Radical media, politics and culture.

Skylarov Indicted

hydrarchist writes: "

When the Digital Millenium Copyright Act was passed in 1998, including criminal provisions against those who 'traffic' in 'anti-circumvention devices', that is programs which allow users to exercise their fair use rights by unlocking encrypted content, many believed that the provisions were only inserted as a threat without substance. Liberals found incredible the idea that people could actually go to jail for writing code.

They were mistaken.

This evening the federal prosecutor for the Northern District of California announced the inditement of russian national and resident Dimitri Skylarov, author of Elcomsoft's Advanced e-Book Processor, on five counts of breach of the DMCA - principally under Title 17, United States Code, Section 1201(b)(1)(A), ,the section outlawing the trafficing of circumvention devices - and conspiracy. Dimitri was arrested while at Defcon 2001 presenting a paper on security flaws in Adobe's ebook reader.

Adobe informed the cops. The cops acted. The coding public went into uproar and Adobe has now been trying to weasel out of their catalytic role in the prosecution. They now insist that the problem is one better sorted out without the intervention of the criminal law. Yet they knew exactly what they were doing when they went to the Feds. Immediately after his arrest, Colleen Pouliot, Adobe Senior Vice President & General Counsel said:

"We did contact ElcomSoft asking them to cease and desist what they were doing. In addition, honestly, [laughs] we didn't think the likelihood was terribly high of getting any money out of a Russian company, so we think this course of action is appropriate."

Source: NPR Morning Edition broadcast of 19 July

Under Section 1204 of the DMCA, those found guilty of breach of section 1201 can be sentenced to up to 5 years in jail and fined up to $500,000 for their first offense. Subsequent offenses can recieve up to ten years incarceration and $1,000,000 in fines. Demonstrations are currently planned for San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston in the US, as well as overseas, all on August 30th. All details are available at the Free Skylarov website.

You can access the AP wire report, and the discussion at Slashdot.

Mass resistance to the intellectual property enclosures.

For the commons.

Free Skylarov.""