[ISN] Adobe E-Book Hacker Released

From: InfoSec News (isnat_private)
Date: Tue Aug 07 2001 - 03:11:58 PDT

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    Wired News Report 
    11:40 a.m. Aug. 6, 2001 PDT 
    SAN JOSE, California -- Dmitry Sklyarov is out on bail.
    A federal magistrate judge ordered that the Russian programmer --
    whose arrest last month on copyright infringement charges sparked
    worldwide protests -- be freed Monday on $50,000 bail.
    After a 30-minute bail hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Edward A.
    Infante released Sklyarov but said he must remain in Northern
    California under the supervision of a local friend, Sergei Osoakine.
    Joseph Burton, Sklyarov's defense attorney, said he was "ecstatic"
    that his client would be released. Sklyarov's passport remains in the
    hands of the U.S. Attorney's office, and a pre-trial hearing is set
    for Aug. 23.
    Last month, FBI agents arrested Sklyarov, who was visiting the U.S. to
    attend the DefCon hacker convention in Las Vegas, on charges of
    violating the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Sklyarov
    is listed as the author of a program that allows users to copy Adobe
    eBooks -- and selling it is a felony under the DMCA.
    The much-anticipated courtroom appearance, during which Sklyarov wore
    handcuffs, sandals, and a prison-issue orange jumpsuit, capped a
    turbulent three weeks that included worldwide protests, a campaign to
    boycott Adobe products, and an abrupt decision by Adobe last month to
    recommend Sklyarov's release. The software company initially had asked
    the Justice Department to prosecute this case, according to court
    Sklyarov's employer, ElcomSoft, put up the amount for his bail.
    Sklyarov is facing a five-year prison term and a fine of $500,000
    under the DMCA.
    Geektivists have organized dozens of "Free Dmitry" protests, and the
    Electronic Frontier Foundation met with the U.S. Attorney's office in
    San Francisco to try to secure Sklyarov's release. But during Monday's
    hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Frewing gave no indication the
    government was going to drop charges.
    "I'm an optimistic kind of guy," said Burton, the defense lawyer.
    "We'll convince them by logic or charm that this is not the right case
    to bring forward."
    Burton said he was negotating with the Justice Department in hopes of
    having charges dropped.
    Attorneys for EFF, which has taken up Sklyarov's cause, said they were
    "We're very pleased about this, but this is not the end," said EFF's
    Robin Gross. "Our longterm goal is to have the charges dropped and to
    get the DMCA overturned."
    Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Virginia) has said that he's drafting legislation
    that would rewrite the section of the DMCA that the government used to
    charge Sklyarov.
    The DMCA was obscure enough when Congress enacted it in 1998, but it
    has emerged as one of the most important and far-reaching technology
    regulations. Sklyarov is charged with "trafficking in" a program to
    bypass Adobe's copy protection for e-books, a federal felony under the
    The prospect of Sklyarov, a programmer at ElcomSoft who is married
    with two young children, spending up to five years behind bars
    outraged programmers, hackers and open-source activists.
    Leo Schwab, a software engineer at the former Be Software who showed
    up at the hearing, said: "I purchase a washing machine, I can take it
    apart and see how it works. I purchase software and I can't."
    Declan McCullagh in Washington and Farhad Manjoo in San Jose
    contributed to this report.
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