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Sklyarov Released On $50,000 Bail 534

Posted by timothy
from the roaming-the-streets-with-innocent-muggers-and-rapists dept.
Mike Schiraldi was the first to write about Dmitry Sklyarov's release from jail, even before it happened: "According to this live report from the courtroom, Dmitri will probably be out of jail real soon now. Of course, he still won't be allowed to leave Northern California, but it's a start ..." Soon after, inaneboy pointed out this Reuters story on yahoo which says that Sklyarov has been released, on 50,000 dollars bail, raised by his employer, ElcomSoft. phalse phace wrote to say that the EFF has just posted an announcement as well as some background.
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Sklyarov Released On $50,000 Bail

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  • by Gogl (125883) on Monday August 06, 2001 @03:54PM (#2163921) Journal
    We do the right thing.... sooner or later.... heh.
    Oh well, I guess I'm just an eternal cyncic. Still, I'm very glad this happened, and hopefully he'll be able to get on with his life ASAP. Props to his employer for raising the cash. Somehow I doubt Adobe would ever do the right thing and reimburse them. I must say this whole experience has left me with a very bad taste in my mouth regarding Adobe.... I'll make sure never to purchase any of their products, and reccomend the same to any of my employers/employees/anyone.
  • Congrats to reuters (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bricriu (184334) on Monday August 06, 2001 @03:58PM (#2163955) Homepage
    ... for pointing something that should get hyped in every dealing that anyone sympathetic to Sklyarov's plight has with anyone else: that this was legal under Russian law.

    Seriously, the fact that he's a Russian (read "commie") coder (read "hacker") can, and may, get played against him in the press to no end, so it's nice just to see those little words, "legal in Russia," that should humble the cretins who pushed this misguided law.

    "Ah, for the freedoms of Mother Russia..." *sigh*
  • Party (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cnkeller (181482) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .relleknc.> on Monday August 06, 2001 @04:02PM (#2163994) Homepage
    Probably only applicable to those of us in Silicon Valley, but is anyone else interested in taking him out for a beer and some decent food? Show him the parts of the US that don't suck....
  • by blang (450736) on Monday August 06, 2001 @04:02PM (#2163995)
    Yep. $50000 for bail is a well-deserved slap in the face of FBI. I wonder what's going on inside FBI now. The agents are not stupid, just following orders. I am sure they know as well as all of us that this law is bogus. Must suck to be them.
  • Good. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by r_j_prahad (309298) <r_j_prahad&hotmail,com> on Monday August 06, 2001 @04:05PM (#2164009)
    A bit off-topic, but an article in my local paper this morning tells of the sentencing of an attempted rapist who beat the living crap out of his would-be victim, knocking out several of her teeth and putting her in the hospital for a week. He got two-and-a-half years. He'll probably serve only half of that. But Dimitry could get five years for his e-book program.

    The message our lawmakers are sending to hackers is clear; leave the copy protection alone and instead just beat the f*cking shit out of the copyright holder.

    I hope Dimitry flees. There won't be any justice for him here.

