe's software. The Adobe software limits abilities to print, share, and quote these books. Mr. Sklyarov's decryption software is not illegal in Russia. The software can only be used by someone that lawfully purchases an e-book. If I purchased an Adobe e-book, I could use Mr. Sklyarov's software to transfer this e-book to a handheld computer so I could read it on the road. I could use the software to input the text into a screen-reader for a deaf family member. I could use the software to quote passages for an academic paper. Although some may disagree with me, I believe that these fair uses are within my legal rights.

    Copyright infringement is wrong. Mr. Sklyarov is not charged with copyright infringement. He is charged with distribution of software that, in addition to allowing fair use by legitimate consumers, might be used by others to infringe on copyrights. It is ridiculous that this alleged "crime" could result in a five-year prison sentence.

    Currently, the office in charge of prosecuting Mr. Sklyarov (the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California) is headed by Robert S. Mueller III. Mr. Mueller is President Bush's nominee for director of the FBI. Mr. Mueller has shown a special interest in computer-related cases. Please consider how Mr. Mueller handles the case of Dmitry Sklyarov when voting on the nomination. If you have a chance to ask questions during the nomination hearings, please bring up the Sklyarov case.

    I do not know how Mr. Sklyarov's case will turn out. Adobe has already dropped support of Mr. Sklyarov's prosecution. Hopefully he will be released and allowed to return to his family in Russia. I find it ironic that someone from Russia can come to America and be arrested for a thought crime. I consider the DCMA an affront to the freedom of all Americans and hope that you and your colleagues will have the wisdom to repeal it.

    Sincerely,
    Matt Shook

  • I went looking for a collection of 'congresscritters quotes' on the DMCA. Why? As I remember on The Reg, one of the 'big' supporters who spoke on record about how wonderful this protection would be for the digital age, has later said that he's changed his mind.

    Such statements of "Whoops" are powerful, yet the anti-DMCAers have not taken the time to collect them :-(

    Or, am I not looking in the correct places?
  • Sir, are you implying that if the opportunity arose, that I would not be willing to give my life in the defense of principles I hold dear? For shame Sir, For shame. Perhaps you are the one who would shirk your responsibility to eternal vigilance, and by implying that I am a coward, you validate your own cowardace.
  • by cybercuzco (100904) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:17AM (#61804) Homepage Journal
    Hey, the russians are already doing capitalism better than we are, who put the first paying customer in space? Maybe now they can do freedom better too ;-)
  • by cybercuzco (100904) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:06AM (#61805) Homepage Journal
    "The Tree of Liberty must, from time to time, be watered with the blood of patriots"

    -Thomas Jefferson

    And ill probably be arrested for quoting him.

  • Issues like this one really make me ache for a time more free and honest. And it makes me send in my EFF donation a little faster.

    Idea: If Slashdot is partially about "stuff the matters" how about letting the Slashdot readers voice a public, collective opinion?

    When stories like this one come around, where having an opinion bloc to point to can sway others, why not let the collective voice of Slashdot readers be in public view? Say a poll attached to the article, and keep the results out there in front for folks to use as fodder as necessary. We'll all know a bit better where the crowd sits on the issue too. And folks could easily opt-out of the system if they choose.

    Bad idea?

  • by Ethidium (105493) <chia_tek@yahoo . c om> on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:53AM (#61809) Homepage Journal
    I'd like to prefix this by saying: IANAL. Just an amateur constitutional scholar. That said, I'd like to try to clarify some of the questions that have been raised in response to this suggestion:

    First, from the U.S. Constitution, Article I Section 9:

    "The Privilege of the writ of habeas ccorpus shall not be suspended, unless, when in cases of reballion or invasion, the public safety may require it."[Emphasis added]

    Notice that it says nothing about applying only to citizens.

    A writ of habeas corpus is a court order demanding that the person of the imprisoned be brought before the court, and that the authority who holds him justify itself, usually by filing charges. Habeas corpus is latin for "give us the body!" The privilege of the writ has only been suspended once in US history, by Abraham Lincoln during the civil war. It doesn't say in the constitution who may suspend it, but legal scholars up until that point had always assumed that it was up to congress, for two reasons:

    1) Under British common law, from which much of US law is taken, only parliament may suspend the privilege of the writ

    2) The above quote is in Article I, which details the congress.

    Hope this helps ease the confusion.

