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Travesty: Dmitry Sklyarov's Arrest

JonKatz posted more than 12 years ago | from the --what's-at-stake-(lots)- dept.

United States 354

Can Draconian Internet copyright laws be used to make criminals of people who criticize corporate products or government behavior? In the Sklyarov case -- he's in jail, charged with "trafficking" in software -- criminal felony liability has been imposed by the government at the complaint of a corporation for behavior that may not even qualify technically as copyright infringement, an ugly escalation of growing conflicts involving corporatism, free speech, intellectual property and the movement of ideas online. Does anybody believe Ralph Nader or a New York Times reporter would be in jail if he or she did what Sklyarov did? (Meanwhile, Adobe, in a classic demo of corporate morality, is running for its life.)

The arrest highlights the way copyright law and intellectual property issues have been highjacked by software and entertainment companies and their lobbyists, who joined forces to pass the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, a little-noticed or debated 1996 law that turns out to be a serious threat to free speech online or off. Sklyarov, a 26-year-old graduate student from Moscow, is one of the first people to face criminal prosecution -- including jail -- under the DMCA. His alleged crime? He is accused of "trafficking" in software designed to circumvent the security features of an Adobe e-book program used by Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other sellers of electronic books.

The arrest raises questions about the right of individuals -- hackers, reporters, programmers, kids in their rooms -- to raise public policy issues relating to software, encryption or security -- without being arrested and jailed, an act more reminiscent of Stalinist Russia than of a country that once placed considerable premium on free speech. If the Sklyarov case stands, then discussion of security, copyright, intellectual property and other issues online will be severely curtailed. This is serious stuff.

In addition, there is a significant body of Constitutional law that gives special protection to journalists and people acting in that role -- like Sklyarov -- from powerful interests like governments and corporations that allows them to raise public policy issues which, over the years, have ranged from national security to government corruption to music and research to software and issues relating to its security. The Constitution always tilted in favor of protecting individuals who challenge authority, under the theory that concentrated power poses a greater threat to freedom than the behavior of individuals.

To understand how information conglomerates have, along with Congress, corrupted Constitutional law, you have to draw analogies to previous cases in which individuals acted as checks and balances on powerful institutions.

Consider the celebrated Pentagon Papers during the Nixon administration in 1971. Journalists, including some working for The New York Times, CBS News and The Washington Post, obtained and disclosed secret Pentagon documents dealing with the decision-making that led to the Vietnam War, then and now bitterly controversial.

The circumstances were very different. The government invoked national security, not copyright in an effort to keep proprietary information secret. The government and the President reacted furiously when they learned that the media intended to publish these documents, citing law and national security. Reporters couldn't be allowed to decide which classified documents would be published, argued the government. These documents belonged to government agencies and could only be released by them. In a different context, Adobe and the government are making the very same argument against Sklyarov.

The Federal government threatened criminal action against the reporters and their news organizations, claiming it was illegal to disclose documents relating to national security. But the U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, found that it was unconstitutional to exercise that kind of "prior restraint" on a journalist or news organization seeking to fulfill its constitutional duties to monitor government actions. The court ruled that even though national security concerns were legitimate, the greater public interest lay in the ability of citizens to understand the decisions that led to a prolonged military conflict. The court ruled for an open, rather than a closed, debate on Vietnam.

In its ruling, the Court affirmed long-standing legal interpretations which protected people acting as citizens or journalists -- remember, there are no established qualifications; anyone can function as a journalist -- from censorship, restraint or punishment while they were acting in the public interest, defined as scrutinizing and checking power and authority. Today, corporatism is as powerful as most governments, and as urgently in need of monitoring.

Apart from the scale of the bedrock issue -- a war versus encryption -- there is little legal difference between the reporters seeking to disclose what was in the Pentagon Papers and Sklyarov, who was acting as a reporter just as much as New York Times employees. If anything, the Pentagon papers were airing much more sensitive material -- top-secret classified documents from U.S. defense agencies.

If a New York Times or Washington Post reporter challenged the effectiveness of a government official or agency, he or she would be showered with awards. Reporters published "leaked" or confidential material all the time, in regards to the safety practices of companies as well as the workings of government. Does any rational person think a New York Times reporter would ever be arrested or thrown in jail for disclosing that a software company's supposedly securely encrypted software had flaws? Sklyarov is entitled to the same standing, and the same protection. In a sense, hackers are the reporters and commentators of cyberspace, in some contexts entitled to similiar protections.