  • Doing your job (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Johnycomel8ly (472636) on Monday August 06, 2001 @04:15PM (#2164082)
    I think the real fact of the matter is that what Sklyarov did in his own country was well within the confines of Russian legality. From his point of view, he most certainly did not break the law. The United States is setting a new precedent in legislation. Do internet laws have unlimited jurisdiction? If so, who decides what these universal laws will be? Apparently, the US is taking it upon themselves to baby-sit the entire world. Hypothetical situation time: Say, for instance, I'm the writer of a strongly capitalistic, widely circulated e-zine, and I publish an article denouncing the dictator of a communist country. I then decide to take a trip to said country. "Well, I'm sorry, but we don't have this 'freedom of speech' thing here. You're under arrest." For some reason that just doesn't seem right to me, but mayve that's just me.
  • Re:Adobe (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zhensel (228891) on Monday August 06, 2001 @04:24PM (#2164158) Homepage Journal
    Or, more appropriately, why doesn't Sklyarov turn around and sue them for 50k plus a bit more for causing his detainment with a false afidavit. I think the fact that they refused to prosecute in civil court is exceptional evidence that they perjured themselves.
  • Re:Party (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cnkeller (181482) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .relleknc.> on Monday August 06, 2001 @04:27PM (#2164177) Homepage
    Normally I don't reply to myself, but I've sent the EFF some mail asking how we go about contacting Dmitry to see if he's intersted in making some new American friends over a beer. I'll post the answers. If people are interested, feel free to email me a christopher.keller@bigfoot.org and we'll take this off-line.
  • Let's report federaly funded Quantum computer research scientist to the FBI at the next major Quantum Physics confrence. After all, they are creating devices for circumventing the copyright protection on libraries of encrypted information. Let's demand that all papers on using Quantum computers to factor large numbers be turn over to the FBI and thier authors prosecuted.
  • by gol64738 (225528) <GAUSS minus math_god> on Monday August 06, 2001 @04:59PM (#2164356)
    damn, after reading the news about the american student who was held unfairly in russia and then released yesterday [latimes.com], i couldn't help but think there was a private exchange behind the scenes regarding our american prisoner and Dimitry. i think Dmitry was being made an example of as a way for the US to get back at Russia for unfairly holding our american student on bullshit (planted) drug charges.
    after reading the full story regarding our jailed american student, i couldn't help but laugh as i read all the 'Free Dmitry' sites! i mean, maybe the US doesn't feel so strongly about the speech and freedom issues like we think they do. perhaps they were just playing a bit of hard ball with the russians to get our american student released...
    just my thoughts...
  • by sdo1 (213835) on Monday August 06, 2001 @05:11PM (#2164470) Journal
    I want to see the DMCA crushed and Dimitri get to go back home, but in every other /. article I've read, it makes mention of him SELLING the software at the convention. I agree that the law is bogus and should be declared unconstitutional, but what happened didn't just happen in Russia. The moment he sold the program in the US, if in fact that's what he did, he broke (a very broken and unjust) law. Sad, but true.

    Lets not that little fact escape the discussion...

    -S
  • by Rei (128717) on Monday August 06, 2001 @06:25PM (#2164916) Homepage
    I just read the complaint.

    Looks like he didn't break a thing.

    While he was in the US, he did not (at least, not in the complaint) traffic his software (I'd think they'd have complained about it if he did). After reading that, it looks like the only person they'd have recourse against is RegisterNow, since they can't prosecute Skylarov for his actions while in Russia. Skylarov was just an easy target (and it shows how aggressively and improperly Adobe went after him)

    -= rei =-
  • by nmos (25822) on Monday August 06, 2001 @06:50PM (#2165030)
    I especially liked this quote from "Martyr or criminal"

    "Book publishers say they need a tough law like the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or they'll never be able to make money selling electronic books. If programmers are allowed to crack eBook encryption, the next Napster-style trading system will be exchanging copies of "Moby Dick" instead of songs by Moby, they warn. "

    Someone needs to point out to these jokers that Moby Dick was written in 1851 and is therefore in the public domain! You can read it for yourself here:

    http://www.americanliterature.com/MD/MDINDEX.HTM L

    --
    Ray
  • by byoungvt (225652) on Monday August 06, 2001 @07:30PM (#2165202) Homepage
    I just met the guy we all have been fighting for!!! I have no regrets what-so-ever. In fact after meeting him I know I have been doing the right thing. more [n3.net] Photos also!!!
  • by snogwozzle (512804) on Monday August 06, 2001 @08:48PM (#2165462)
    Here's a point I haven't seen examined yet. IANAL, but I don't see how Dmitry can be charged with violating DMCA anti-circumvention (DMCA-AC hereinafter). Here's why:

    Premise: As I understand DMCA-AC, what's forbidden is 'creation and trafficking' in anticircumvention tools, with geographic scope limited to the US.

    Analysis: While Dmitry created (or created a lot of) Advanced eBook Processor (AEBPR), he created it in Russia, not the US; and he has not personally 'trafficked' in it within the US - there is no DMCA cause of action against Dmitry. It was Elcomsoft that sold AEBR in the US, which -is- actionable under DMCA-AC. Despite employment by Elcomsoft, Dmitry the person is distinct from Elcomsoft the corporation and not criminally liable for the deeds of Elcomsoft.

    Conclusion: For the prosecution to be successful, the US Attorney must show either:

    a) that Dmitry individually has 'trafficked' in AEBPR, separately from Elcomsoft's sales of AEBR in the US, or
    b) that Dmitry as an employee of Elcomsoft has criminal liability for Elcomsoft's actions in 'trafficking' in AEBR.

    I don't see how either a) or b) can be proven, as there are no signs that Dmitry has personally distributed AEBR in the US, and no signs that Dmitry is an owner or officer of Elcomsoft -- just an ordinary employee. (If I were Dmitry's boss, or an Elcomsoft owner, I wouldn't be hanging around the US, though.)