  • by smack.addict (116174) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @10:29AM (#61813)
    maybe it's a good thing (long term) that he's not being released. at least then some people might see just what a ridiculous thing this act is... and some courts might have a chance to blow the DMCA out of the water.

    The problem with this is that it is not Dmitry's battle to fight. He is Russian. It is the responsibility of Americans to fight for the freedom of Americans, not Russians or anyone else.

  • by 348 (124012) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:25AM (#61817) Homepage
    I can understand your point givig that any press is good press. I read through the other posts so far and got to thinking. .. Would I want to be a martyr for this cause?, would I risk the pain of eing seperated from my family? Would I rick my job,resulting in lack of vehicle to support my family, pay the mortgage etc.

    I don't think so. Not in my case.

    I do think that I would go to a high degree of pain for the cause, but in this case there may be better avenues. Eating this much crap to just hopefully get a little press is a little much. I personally would bow out and focus my time and energy on a more controlled campaign.

    That being said, just to add my little opinion to the thread, I think what the authorities are doing here is just plain horrible. They're ignoring the constitution on one hand, while referencing and hiding behind it on the other.

    More race stuff in one place,

  • by fobbman (131816) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @10:25AM (#61820) Homepage

    Microsoft was the true source of the Red Worm virus in an attempt to remind the Whitehouse who REALLY is the world super power.

    Luckily their planned attack went through the same beta testing and forethought as the rest of their software.

  • by StaticEngine (135635) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:36AM (#61821) Homepage
    We lobby Congress, but it has little effect, because money buys legal power, not shouting voices, no matter how Right those voices may be.

    But why are we playing by their rules? If we really want to be heard, we should use our abilities to make ourselves heard. America needs the developers, techies, and computer savvy people who oppose the DMCA to function as a country, to remain economically viable, and to remain internationally competetive.

    Personally, I think we should show the nation just how much power they've inadvertantly given us. We should strike, or perform some equivalant that cripples the software and internet infrastructure that runs this economy. We should make a statement that shows that unless America listens to the very people who have created this Digital World, we're not going to give it to them anymore.

    Sure, we'll get initially labeled as "evil hackers" and social miscreants, but we're educated enough to know that that's the price of freedom. And we're also the only people who can bail the country out of a technical catastrophe. The fact is that America needs us much more than America needs bogus laws that protect the wealthiest of companies. And we're everywhere, in every industry, and influencing every aspect of life.

    Like the Patriots who threw tea overboard in Boston Harbor to protest unjust laws, we shall show that without the foundation technology upon which the Nation depends, no law prohibiting it's advancement and the open table research thereof shall survive or be tolerated.

  • Well, what are services that developers give to corporations that if we withheld them, it wouldn't be illegal?

    Maybe some open-source software that corporations rely on could change their licenses so they only work for open-source purposes. Like apache could include a mod by default that would make it so that commercial browsers wouldn't server the correct pages. Or the various server programs.... make the stuff that is already free "crippleware" if used for certain purposes. That's not illegal, right? They're freely available. Corporations rely on services we give them for free. No reason we can't hold them for ransom, payable in guaranteed rights.

    tune

  • Don't tell us, tell your Senator, then tell the attorney general.
  • But why are we playing by their rules? If we really want to be heard, we should use our abilities to make ourselves heard. America needs the developers, techies, and computer savvy people who oppose the DMCA to function as a country, to remain economically viable, and to remain internationally competetive.

    Well, I would probably say that you should read "Democracy in America", specifically the portion on tyranny of the majority. The last hope we had was the courts, and they sided firmly with everyone else.

    You are right that the creators have a lot of power. They make what everyone else uses and needs to live and continue to have US society function. But that power can only be checked in two ways, either by destroying what you make, or by denying access to that knowledge and future knowledge.

    I don't see how destroying peoples' ability to go places on the web will make any friends. It will piss people off, and when you piss a lot of people off, they tend to pound on you and think later (if at all). By doing what you suggest, you may not realize that people become intractible in the face of adversity...they will kill the person that makes the fire if that person puts the fire out, and they will NOT feel sorry for killing you later.

    I have another thought along those lines, though. Read the following quote:

    "We believe that a careful effort was made by Congress to balance the rights of intellectual property owners and the rights of intellectual property consumers," says Allan Adler, vice president at the Association of American Publishers, which applauded Sklyarov's arrest last week.

