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Sklyarov, Elcomsoft Plead Not Guilty 484

squared99 writes: "I'm sure it has already flooded slashdot, but Dmitri has entered his plea, not guilty. This NYTimes article talks about it. Not sure I like the mention of bumper stickers, as opposed to the real people who have been protesting, but at least it talks about the support he has been getting. It even appeared as one the main newsworthy item on my daily NYTimes newsletter, Yay! Let's keep up the support and protests. As my brother said to me the other day, "The only way to beat bullies is to stand up to them."" See also Elcomsoft's statement about the case, a story in the Boston Globe, and this cute fable about a DMCA future. Update: 08/31 19:37 PM GMT by M : one more link - the Russian Foreign Ministry has warned its programmers not to travel to the United States.
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Sklyarov, Elcomsoft Plead Not Guilty

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  • by Kiss the Blade ( 238661 ) on Friday August 31, 2001 @03:20PM (#2240412) Journal
    But he is guilty in the eyes of the law, as far as I can see. The DMCA may be an unfair law, and not 'justice', but there is a greater thing at stake here - the overall Justice of the law. Even where the law is wrong it must be obeyed, and must only be amended through democratic action. I for one support the actions against Skylarov, with heavy heart, for I support the rule of law above all else.

    This is not to say I won't be campaigning against the DMCA, however.

    I think I am in line with the more controversial [] commentators on this issue, but I feel it is the only honest line.

  • law and guilt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Proud Geek ( 260376 ) on Friday August 31, 2001 @03:30PM (#2240476) Homepage Journal
    Sklyarov is clearly guilty of violating the DMCA. The not guilty plea is stupid nonsense.

    I'm not saying he should be charged or jailed or such. God forbid I support the government's actions here. Thing is, the issue isn't his guilt (as he is clearly guilty) but why the DMCA exists in the first place.

    Don't proclaim Sklyarov's innocence, because he isn't. Instead, proclaim the injustice of a law that imposes draconian punishments for things that should not be illegal in the first place.
  • Re:Miscommunication (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Chris Y Taylor ( 455585 ) on Friday August 31, 2001 @03:35PM (#2240508) Homepage
    What about: "The only way to beat bullies is asymmetric warfare"?
  • by Illserve ( 56215 ) on Friday August 31, 2001 @03:52PM (#2240617)
    He came here and spoke about his program, hence he trafficked his information here, which is illegal under the DMCA.

    Dmitry violated our law on our soil and has been locked up for it. I hate the DMCA as much as any of us, but he is guilty, and proclaiming him as innocent merely makes one look uninformed.

  • by sdo1 ( 213835 ) on Friday August 31, 2001 @04:25PM (#2240796) Journal
    But, while speeding doesn't leave a record of itself, ebook copying does and so leaves a legacy, a record of the crime

    The way things are headed, I can GUARANTEE you that things like speeding WILL INDEED be monitored. It starts slowly, but we're already on that slope. Put a toll transponder in your car. We've already seen these transponders used to track people []. Next up, you'll get a ticket if you jump on a toll road and get from Exit A to Exit B in an average time that would exceed the speed limit.

    But why stop there? These things are cheap enough. Make them mandatory in all cars. Monitor your car speed through GPS. Violate the speed limit, get a ticket in the mail. Plus tracking devices can help the cops find any car at any time because they're ALL being tracked. That's a GOOD thing, right? Fight crime, right?

    This country is going to hell quickly. I fear for the life that my son is going to have.


  • by cvd6262 ( 180823 ) on Friday August 31, 2001 @04:43PM (#2240875)

    From CNN []:

    The U.S. Attorney's office brought charges against ElcomSoft after purchasing a copy of the software over the Internet from ElcomSoft's Web site, which is hosted in the U.S. and uses a U.S.-based payment services provider, the indictment said.

    So, the way that they knew about the crime was to commit the crime of purchasing, and thus owning "illegal" software? I guess they probably think that this is like the cop who poses as a buyer for crack on the street?

  • Re:law and guilt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by technos ( 73414 ) on Friday August 31, 2001 @04:47PM (#2240892) Homepage Journal
    If he'd just given his crack away, I'm not sure he'd have been prosecutable. But he sold it. Profiting from a crime. However we might feel about the constitutional validity of the DMCA, right now it's a law. Breaking it is a crime.