    If the above is factually correct, then the prosecution's only hope is to find relevant US law, precedent, or theories under which an ordinary employee of a corporation can be held to have criminal liability for the actions of the corporation. More specifically, the precedent or theory would have to pertain to the situation in which both the corporation and the employee are foreign nationals.

    If there is no such law, precedent, or theory, the case ultimately fails, and therefore the US Attorney would likely decline to indict.

    If the DOJ is looking for a way to make this case go away, either to avoid embarrassment or to avoid taking to trial a case with the potential to nullify DMCA-AC, this would do it for them.

    In any event, there may not be any DMCA-AC test case here -- the charge may be flawed, and if so it should not have been brought in the first place, and will be dismissed.

    Actual lawyers please comment?
  • by NullPointer (6898) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @12:28AM (#2166233) Homepage
    answering terrifyingly punitive criminal charges for doing nothing more than what I have loved doing all my life.

    I guess that is what has made me so angry about this whole nightmare. One of my earliest programs was a wrapper that trapped floppy I/O to defeat the copy protection on a game I owned (those 5-1/4" drives sure were slow). I had no intention of making copies of the game available to others, I simply wanted to see if I could figure out how to do it and learn something about interrupts and TSRs. What I did was not illegal at the time and the game's license agreement did not specifically prohibit what I did. It is not clear from reading the DMCA that it would be illegal now, but if I were to do something like that again I certainly wouldn't want to share it with anyone. Yep, sad, scary, and downright depressing. The next victim of the DMCA could just as easily be a naive 14 year old who's done nothing more than attempt to understand how his computer works.

    Everyone should consider donating their tax refund to either the soon-to-be established defense fund or the EFF. CowboyNeal can go hungry for all I care.

  • by Kaiwen (123401) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @01:05AM (#2166332) Journal
    Yes, what he did is legal in Russia. But he marketted and sold the product to US citizens, and it is certainly illegal in the US

    As I understand it, it was Sklyarov's company, not Sklyarov himself, which marketed and sold the product in the U.S. Now, unless Sklyarov is a member of the board of directors, it is not usual, even in the U.S., to prosecute employees for the actions of their employer.

    It is similarly not illegal (even by DCMA standards) to produce, sell, or otherwise distribute copy protection schemes outside the U.S. Hawking his wares in Russia does not make him a criminal in the U.S.

    It is my understanding that Sklyarov was arrested not because he discussed the weaknesses of Adobe's copy protection schemes, but because he was selling his product at the trade show where he was arrested. If this is the case then he is clearly in violation of U.S. law and the FBI is well within its jurisdiction to detain, arrest and prosecute him.

    Whether the laws are just is a separate issue, one which it is up to the courts, not the FBI, to sort out. The FBI did what it was required to do.

    Anyone care to correct my understanding?

  • by Robin Lionheart (14795) on Tuesday August 07, 2001 @01:06AM (#2166334) Homepage
    >> She just didn't get it and even said that Disney should get perpetual copyright protection.

    My favorite example of the absurdity of perpetual copyright is the song "Happy Birthday to You", composed by Kentucky schoolteacher Mildred Hill in 1859. Her sister Patty wrote lyrics and first published it as "Good Morning to All" in "Song Stories of the Kindergarten" in 1893. Mildred died penniless in 1916.

    In 1924, Robert H. Coleman republished the song without permission, adding a second "Happy Birthday to You" verse. The surviving Hill sisters sued and the song was finally copyrighted in 1935.

    Of course, the sisters aren't collecting royalties any longer. The copyright is now owned by AOL/Time Warner, and still garnerting about $2 million in royalties each year as of about 5 years ago (which is why television programs usually resort to "For He's A Jolly Good Fellow" instead). If Disney continues to get copyright extension bills passed every 20 years, the copyright on this simple 19th century folksong will never expire.

    The Constitution originally intended "to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries". But death plus 95 years? To what end, encouraging Mildred Hill to compose more songs?

    >> I knew that she had totally lost it when I suggested that the heirs of William Shakespear might complain and demand royalties for plays written by the great bard. She thought it was a good idea and was trying to decide how we should go about paying those royalties...

    Good job getting your mother to think about the logistics of awarding Shakespeare's great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-gr andchildren. However, if Shakespeare's works were still covered under death plus 315 year copyrights, surely a media conglomerate would be collecting the royalties now, not the putatively deserving 10th generation heirs.

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