    Do you see what I see? These people are doing what their own expectations lead them to believe...the ones who own the money and the IP are happy (the owners) and the ones who use the stuff are happy (the consumers). But this guy and most folks in general COMPLETELY ignore the CREATORS. Being ignored is a good thing sometimes. Yeah, if the creators rock the boat, the owners will get pissed off and get something like the DMCA passed (oh, wait, that already happened). The consumers get pissed off if the creators trash everything, because the creators are not the owners in the US, or VERY rarely, but definitely not in this situation.

    There is something every creator can do to stop the machinery. Walk away. Stop working for them. Whatever you do, don't do it all at once, and do it smart. Here is what I suggest, because if enough people stop working, I guarantee you the shit will hit the fan, just not immediately, and time can only help people who are ignored:

    1. Get a passport. Start looking online at other countries who will protect your rights to create. Visit those countries, make sure you like what you see. Become conversant with ALL of the ways of getting legally inside their borders. You would even be better off getting a passport from a US protectorate, just so you can say you are not even from the US if you get stopped by the local cops before you can cross.

    2. Follow the proposal and passage of laws closely, both federally and by border states in the US. When something actually gets to a committee that will prevent people with technical knowledge from freely travelling, get your things together. Don't look at me like I am some kind of crank- DMCA got passed on a voice vote on the floor, with ZERO arguements. FYI, acts that modify constitutional rights are supposed to be voted on by ballot, but that took to long for Congress. Don't think they won't do it again. Some kind of bill preventing "a rare and precious US resource" from moving outside the borders is all anyone needs to place coders and such folks under a special provisional status.

  • by Emugamer (143719) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:13AM (#61827) Homepage Journal
    Yep and none of that fancy email stuff either....
    Type or handwrite(if you still remember how) to your "friends" on the Hill and express your outrage. Tell them what you think as a voter and as one of the most in demand workers on the planet (its true) on how these laws are not helpful to the US.

    A couple of words of caution for those of you in the thros of rage.
    Do not swear
    Do not threaten to kill them if they do not comply
    Do not include c4 or other explosives "to get your point across"
  • Stop being an asshole. There's a huge difference between a strike and blowing up a building. Someone who looks at women isn't a "rapist in training".
  • by EschewObfuscation (146674) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:24AM (#61829) Journal
    Although I agree with the people who point out that Adobe probably changed their stance fully knowing that they'd accomplished their goal of intimidation (why should they continue to get bad press when they'd already gotten what they wanted?), I'd also like to point out that Adobe, by this, is not longer the proper target for activists.

    The EFF has moved to targeting the US Attorney [eff.org] on the case. Further action against Adobe, while perhaps deserved, would be fruitless.

    We need to move on to the next step in getting Dmitry released, and in continuing to fight the DMCA. If we do this right, we might be able to get the entire law overturned.

    (email addr is at acm, not mca)
    We are Number One. All others are Number Two, or lower.

  • Why is someone who owns a gun and determined to defend his right to do so a "nut"?

    Is there something intriniscally nutty about owning a gun? Or is this just another example of the logical fallacy of attacking the person [datanation.com] you are arguing with rather than coming up with a valid argument to support your conclusion?

    Everytime you call someone a "gun nut" you actually weaken any rational argument in favor of gun control. So don't do it. Rather, explain why the 2nd amendment is flawed and why individual citizens should not own firearms. Do so in a way that makes your argument stronger than the argument of those who maintain that the right to own firearms is an important liberty.

    Unless you can't come up with such an argument in which case using a logical fallacy is your only hope. Hmm, come to think of it thats probably why the term "gun nut" gets thrown around so much. Its too hard to come up with a valid argument, so you take the easy way out and label people.

  • by TheFrood (163934) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:11AM (#61833) Homepage Journal

    When Howard Coble says:

    "The law is performing the way we hoped... As far as I know there have been very few complaints from intellectual property holders."

    what he means is

    "My customers are very happy with their purchase."

    TheFrood

  • ..Yep.. In a round-a-bout way thats what I meant. Corporate law is made purely by profit motive.. And what your talking about (in terms of inconvenience) is a form of profit motive. If I paid $200 bucks for a fancy new digital music player, and then find out that it won't play anything but Celine Dion music, I'd be pissed.. Lost money is a negative profit motive, but it's still a profit motive.