If there's a bright spot to the arrest, it's the growing discomfort of Adobe, which spent most of yesterday back-pedaling, trying to distance itself from the arrest. The image of this giant corporation, which claims to be the second biggest PC software company in the United States, against a 26-year-old gadfly wasn't pretty, and may deter other companies from calling in the feds. This promises to be a PR debacle for Adobe, and the company richly deserves it. Many software critics compare Sklyarov to corporate critics like Ralph Nader, who gathered private information on the behavior and safety records of corporations and there products, but are rarely, if ever, thrown in jail for it. Yesterday, Adobe panicked, and in an unexpected turnaround, called for Sklyarov's release -- almost one month to the day that the company filed a complaint about him with the F.B.I. That leaves the feds holding the bag, trying to explain this outrageous arrest.

People protesting Sklyarov's arrest are correct when they warn that critics of companies can now go to jail for proving that so-called secure software isn't necessarily secure. Or for obtaining and publishing other "copyrighted" material, now under the DMCA, and owned by wealthy, politically-connected corporations like Adobe or Microsoft.

Companies like Sony, Disney, AOL Time-Warner, Microsoft and Adobe are increasingly powerful, and spend billions lobbying Washington politicians to enact laws like the DMCA, an almost total creation of the music industry.

But people like Sklyarov are clearly acting in the public interest when they monitor the ethics, performance and conduct of companies like Adobe, just as the Pentagon Paper reporters were disclosing documents that launched the Vietnam War. If Adobe's encryption software works, what does the company have to fear from a 26-year-old Russian hacker?

Sklyarov was guilty of offering a public presentation about software designed to prevent the piracy of e-books, meanwhile, publishing corporations have been lining up behind the record and movie companies to try to control intellectual property online -- at any cost.

Sklyarov wasn't stealing money, or behaving in any overtly criminal way. The government and Adobe both have civil legal remedies they could have pursued. And whatever Sklyarov's motives or intentions, he was acting in the most traditional and highest standards of the press and free speech in questioning the widely-used products of a powerful corporation. Encryption and e-publishing is a bona fide public policy issue with significant implications for business and the public.

Who else but a hacker is in a position to monitor companies like Adobe and the products they create, products that are at the center of a number of crucial public policy issues? To embroil this person in criminal prosecution is an unthinking and chilling assault on the notion -- and long-held practice -- that people in the United States can speak out, however obnoxiously, against powerful institutions.

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354 comments

Land of the free my fucking arse! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#64862)

Land of the free my fucking arse!

can someone explain to me (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#64863)

who JK is ? He seems to be some sort of media celebrity in the US ? I'm non-USian so the only place I see JK's writings are here on /.. Does he have a homepage ? @@@

Photocopiers (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#64864)

Law aside, since there are just laws and injust laws. (Also speaking as a somewhar horrified Brit, resident in Germany). Reverse the picture a little by a few decades, before the end of the cold war. Remember the stories about photocopiers being illegal behind the iron curtain? Where really is the difference between the DMCA and that old attitude. I am not against copyright, but feel it is sufficient for act itself to be a low level illegality. (My views on the extremes of IP (God, how I hate that phrase) are somewhat stronger).

unfair world (2)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#64872)

What kind of world is it where this poor Russian bastard is in jail and Katz walks the streets a free man?

Canadians, help us STOP THIS! (4)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#64876)

On July 17, 2001, the Government of Canada released a series of papers detailing a framework and roadmap for new Copyright law. They are asking for comments, and we have until September to respond.

Details can be found here [ic.gc.ca] or

http://strategis.ic.gc.ca/SSG/rp01100e.html

for the anchor paranoid.

Lets stop the DMCA from undermining our rights north of the border.

This will only go on... (3)

Have Blue (616) | more than 12 years ago | (#64886)

...until the people are affected directly by it, and then there will be a backlash. They don't care that some random hacker got arrested for annoying Adobe. They will care when Windows XP tells tham that they're not allowed to play the music they just copied off a CD they bought. They will care when Passport gets cracked or DOSed and their buddy lists or email or credit card numbers are lost or stolen. They will care when someone test-drives a subscription model and they suddenly have to pay again and again for something they used to get for free. Consumer rejection killed the DivX disc, and it can still kill just about anything else that a corporation puts on the market. Last time I checked, the decision to buy or not to buy was still left to the individual consumer.

[awaits insane replies from paranoiacs contradicting last sentence]

Picture This (1)

N8F8 (4562) | more than 12 years ago | (#64897)

Public interest: How is this any different than a news organization doing an undercover operation to disprove fraudulent product or service claims? Adobe claims to have a "safe" method of distributing written material on the internet. The company Dmitry works for, a software security company that specializes in decrypting information, cracked Adobe's code. When they discovered the crack they repeatedly atrtempted to inform Adobe. When that failed Dmitry presented some of the information at a security conference to bring it into the public knowledge. What he did is a "service" to the intellectual property producers, consumers and even Adobe.

