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<title>DMCA in the news: Russian programmer arrested, nerds protest for his release LG #69</title>
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<H1><font color="maroon">DMCA in the news: Russian programmer arrested, nerds protest for his release</font></H1>
<H4>By <a href="mailto:gazette@ssc.com">Mike Orr</a></H4>
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<P> The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) has claimed its 
first  prisoner.  Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov was arrested by the FBI
July 16 after giving a talk at DEF CON in Las Vegas, Nevada, on the inadequate
security of Adobe's eBook format.  But he was arrested not because of the
talk, but because his company
ElcomSoft sold (and he worked on) a product that converted said eBook
format to ordinary PDF.  This violates the DMCA's circumvention
provision, which  prohibits circumventing any encryption that serves as a form
of copy protection. Never mind that the program was built and sold in  Russia,
which has no such law.  (Neither do Canada or Europe, at least not yet.) Never
mind that there are legitimate uses for ElcomSoft's product, such as exercising
your Fair Use rights or having a speech synthesizer read you the book if you
are blind.  

<P> Protests erupted a week later in several US cities, asking for
the release of Dmitry, boycotting Adobe, and/or arguing for the repeal of the
DMCA.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) talked with Adobe and
got them to withdraw their complaint against Dmitry and ask for his 
release.  However, Dmitry is still in an Oklahoma jail without bail, and
his fate rests with the US justice department and a court trial.
A second route of protests took place a week later (July 30) to convince
the Justice Department to release Dmitry and to convince Congress to repeal
the DMCA.  There are other problems with the DMCA too. (Remember DeCSS?
What about your previous right to reverse engineer?)  

<P> The DMCA is an important issue for all Americans, even those who aren't
engineers or are computer novices, because the laws are changing much
faster than people realize, and you may find that rights you've always had
no longer exist, and that your right to read what you want when you want
(without some company keeping track of you)--and to criticize what you
read--may be gone.

<P> It's also an important issue to those outside the US.  Canada is 
already debating a similar law.  And Europeans must also be wary, lest
corporate lobbyists sneak it past your parliaments when you're not watching.
Already, American engineers have started sending their resumes to Canada
and Europe, in case their jobs get declared illegal over here.

<P> So much has been written about Sklyarov and the DMCA that I won't
retell it all but just point to some existing links.

<UL>
<LI> <A HREF="http://www.nytimes.com/2001/07/30/opinion/30LESS.html">Jail Time in the Digital Age</A> (Excellent New York Times article that articulates
many of the issues.  Free for one week, then purchase online or go to the
library and choose the July 30, 2001 edition.)
<LI> <A HREF="http://search.nytimes.com:80/plweb-cgi/fastweb?state_id=996644093&view=site&docrank=2&numhitsfound=5&query=%28sklyarov%29%20AND%20%2820010703%3C%3Dpdate%29&query_rule=%28$query%29&query1=thedbs%3Dpast30days%26section%3DALL%26fields%3DALL%26thequery%3Dsklyarov&query2=sorting%3DBYFIELD%3A-skey_pdate&query7=sklyarov&query8=from%20the%20past%2030%20days&docid=58838&docdb=2001arc&dbname=unify&numresults=10&sorting=BYFIELD%3A-skey_pdate&operator=AND&TemplateName=abs_MPoff.tmpl&setCookie=1">Arrest Raises Stakes in Battle Over Copyright</A>
(Another excellent NY Times article that also explains some of the issues.
Purchase online or go to the library and look at the July 23, 2001 edition.)
<LI> <A HREF="http://www.wired.com/">Wired</A> and
<A HREF="http://www.theregister.co.uk">The Register</A> (UK) have had several
articles.
<LI> <A HREF="http://noframes.linuxjournal.com/articles/misc/0048.html">We're Not Your Enemies; We're Your Customers</A> (Yours Truly wrote a 
<I>Linux Journal</I> web article on the Seattle protest July 24, on the 
effect of the DMCA on programmers, and some ideas for what to do now)

<LI> <A HREF="http://nodmca.org">nodmca.org</A> 
<LI> <A HREF="http://www.freesklyarov.org">www.freesklyarov.org</A>
<LI> <A HREF="http://www.anti-dmca.org/">http://www.anti-dmca.org/</A>
<LI> <A HREF="http://www.eff.org/">Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)</A>
<LI> <A HREF="http://www.eff.org/Legal/Cases/Felten_v_RIAA/20010606_eff_felten_pr.html">Felten vs RIAA</A>
<LI> <A HREF="http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/right-to-read.html">The Right to Read</A>
(a dysotopian short story by Richard Stallman, 1997)
<LI> <a href="http://lwn.net/2001/0719/">Linux Weekly News editorial</a> (scroll
down to "DMCA")
<LI> <A HREF="http://www.freedmitry.org">www.freedmitry.org</A>
<LI> <A HREF="http://www.boycottadobe.org">www.boycottadobe.org</A> (has some
technical references about the eBook case)
</UL>





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<H4><IMG ALIGN=BOTTOM ALT="" SRC="../gx/note.gif">Mike Orr</H4>
<EM>Mike ("Iron") is the Editor of <I>Linux Gazette</I>.  You can read what he
has to say in the Back Page column in this issue.  He has been a Linux
enthusiast since 1991 and a Debian user since 1995.  He is SSC's web technical
coordinator, which means he gets to write a lot of Python scripts.
Non-computer interests include Ska/Oi! music and the international language
Esperanto.  The nickname Iron was given to him in college--short for Iron Orr,
hahaha.</EM>

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Copyright &copy; 2001, Mike Orr.<BR>
Copying license <A HREF="../copying.html">http://www.linuxgazette.com/copying.html</A><BR> 
Published in Issue 69 of <i>Linux Gazette</i>, August 2001</H5>
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