    The problem here is that there is no profit motive in being right. The funny thing is, the way you get profit motive on this side of the argument is to crack protection, pirate mass quantities of 'intellectual property' and sell it for a profit. Since this is *not* whats happening, there is no cash-payback for fighting the DMCA. The distribution industries have *mucho* profit motive to do what they do, and all you get for all your effort is the same rights you had ten years ago.

  • by PopeAlien (164869) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:06AM (#61837) Homepage Journal
    But in the world of Washington politics, geektivists are woefully outnumbered by the natives who populate and influence confirmation hearings: Corporate, nonprofit and trade association lobbyists.

    'Geektivist's' simply don't have the cash to compete with corporate lobbyist. There is no money in being morally right. Money buys laws.

  • by streetlawyer (169828) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @10:29AM (#61839) Homepage
    So you're saying that the proven fact that gun crime in Britain jumped 40% in one year after enacting laws to ban regular citizens from owning guns is not relevant

    Yes, I'm making the bizarre counterintuitive suggestion that movements in the British crime statistics since 1997 are not relevant to the question of whether it should be illegal to reverse engineer Adobe's ebook document format.

    I may be wrong, but you're going to have to spell this out for me.

  • by streetlawyer (169828) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:26AM (#61840) Homepage
    Congratulations, Michael. You've managed to link to an article which:
    • Analogises the crime of copyright infringement with the crime of rape.
    • Analogises the prosecution of people for copyright infringement with the wholesale massacre of Jews.
    • Wastes half of its length on a boring anti-gun-control rant utterly unrelated to the topic, and
    • Destroys the entire case for freedom of information by claiming that hackers should be seen as analogous to mobs killing each other in Chicago (I am not making this up -- the fool's argument is that if hackers want to break the law they will do no matter what the law, therefore they should be allowed the tools to do so)
    Quotes like "It's impossible to favor gun regulations and oppose computer regulations and remain philosophically consistent. " are calculated to get half the reasonable people in this country thinking that the DMCA must be a good thing after all, and the linked article's author is a prick of the worst kind for trying to hijack a genuine issue of liberty for his own half-assed political program. Even Eric Raymond has always had the common sense not to stoop this low.

    I always wondered whether there was a site out there with worse journalistic standards than Slashdot. Michael's found it, and he's linked to it [linuxplanet.com]. Congratulations.

  • What action could Adobe take now that would make you believe that they really don't want this guy to go to jail?

    True, I am just going off of what I've read here, and have not been privy what went on between Adobe and the EFF or FBI. But, since Adobe was in this from the beginning (were the ones who filed the complaint with the Justice Dept in the first place) I find it very hard to believe that they didn't know that this would result in an arrest and prosicution. To turn around now and say "wow, he shouldn't be in jail" smacks of damage control. Maybe they're sincere, but I have my doubts.

    If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

  • by Fat Rat Bastard (170520) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:13AM (#61842) Homepage
    I knew as soon as the EFF announced that Adobe were backing off that it was more Adobe hype and PR than an actual attempt to free Sklyarov. I have a feeling they knew that once the justice system took over they had little say in what continued to happen. Its a win-win for them. They (and the whole pro-DMCA cartel) now have an "example" to spook would-be "encryption crackers" (make that tool, go to jail) and they're now trying to put a nice, shiny spin on it: "Oh, we didn't think THIS would happen. Wow, this is bad. The FBI should release Sklyarov." Call me cynical, but I wouldn't be surprised if Adobe had some assurances from the JD that this case would be prosicuted before they decided that Sklyarov should be freed.

    If you don't have anything nice to say, say it often.

  • by swm (171547) <swmcd@world.std.com> on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:06AM (#61844) Homepage
    Sklyarov...is being held without even a bail hearing, much less bail.

    Perhaps someone should file a Habeus Corpus petiton?

  • Half the problem is lack of conviction. The other half of the problem is that potential 'Geektivists' need only talk one look at their compensation plan and stock options and then follow the CEO's lobbying recommendations like a good little capitalist tool. Most people are smart enough to understand which side of their bread is being buttered.

    I can understand how the DMCA flew under the radar, because at the time it seemed to apply primarily to people who made cable descramblers and the like and not directly applicable to software technology.