All I can think is shame on the United States. Double shame for ever passing somthing like the DCMA in the first place. Talk about conspiracy, the only reason it was ever passed was because big compaines shoveled money into political coffers to pass it. Virginia, my home state, was one of the first states to pass the DCMA. Virginia, home of AOL and Network Solutions. That was last year. The only reason this stuff passes is because slimy politicians and their cronies never have to see their faces plastered on the TV screen when people realize this crap legislation got passed. We seriously need to start putting faces on this bullsh&*t. How about a picture of the CEO of Abobe and his lead corporate lawyer. How about the judge that signed the warrant? How about all the politicians taking bribes from DCMA supporters?

Re:Sick of 'I hate Jon' articles... (1)

Tack (4642) | more than 12 years ago | (#64898)

Well said! You read my mind -- verbatim.

Jason.

Untrue and misleading - are you trolling? (5)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 12 years ago | (#64908)

Its not that he found the problem, people always do that. He was selling software that cracks it for $99. Did everyone forget that?

No. His employer was selling the software for $99 in a country where the software was not only legal, but in which, in order for Adobe's software to be at all legal, the existence of the program was required.

Dmitry doesn't "own" the company that employs him, he works there. Would any of us want to be held accountable for our employer's behavior, however benign. While throwing Bill Gates in jail for Microsoft's behavior might seem reasonable, clearly throwing some low-level Microsoft programmer in jail for incompetent programming, or writing a piece of software used to illegally leverage Microsoft's monopoly, wouldn't be at all acceptable.

Yet that is very analogous to what happened here. The guy gave a speech on how software he helped develop (and was being sold by his employer in Russia, which last I checked isn't subject to US law). He gave no specifics, merely made it clear that Adobe's copy protection is virtually nonexistent. For that constitutionally protected speech he was carted off by the FBI, held without bail, and denied access to his Consulate while who-knows-what psychological games were played with his mind (not to mention outright interrogation techniques).

It never ceases to amaze me what levels pro-copyright zealots will stoop to in order to defend the indefensible.

Re:Technically... (2)

Robotech_Master (14247) | more than 12 years ago | (#64917)

Exactly.

Let's be honest here, Jon. If Ralph Nader made a decryption-cracking program available, he would be liable to prosecution. Is that a good thing? No, but it's the way the law currently stands. Is that a good law? No, but that doesn't mean he was arrested for his speech, either.

There is a relationship of correlation, not causation, between Skylarov's speech and his arrest.

--

Re:Isn't what he did against US law? (1)

Hammer (14284) | more than 12 years ago | (#64918)

With all due respect, regardless of your perspective on the morality of this law, in the boundaries of the States, it is the law....right?

Yeaahh, but he did so in Russia, where incidentally Adobes encryption is an illegal restriction of the use of the purchased eBook.

Last I checked US laws do not apply outside the US.

Isn't what he did against US law? (2)

anomaly (15035) | more than 12 years ago | (#64919)

With all due respect, regardless of your perspective on the morality of this law, in the boundaries of the States, it is the law....right?

Is it ok to break laws you don't personally care for?

Wouldn't the more appropriate route be to move through your elected representatives to have this law repealed, or to work through an organization to challence the constitutionality of this law in court?

If something is perfectly legal where you live, but illegal in another jurisdiction, shouldn't you avoid that jurisdiction?

This is a matter of what is law. You may not like the way that the law is written. You might not like the way that the law is enforced. Neither is particularly relevant here.

Send your comments and constructive criticism to your elected representative, or your local defender of freedom to get this law overturned.

Don't simply break the law. If you do, you are likely to end up in jail. How does that help your cause of freedom?

Anomaly

BTW - God love you and longs for relationship with you. If you would like to know more about this, please contact me at tom_cooper at bigfoot dot com.

Finally I understand! (2)

democritus (17634) | more than 12 years ago | (#64930)

"journalists -- remember, there are no established qualifications"

That about explains JonKatz, doesn't it?

So when will the Moscow Militia. . . (2)

Salgak1 (20136) | more than 12 years ago | (#64934)

. . .arrest the employees of the Adobe Moscow office ??? After all, ADOBE is breaking Russian law. . . oops, nearest office is in Sweden. However, they DO have an agent in Russia:
Russia
AZ-Graphics Co.
24 Pravda Street, Office 706
Pressa Entrance
Moscow 125865
Russia
Tel: (+7) 095-257-45-23
Fax: (+7) 095-251-42-49
(taken from Adobe's European Support Page [adobe.com]

Actually, I'm surprised that there HASN'T been a counter-arrest in Russia, or a uproar from the Duma. . . .