    Doesn't matter. This is a criminal action against an employee of ElcomSoft. ElcomSoft paid him to do programming for the eBook processor. He did not place the program on a US server, he did not engage a US company to handle credit card orders, he did not sell the product. He just wrote code.

    Think about it this way; I, in the normal course of my employment, am instructed to make a program to aid the mastering of an inhouse DVD/VCD video product. As part of the program, I write a decryption algo to reduce our pre-mastered DVD discs to plain files so they can me shuffled, re-encoded, etc. The company finds this acceptable, and in fact good enough it thinks it can get some of its partners to use the software for a fee.

    What I did, as a programmer, was legal. Even if I had knowledge that the company may decide to sell it as a commercial product, the burden is on them to acquire the relevant permission. Licensing for sale the CSS IP, the MPEG encoder, etc. Their problem. Not mine. If they are called up on the carpet for IP violations, contributory infringement, DMCA violation, etc, only the company and its officers are legally responsible. Not me.

    Same with ElcomSoft. They are liable if their sale of the product violated law, not DS..
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2001 @05:09PM (#2240993)
    "Even where the law is wrong it must be obeyed"

    I believe this is called the nuremberg defense (because it is what the nazi war criminals said during their trials) either way, it's not absolutely true in a legal sense and it's absolutely not true in an ethical one.
    (ditto to Xanlexians comment about democracy, we ain't one and it's a good thing)
  • by locust ( 6639 ) on Friday August 31, 2001 @05:10PM (#2240997)
    It won't be the police that demand it. It will be the insurance companies. They have a profit incentive to know if: you are driving regularly through a bad nieghborhood, driving too fast, driving farther than you tell them you drive to work. All of these things impinge upon the chances they will have to have to pay you if your car is stolen, crashed, etc. Further as large scale computing power becomes cheaper it will be come more practical to generate much more detailed actuarial tables that reflect these changes. These will translate into higher profits in the reinsurance market (insurers get insured against having to pay claims).

    Finally, when it comes down to having an extra 20 bucks a month to feed your kids, or having that extra bit of privacy, I'm pretty sure where most people will come down.


  • For what it counts, this sentiment is sadly shared by myself. I do not understand how so easily consumers have lost their voice to corporations, and the masses. It's sadly growing into a nebulous entity no longer controlled by the government, a government established by the people for the people.

    I have paid my taxes, and my dues. I'm strongly considering re-rooting myself into a true free economy and country. I know nothing is perfect, but there are many countries that are much better than what we're finding here. I try to relate this to the automobile industry, and the rail road industry. It takes a while for thought transition to change. For individuals to accept the new innovation into daily life and then a balance will occur. Unfortunately, through all those "revolutions" we have kept our speech. Here, we have lost our voice. Our freedom of speech has been abolished and placed into the hands of other individuals, not appointed by state, to determine what is ok to say.

    I feel useless to change this, but I will never stop protesting. I'll never stop sending emails to everyone I know. I believe in freedom, sadly enough I don't believe in America anymore.

  • What happened? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2001 @06:41PM (#2241353)
    Below is a clip from something I hope most of you have read before. Please read it through again in light of the events around you today. What would our founding fathers think of our present situation? Yes, it is not the constitution, but rather the paper that started the U.S. off. It's funny how far we have come in only a little over 200 years...

    IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

    The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
    When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
  • by jcr ( 53032 ) < .ta. .rcj.> on Friday August 31, 2001 @07:48PM (#2241548) Journal
    The *smart* thing to do, is pardon Sklyarov.

    That way, your corporate masters get to keep this blatantly unconstitutional bludgeon around to threaten anyone else who seeks to expose their incompetence. The longer you keep the DMCA out of court, the more damage it can do to the constitution your sock-puppet took an oath to uphold.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 31, 2001 @09:06PM (#2241783)
    The Russian foreign ministry has warned Russian programmers to stay out of the U.S. because of their laws oppressively limiting free speech!

    ``We want to point out to all Russian specialists cooperating with U.S. firms in computer programming and software design that, whatever the outcome of Sklyarov's case, they may fall under the jurisdiction of the 1998 Act on the territory of the United States,'' the Foreign Ministry said in a statement

    Wasn't Russia formerly the place where people could be put in jail without being charged with a crime? Isn't the U.S. supposed to be the only place where one can express an opinion without being jailed for it?
    Is it me or is this a total reversal of the past?

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.