    However, I find it especially shocking that when legislation that directly affects 'geeks' such as the H1-B Visa program expansion comes up for debate, there isn't a single group representing technical employees on capital hill lobbying for their interests, while every Silicon Valley company was out in full force. In fact, there isn't a single group claiming to represent technical employees at all, with the exception of the IWW and some obscure Unix Sysadmin club. You'll have to face that in this business, there is very little 'consciousness' and 'geeks' are more than happy to let their corporate masters do all of the talking.
  • Just keep in mind, the folks who made the law are to blame, not the folks mandated to enforce it.

    And, of course, we are the folks who made the law. Big media interests were able to get the DMCA enacted because voters didn't care about it one way or another. There is not a single congressman or senator now in office who thinks his or her reelection hinges on opposing the DMCA or similar legislation. Our representatives can do Big Media's bidding (and collect healthy campaign contributions and other support) without jeopardizing their positions. What do you expect them to do?

    For the moment, at least, we still live in something close to a representative republic. Sufficiently irate citizens routinely change government policies and influence important votes. Our only challenge is how to make our case compelling enough to get a groundswell of popular opinion behind it -- people who are mad enough to vote incumbents out of office over this issue. Then we'll see changes.

    Intellectual property law is an esoteric enough issue that I don't even know whether this is possible or not. But I do know that we're spending most of our time preaching to the choir. Try explaining the situation to your non-techie friends and family. Write to your representatives, and to the local paper. Above all, vote, and let all the candidates know why you're voting for your choice.

    It may be too late to preserve our freedoms; I don't know. But we have to act as if it's not, or it definitely will be too late, very soon.

    --

  • by Prior Restraint (179698) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:32AM (#61851)

    I was planning on writing to my Congressman this past weekend. Since he's a Republican, I thought I'd point out how Adobe's customers for this product are mostly corporations, and show how much their profits are being hurt by paying $3000/doc for lame encryption (tailor your message to the audience, and all that). I figured I'd end with a write-up explaining just how lame Adobe's encryption was, complete with simple examples even a non-geek could understand. Then I realized that by doing so, I could find the FBI knocking on my door.

    I don't have my copy of "1984" handy, but I seem to recall a statement along the lines of:

    People might be able to say, "Big Brother is ungood", but they won't have the ability to back it up.

    This is the real problem with the DMCA; no one can meaningfully protest it without running afoul of it.

  • but it's not on Regis or the Today show or Howard Stern or Peter Jennings or Tom Brokaw. You see, only Internet savvy people read news online. The average person, who we would need to change the mind of the government, doesn't know and won't know until the MAJOR media really does a story on it.

    If madonna was caught, though, then it would make the major press. hmmmmmmmmmmm....

    -----

  • by GemFire (192853) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:52AM (#61856) Homepage
    You've provided a lot of links - tell me, are the dead tree news outlets saying the same? What about Television - where has the DMCA and the Sklyarov arrest been mentioned? CNN? NBC Nightly News? Or has it been mentioned anywhere other than the internet? Techies and Geeks and people like me get their news online, most of the rest of the world uses newspapers, news magazines, television and radio.
  • by rpeppe (198035) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:03AM (#61863)
    maybe it's a good thing (long term) that he's not being released. at least then some people might see just what a ridiculous thing this act is... and some courts might have a chance to blow the DMCA out of the water.
  • by smagruder (207953) <stevem@webcommons.biz> on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:12AM (#61867) Homepage

    For those of you who are webmastering (and who isn't, at least on the side), think about placing EFF's blue ribbon [eff.org] on the front page of your site. Besides being really cool, it helps get out the message that the DMCA is curtailing OUR freedom of speech and keeping an innocent man in jail.

    Steve Magruder

  • by westfirst (222247) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:10AM (#61870)
    I use Adobe's PDF format and its Acrobat software to publish texts. If I can't get independent review of the software from noted scholars, then I'm going to be trusting my "very valuable" intellectual property to potentially bad software. That sounds bad for writers and artists everywhere. I also hate the copy protection mechanisms because they gum up the works in my office.
  • by Firedog (230345) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:38AM (#61872)
    On a similar note, I just did a search on abcnews.com [abcnews.com] to see what they had to say regarding this issue. I came up with exactly one article, this one [go.com].

    Here's an excerpt:

    Hackers -- and Cops -- Converge in Las Vegas

    At the ninth annual Def Con convention in Las Vegas, thousands of computer hackers and code-breakers gathered to compare notes and tricks on breaking into computer systems. And that caught the attention of some legal authorities.