Re:Isn't what he did against US law? (4)

meldroc (21783) | more than 12 years ago | (#64938)

Try telling that to Rosa Parks - the law said black people must move to the back of the bus. The result of her civil disobedience was that she was arrested. Then, the outcry over that incident brought an end to Jim Crow laws.

It is not only OK to break laws that are blatently unfair, it is your duty to do so.

Speaking of duty... This version is probably HTML mangled, see the DeCSS gallery for the unmangled version.

#!/usr/bin/perl # 472-byte qrpff, Keith Winstein and Marc Horowitz # MPEG 2 PS VOB file -> descrambled output on stdout. # usage: perl -I :::: qrpff # where k1..k5 are the title key bytes in least to most-significant order s''$/=\2048;while(){G=29;R=142;if((@a=unqT="C*",_) [20]&48){D=89;_=unqb24,qT,@ b=map{ord qB8,unqb8,qT,_^$a[--D]}@INC;s/...$/1$&/;Q=unqV,qb2 5,_;H=73;O=$b[4]>8^(P=(E=255)&(Q>>12^Q>>4^Q/8^Q))> 8^(E&( F=(S=O>>14&7^O) ^S*8^S>=8 )+=P+(~F&E))for@a[128..$#a]}print+qT,@a}';s/[D-HO- U_]/\$$&/g;s/q/pack+/g;eval

Re:Obviously noone's seen this, else it'd be here. (3)

Xenu (21845) | more than 12 years ago | (#64939)

It isn't within Adobe's power to drop the charges. The charge is a criminal offense (State vs. Joe Blow) and only the government or the court has the power to dismiss the case or drop the charges.

Re:Robert Mueller and Dmitry's Attorney? (2)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 12 years ago | (#64941)

That's kind of a short-sighted view, isn't it? Wouldn't it be better to have this one go to trial, and give the DMCA a chance to get tossed out as unconstitutional? Sure it's bad for the Russian guy, but just as the GPL is unproven, the DMCA has to get into court eventually... why not sooner rather than later?

Oh..... I see..... you're taking this as an opportunity to take a swipe at a conservative guy taking over the FBI. Okay, makes sense, never mind.

I'm sure there are numerous people with plenty of $$ who will take up Dmitry's case should it go that far.

Sick of 'I hate Jon' articles... (1)

Pengo (28814) | more than 12 years ago | (#64944)

Maybe I am one of the few people that actually enjoy reading Jon's articles. Some I don't agree with, some I do.. but GOD... will you people quit complaining. I think some of you think it's fucking cool to rip on Jon Katz. Have you all been so conditioned in public education to ridicule and mock people and idea that you don't necessarily agree with.

Whenever Katz posts an article I spend more time trying to filter out the childish patronism than actually getting to a interesting and -god forbid- thought provoking response other than '.. You idiot Jon... ... This AGAIN Jon.... What planet have you been on Jon.... A little LATE aren't we Jon... ... Jumping on this bandwagon Jon.... '.

I enjoyed Jons work before he came to Slashdot (HotWired) and enjoy his articles here. Some I agree with, some I don't. But I am just sick of all the damn childishness you people show in these mindless responses.

To sum it up, nobody is impressed by your mindless slander.



--------------------
Would you like a Python based alternative to PHP/ASP/JSP?

Re:Robert Mueller and Dmitry's Attorney? (3)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 12 years ago | (#64947)

No. I disagree.

A smart FBI would pursue the punishment of Dmitry to the bitter end. All the while crying, "It's not our fault. Adobe set us up the bomb. All our bases are belong to Adobe. Congress made the law, Bill Clinton signed it, and we must enforce it until Congress tells us otherwise." (Note: the reference to Clinton is important to overturn the law. Bush can say, "See! I'm fixing that Clinton guy's mistakes!" True or not, we don't care.)

While the execs may enjoy the fruits of their selling out labor (Congress in this case), the rank and file of most organizations tend to have some honor and respect for their positions. I truly believe that most FBI agents are honorable, if not sometimes misguided, hard working people who want to 'do the right thing' by their country.

This law (DMCA) is a travesty, and nothing will happen to it as long as the big guys are allowed to us it to quietly stuff little guys in holes. We need to use Dmitry as a martyr (that's what he gets for selling his software instead of releasing it open source 8*). He'll most likely end up much better than when he started (free publicity and all), and we need someone to show the public how the big guys have a tool to shut down anyone they like (we USians abhor a bully--unless it's us). Adobe must not be allowed to simply walk away and say, "Ahh, we were only kiddin'."

We need some people in Russia protesting outside of the US embassy. Have them burn some flags and call Bush stupid and evil. Have some USians from Russians descent complain how this law and the prosecution of Dmitry is an attack on Russian culture. Hell, protest outside of the Russian embassy in Washington. Turn this whole damn thing into an international incident that Bush will have to be involved with personnally.

Then watch how quickly the law gets struck down.

Re:Denying bail (2)

Flower (31351) | more than 12 years ago | (#64948)

I thought about this and wondered if they considered what would happen if he went to the Russian embassy. It would still be difficult to get him back home but that's Russian soil for all practical purposes. The feds couldn't touch him without an international incident.

Just musing...

Re:Isn't what he did against US law? (1)

Absynthe (34189) | more than 12 years ago | (#64950)

Don't simply break the law....What the hell are you talking about? A tenent of civil disobedience is that to break an unjust law is a moral imperative.
There is rich tradition of nonviolent protest in this country, including Harriet Tubman's underground railroad during the civil war and Henry David Thoreau's refusal to pay war taxes. Nonviolent civil disobedience was a critical factor in gaining women the right to vote in the United States, as well. Those folks were certainly "breaking the law", and they sure as hell got arrested a few times.
I'm not going to lump skylarov in with Rosa Parks or Thoreau, Harriet Tubman wasn't charging $99 to break slaves out of the south. However, an attitude of "it's just unthinkable to break a law however stupid it is" is just plain dangerous.

Call for Technical Submissions (& Haiku ;-);-);-) (5)

rm3friskerFTN (34339) | more than 12 years ago | (#64952)

Dr. Dave Touretzky, a Computer Science Professor at Carnegie-Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) and academic editor/author of the academic research website Gallery of CSS Descramblers [cmu.edu], has issued a Call For Papers [actually "technical submissions"] [cmu.edu] regarding information about Adobe's access control mechanisms and the remedies people [i.e. legal content users exercising their "fair use" rights] have devised to deal with them.

He is interested in receiving and publishing the following kinds of information:

Technical descriptions of the access control and encryption mechanisms associated with PDF files and/or eBooks.

Technical descriptions of remedies for these mechanisms, e.g., patches, key recovery algorithms, modified plug-ins, etc.

Source code for implementing these remedies.

He notes that "A large amount of useful content is now encoded as PDF (Portable Document Format) files, including files marketed for the eBook document reader. Unfortunately, some of this content is not usable in all the LAWFUL WAYS [emphasis mine] a purchaser desires, due to access control mechanisms created by Adobe and adopted by content publishers to the detriment of their [LAWFUL] customers."

He further notes that "Computer professionals who have examined [Adobe's access control mechanisms] have found them easy to defeat."

He notes that his website is for discussion of purely technical information of interest to computer scientists and lawful content users. He is not interested in receiving rants about Adobe or the DMCA, suggesting that individuals go to the Boycott Adobe [boycottadobe.com] [and/or slashdot [slashdot.org] - grin] site for that.

It is suggested that individuals wishing to submit TECHNICAL CONTENT first visit the site [cmu.edu] to see what others have already submitted to avoid unnecessary duplication (e.g. ElcomSoft, Xpdf, Ghostscript, etc).

It is noted that there is yet no "Haiku" regarding Adobe's "easy to defeat" access control mechanism.


Tangential Editorial Comment by RM3 Frisker FTN ... "Why don't people get as bent out of shape when the other Twenty-Six (?) Amendments are violated (e.g. Second Amendment???) [tuxedo.org]"

Re:Isn't what he did against US law? (2)

Fixer (35500) | more than 12 years ago | (#64954)

With all due respect, regardless of your perspective on the morality of this law, in the boundaries of the States, it is the law....right? Is it ok to break laws you don't personally care for?

'okay'? No. Justified? Morally correct? Perhaps. It's a value judgement you have to make for yourself.

The constitution is the supreme law of the land, and there is no reason not to be educated in that law. So, if in your judgement the DMCA is not compatible with the constitution, you may even be legally justified in not complying with that law.

But don't expect that to save you from arrest and conviction, as the Supreme Court is the final arbitor of such issues.

Thought experiment: The government passess a law which makes it a crime NOT to kill anyone over 50 years of age. You refuse, and therefore you go to jail. Legally it may be correct, but morally, ethically, personally, it is entirely inhuman and evil.

Yes, that's an extreme example, but what I am pointing out is that you have an obligation to act as your best judgement dictates, regardless of the law.