    Dmitry Sklyarov, a 26-year old Russian programmer and one of the convention speakers, was arrested by the FBI at the show. The programmer was accused of creating and selling a software program that lets users copy electronic books. If convicted of violating the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Sklyarov could face five years in prison and a $500,000 fine.

    Convention attendees say they are there to share concerns about computer security issues, and that most of them are not criminals. "There's a lot of intellectual people, a lot of very bright kids who are here," said one attendee who requested not to be identified.

    But why do hackers break into corporate or government computers? "The control you have when you get through on a system," said one attendee who identified himself as Netranger. "It's the most exhilarating thing that you can probably get."

    To the average mainstream American, what does this look like? A bunch of hacker kids, out to disrupt orderly society, who get off on the adrenaline rush of hacking into systems. Not exactly apt to inspire sympathy in the Heartland(TM).

    It's also interesting to note that abcnews.com's top story this morning is a piece on resume padding, by the way.

    - Firedog

  • by Dallas Truax (242176) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:16AM (#61879)
    The FBI's job is to enforce the law. Not to enforce only good law that makes sense.

    I say, enforce the bad law, expose it for what it is, and get it ruled as unconstitutional. Or, get congress to change the law, in light of the bad ways it is required to be enforced.

    It's just sad that some poor sod has to sit in jail while this process goes on.

    Just keep in mind, the folks who made the law are to blame, not the folks mandated to enforce it.
  • by cyberformer (257332) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @10:50AM (#61887)
    The gun crime (and overall crime) rate in Britain, and every other rich country that has gun control, is still way below that in the US. Of course, this doesn't mean that the US should just ban guns outright, for the simple reason that every criminal who wants one already has one.

    Back to Sklyarov: The DMCA obviously violates the first ammendment, but there may be arguments that it violates the second, fourth ("the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers") and eighth ("excessive fines") too.

    Regardless of the DMCA, Sklyarov's imprisonment definitely violates the sixth ("an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed", ie. Russia) and the eleventh ("the Judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to...Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State.")

  • by cavemanf16 (303184) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @11:17AM (#61895) Homepage Journal
    Hey moron, I was an A+ student in my history classes, so I should have some idea about past ideas that failed. Hitler stifled freedom of speech big time, and made it popular for people to rat out their neighbors for unfounded 'evils' that they were performing by sicking his secret police on those who didn't tow the Nazi party line. He also was against private gun ownership as he knew bands of citizens with guns could oppose his secret police effectively. I think the freedom to have effective tools (like guns and the encryption breaking software Dmitri wrote) and freedom of speech go hand in hand. That's why the Constitution of the USA says we have the freedom (with responsibility) to both bear arms, and freedom (with responsibility) to have free speech. It's you who has no concept of history.
  • by cavemanf16 (303184) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:53AM (#61896) Homepage Journal
    * Wastes half of its length on a boring anti-gun-control rant utterly unrelated to the topic, and

    So you're saying that the proven fact that gun crime in Britain jumped 40% in one year after enacting laws to ban regular citizens from owning guns is not relevant? The fact that enforcing a law that is fundamentally foolish and flawed (DMCA kills fair use copyright law already in place) is therefore a good thing, just because it is now law? That's ridiculous! The price of freedom is eternal vigilance. The British didn't remember that, and today they've got a 40% increase in gun crime (not just crime overall, specifically crimes involving guns). I find that quite relavant considering the DMCA flies in the face of our own Constitutionally granted freedoms.

  • by terrymr (316118) <terrymr@nOSpAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @10:46AM (#61908)
    no he hasn't


    You can't be charged with a Federal Felony without a grand jury determination that :

    a) a crime has been committed

    b) you are the person that likely committed that crime.

    This little thing called the US Constitution requres this.

    If you want to know more of the rules do a findlaw search on federal criminal procedure.
  • I've actually been hearing this statement made over and over again, but I have to disagree. Is it really fair to want to keep a citizen from another country in lock-up just to prove that the DMCA is bogus? Sklyarov didn't volunteer for this. He has a family and a home, that I'm rather certain he wants to go back to.

    If we try and take away Sklyarov's freedom to make a point, how are we better than Adobe and the Feds? Isn't that what they did?