Denying bail (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#64963)

He's being denied bail because the Feds say he'll flee the country. Which he would, being a smart guy. Once he got back to Russia, they'd have a hard time getting ahold of him.

Technically... (3)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#64964)

He wasn't arrested for the speech. He was arrested for disseminating (for money) a program that broke Adobes' "encryption". It is the software that he is being persecuted, err, prosecuted, for. In theory, his speech had nothing to do with it, other than allowing the Feds to know where he would be so they could pick him up. In theory.

motivation for selling the decoder (1)

swestcott (44407) | more than 12 years ago | (#64966)

I would like to know the motivation for selling a product that would decode the file (do you realy need one?) My guess is if ther had been no money changing hands this would not have happened at all

What I find funny .... (2)

laetus (45131) | more than 12 years ago | (#64967)

as a gun-owning techie, is all of the hullabaloo over the DMCA in this forum and how it spells the downfall for freedom.

Law-abiding gun enthusiasts have been fighting for their rights for years now, with increasingly restrictive laws being passed year by year.

Now, the DMCA is passed and the sky is falling.

Newsflash, freedoms in a variety of areas (abortion, right to bear arms, freedom of speech -- including the right to code as an intellectual pursuit --, etc. ) are under continual assault in this country.

Quit bitching and do something about it. Join the EFF and donate. The NRA gets a yearly donation from me.
----------------------------------

Perhaps... (2)

WinDoze (52234) | more than 12 years ago | (#64974)

Maybe Adobe was just trying to get their hands on a talented programmer... ;)

Re:Denying bail (1)

levik (52444) | more than 12 years ago | (#64975)

He's probably a visible enough figure at this point that he can just walk into any russian embassy and be on the next flight out of the country.

Re:He was selling the software (2)

underwhelm (53409) | more than 12 years ago | (#64976)

He didn't; his company did. We don't arrest people for things their company does.

Nobody cracked into the Jon Katz account. (2)

HiroProtagonist (56728) | more than 12 years ago | (#64977)

What you fail to take into account is that Katz has been writing about Civil Liberties since the beginning of WIRED magazine.

Perhaps you remember the section called "The Netizen" in which he wrote some very pertinent articles about the growing use of the net in democracy, and free speech. Katz is one of the reasons that I care so much about Civil Liberties today. His articles made me realize how threatened that our rights are by these pork barrel politicians.

Not a journalist... (1)

telemnar (68532) | more than 12 years ago | (#64984)

Hm... Katz seems to be only half wrong this time, getting amazingly close to being clued in.

Unfortunately, Sklyarov is not a journalist in much of any sense of the word. He was not "acting" as a reporter when he gave his speech on the ebook security. I'd call him something along the lines of a "security expert"... but certainly not the "evil bad wicked naughty (Zoot for you Python types) hacker person" that adobe would have him be.

What really gets me is not him being mislabelled as a reporter, rather that Adobe is protecting its weak product and probably smaller-than-it-wants-to-admit market share of this ebook crap with litigation rather than actual security. CSS. Ebook. Starting to see a trend with shoddily secured products being cracked and those who did so being prosecuted instead of being thanked for finding a problem with a product?

Let's see if we can't draw an analogy that someone will most likely find fault with, but I think works anyway.... If I blab to the world that Ford's new Pinto(tm) has weak gas tank security, allowing me to circumvent the explosion prevention measures on the product, are they allowed under any law (no, not the DMCA, quit arguing with my analogy.) to prosecute me for revealing their trade secrets? Hell no, they damn well better recall the car. Pintos have broken gas tanks, Ebooks have broken encryption. Adobe is at fault, and Sklyarov is being blamed.

Nevermind the concept of fair use. Elcomsoft's product allowed for... sing along with me here, folks... decryption of ebooks ONLY if one had the original unlock password - which one must pay for. So he's allowing people to make perfectly legal copies of something they purchased the right to view. I see no illegality, do you?

The problem is that Adobe does. Thank god they woke up and realized that nobody agreed with them, but it's still legal for them to prosecute under.

Let's fix the law, people. Let us (and I'm one of 'em) lazy Americans tell our congressman what we think of Orrin Hatch's little DMCA... Bitching and whining and gnashing our teeth won't do much, but if we do it in their direction, they might be obliged to eventually listen. Call them. Write them. Email them. Junk-fax them. Send it pony express. http://www.house.gov/writerep/ for House contact information and http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm for Senate names and numbers.

Have you yelled at your Congressman today?

Re:Robert Mueller and Dmitry's Attorney? (3)

aallan (68633) | more than 12 years ago | (#64985)


While Dmitry remains in custody, I have not read the EFF (or any other organization/individual) will provide him counsel. Given the nature of the U.S. judicial system, it would be vital for Sklyarov to have extremely credible criminal defense attorneys.

Taken from the EFFector Vol. 14, No. 15 (July 22nd 2001)

EFF has been in contact with the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA)'s office trying to track Mr. Sklyarov's whereabouts and speak with him directly. While the arrest took place in Las Vegas, the complaint was executed in San Jose, meaning that Mr. Sklyarov will be sent to California to stand trial. We have spoken with his colleagues, criminal defense attorneys and others to help with his defense. After he arrives in California, our first order of business is to get Mr. Sklyarov out of jail on a bond pending his trial. EFF has begun to pull together a top-notch legal team to help him defend his right to talk about and distribute the Advanced eBook Processor software program, and we'll be ready to step in as soon as it is appropriate.

Al.
--

Re:Beria's FBI (2)

jmccay (70985) | more than 12 years ago | (#64986)

That's a little strong. I doubt the FBI still does everything they did back then. I doubt every public figure has as much information gathered about them as they did back then.

Re:Here's what's worse. (1)

Negadecimal (78403) | more than 12 years ago | (#64990)

Ashcroft (I usually replace that "h" with another "s", but maybe not this time) might prosecute anyway. His motive would be to uphold the almighty DMCA, to protect corporate America's inalienable rights to strife, misery, and the pursuit of avarice.

Why would he want to? To expose how stupid DMCA really is? To tarnish the Justice Dept. by prosecuting a case despite withdrawn charges? You seem to think this guy's evil for no other reason than to be evil.

This isn't like 2600 trial, where a judge is forced to make a decision and prosecuters are loading the dialog with "hacker slacker" scare propaganda. If the Justice Dept. pursues this further, they'll be acting without political pressure...and that's not how our gov't operates.

for the time being (2)

kootch (81702) | more than 12 years ago | (#64991)

He broke the law of the country he was in. Is the law a good law? Well, that's up for intepretation. But in the meantime, it's a law that's in the books. And it doesn't matter what the law is where he's from and where his company is based. While he's in the US he needs to adhere to US laws.

Hell, if I went to a country that had laws that I didn't agree with, they'd have every right to jail me if I broke that law while I was in their country.

If you went to a conservative Islamic country and broke a law of decency that your country didn't have, would you expect to be let off the hook because the law of your country is different? That doesn't excuse the behavior whether or not you agree with the law.

When does the movie come out? (1)

pcmills (83944) | more than 12 years ago | (#64992)

So Katz can tell us how he really feels about this subject.

Re:Obviously noone's seen this, else it'd be here. (1)

seigniory (89942) | more than 12 years ago | (#64995)

will someone please moderate this up? for the love of god, can;t we please have an intelligent conversation about the LATEST information?

Re:Denying bail (2)

BenHmm (90784) | more than 12 years ago | (#64997)

hmm.
why didn't they just confiscate his passport? He's going to have a hard time getting on a plane without one. Never mind getting back into the CIS.

Who cracked into the Jon Katz account? (3)

wannabe (90895) | more than 12 years ago | (#65000)

I normally try not to read things by Katz as I find his line of thinking very unoriginal and often sensationalist.

Although I have not changed my opinion, Katz has, this time at least, summed up my view on this situation quite well. I agree that there is a double standard and that the law needs to be changed.

Katz may be late on the bandwagon, but I think he nailed the essence of the arguement.

(There's just this part of me that refuses to believe it's really him and not some very insightful imposter.)

might-makes-right (1)

Telemain (91811) | more than 12 years ago | (#65001)

It seems like there is a current, in this argument, of "Adobe's encryption was weak, therefore it is okay to break it". However, this is fundamentally "might-makes-right", which is not good. The justification of Sklyarov's actions should be based on something else. Possibly you can make a "shoddy craftsmanship" argument, that he was just pointing out a flaw. However, trying to make money off of the flaw is not justified. Possibly you can make a "information wants to be free" argument, which is solid ideologically, but doesn't have much legal weight behind it.

Re:Facts before fingerpointing (2)

Martin S. (98249) | more than 12 years ago | (#65004)

Sklyarov was not only speaking but actually selling the Elcomsoft product

Actually this idea is flawed, and easily challenged.

Stanley sell crowbar's, Colt Sell gun's, Coates sell beer and Ford sell Car's.

So are the US authorities going to arrest everybody who produces and sell a product that can be miss-used ?

heh (3)

jon_c (100593) | more than 12 years ago | (#65006)


If the DMCA had been in existence in the l970s, the reporters and their employees could have been arrested under the exact same charges as Sklyarov -- stealing copyrighted material.


no, he was arrested for trafficing a "copyright circumvention device" or as adobe puts it "digital lockpick".