    Don't make an unwilling martyr out of Sklyarov. Let him go home!

    The U.S. needs to take care of their own problems.

    'crow

  • by srvivn21 (410280) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:29AM (#61914)
    I think that you are right that we are outnumbered, but wrong on how. Aren't "geeks" some of the most highly paid (and best educated) people on the planet? I really don't think it's a lack of money, but a lack of conviction. I personally find it far easier and convenient to sit on my butt and bitch to the online forums about how the "world is going to hell in a hand basket", then it would be to fly down to D.C. and talk to the Senate in person. Until things become inconvenient enough that it dramatically effects our lifestyles, I really think that little change is going to happen.

    Don't get me wrong. I think that the DMCA sucks. I have made monetary contributions to the EFF. I don't like MS. But it is far too easy to take the path of least resistance. 50% voter turnout in presidential elections means that the "dedicated" minorities get their way. Geeks just don't seem to be dedicated enough to the real world.

  • by KilljoyAZ (412438) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:14AM (#61920) Homepage
    I'm sure his wife and kids would disagree. I've never read that he wants to be a martyr for the anti-DMCA cause, and until I do I'm all for getting him out of prison ASAP.
  • by idonotexist (450877) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:28AM (#61933)
    CNN recently posted an interview [cnn.com] with U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft who states "[t]he idea you can get away with it ["cybercrime [tuxedo.org]" (this is an undefined term)] here is an idea we must curtail ... There are no free passes in cyberspace [tuxedo.org]." Ashcroft comments he plans to create "Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) units staffed by 77 personnel, including 48 lawyers" modeled after the existing unit in California, currently prosecuting Dmitry Sklyarov, created by FBI Director nominee Robert Mueller "whose nomination is expected to receive little opposition in Congress."

    The CHIPs plan to hold illegal sites and post "a warning that the site has been seized by law enforcement" and present a "clear message that cybercrime carries real penalties for offenders."

    The article further states that current EFF Executive Director, Shari Steele, addressed a letter to Ashcroft requesting the release of Sklyarov. Ashcroft had no comment regarding his ageny's charges against Sklyarov.

    It looks DMCA will soon accrue an army or firm of brand new federal government attorneys under the Bush administration.
  • by idonotexist (450877) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:32AM (#61934)
    Ok, and you would not mind to be Dmitry and sit in prison during the duration of such a judgment? I doubt it. This man is not even a U.S. citizen, this is our problem --- this is America's problem that must be settled within our borders and subjecting a non-American to the worse attributes (prison) of such a test is a disgust. Yes, DMCA should be tested. But, not with this case. Dmitry needs to return to Russia to his family.

    Let DMCA be tested by Americans. This nation we live in is responsible for this damn law; we should be the ones who deal with it; who correct the wrong.
  • by tsarina (456482) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:12AM (#61935) Homepage Journal
    How will people see what a ridiculous thing the DMCA is if they never hear about this? Few people other than slashdotters and people who have witnessed the protests actually have heard of the DMCA, let alone Sklyarov! In fact, I went to a political gathering last evening, where there were numerous citizens and several politicians, both local and otherwise. Only one of them had heard of the DMCA, and none knew about the Sklyarov issue. The major newspaper here hasn't run a single story on the issue. The media was what was pushing for this dumb act! It's in their best interest to maintain it, to keep the public in ignorance... Anyway, unless this is taken to the Supreme Court, it seems unlikely the courts could find the jurisdiction to squash the DMCA.
  • by rawkphish (465690) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:32AM (#61945)

    I find it ironic that the current chairman and former CEO of Adobe [adobe.com] was quoted as saying that one of the worst parts of being kidnapped [mercurycenter.com] is the forced separation from ones family. Isn't that what he has ( in part ) done to Sklyarov ?

  • by javahacker (469605) on Wednesday July 25, 2001 @09:19AM (#61948)

    Unfortunately, instead of an American patriot, we arrested a foreign national, a man with a family, who is paying the price for the Law purchased by big business in our country.

    Sadly, the people responsible for this law will probably never suffer for their abrogation of duties, and they obviously don't qualify as patriots, at least from my perspective.

    I know we don't have the votes to really hurt the politicians who voted this law into effect, but we should generate as much attention as we can, and remind people that the Chinese government isn't the only one that detains foreign nationals without due process, as this case shows!

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