I was actually injoying your artical until that comment.

-Jon

It is a crime! (2)

Christianfreak (100697) | more than 12 years ago | (#65007)

This is a crime folks

The guy was arrested for creating and selling a device which breaks Adobe's "encryption".

Lets suppose for a moment that Adobe had good encryption on their product, would we all be whining so much. Probably and that still isn't nessicarily illegal I realize. But not right either, the guy is trying to make money off of Adobe's work. That would piss me off a bit too

I've also seen a ton of comment about Bush and Ashcroft how they will prosecute anyway because they are for the Corporate Republic blah blah blah. Lets remember that Bush didn't pass the DMCA- Clinton did! Ashcroft is doing his job by upholding a standing law. Personally I prefer politicians that don't selectively follow the law but uphold them no matter how bad they are until someone gets them changed..

Dimitry broke a law plain and simple, and it wasn't to make some sort of statement, he didnt' release his product open source, he was doing it to make money. I'm sorry but /. needs a better martyr then this.


"One World, one Web, one Program" - Microsoft promotional ad

Adobe backs down (1)

cybercuzco (100904) | more than 12 years ago | (#65009)

Adobe has backed down from their former stance against dimitry, according to this [bbc.co.uk] story at the bbc. btw, this was submitted to slashdot, but rejected.

Skylarov Just proved a point... (2)

11thangel (103409) | more than 12 years ago | (#65012)

IIRC, he made a PDF decryptor. Something that anyone that had xpdf sourcecode could probably write. And if IIRC again, it was a crippled version that was released publicly, that could only handle 25% of the document. Imagine what would have happened if he released a full version.

I've been waiting for this... (1)

loki2eng (104976) | more than 12 years ago | (#65013)

Jon Katz's supporters to stand up and be heard.
I'm all stocked up, and I'm selling napalm at discount prices. $19.95 a pint, and I don't care what side you are on. ;-)
Seriously, it would be nice if people who thought Jon's article was stupid could say something more insightfull about the topic to show him up, rather than going all Johnny Storm.

Katz missed the point. (1)

j0nb0y (107699) | more than 12 years ago | (#65026)

I agree that our first amendment rights are being violated, but Sklyarov was not arrested for criticizing Adobe. He was arrested for traficking a "circumvention device."

I fail to see how our rights to criticize governments and large corporations are being taken away.

The two things about the dmca that I don't like:
1. Outlaws fair use.
2. Traficking a circumvention device should be protected by the first amendment. So the dmca violates our first amendment right to spread information about how to circumvent "technological protection measures." It should be noted that this is the first copyright law which restricts the spread of information, instead of the form of the information.

Information wants to be free. Freedom of information can co-exist with sane copyright laws.

Restore freedom of information. Reform copyright law.

--

Re:Beria's FBI (1)

13013dobbs (113910) | more than 12 years ago | (#65032)

What is the excuse for denying bail in this case? Suspect might write more software that would harm the interests of corporations?

No, but he would jump on the next flight out of the US, that is for sure.

This was a test (2)

ant-1 (120272) | more than 12 years ago | (#65035)

Adobe is testing how can the DMCA work. Look, they caught a russian hacker just after the biggest hacker con. They nearly asked for journalists for the arrest.

They try to see how people reacts of course. They waited some few months after the law passed and they are weighting the protests. And they pay much more attention to the press (that doesn't seems to think it' such a big deal) than to activists like /.ers...

Re:One point. (1)

antibryce (124264) | more than 12 years ago | (#65039)

Elcomsoft has no right to *sell* products whose purpose is to disable Adobe's encryption, esp. when such knowledge was gained through reverse-engineering.

I can't believe you managed to type that with a straight face. Adobe's encryption is ILLEGAL in Russia. Reverse-engineering is LEGAL in both the US and Russia. One of the cited reasons I've seen for writing this software was so blind people could read eBooks. Just because he didn't release the source, doesn't mean he wasn't acting in public interest.

I do agree that this should be taken to civil court, however I don't think Adobe would be in the right. I'm also willing to bet Adobe would agree with me, which would be why they took it to criminal charges.

c.

Re:Technically... (2)

tunesmith (136392) | more than 12 years ago | (#65049)

See, I've heard exactly the opposite. Adobe pressured ElcomSoft to take it off the market, and they did. He gave the talk afterward, and the charges were exactly consistent what RIAA was thinking of giving Edward Felton for giving HIS talk on how to circumvent copyright protections in music.

tune

Re:Facts before fingerpointing (2)

tunesmith (136392) | more than 12 years ago | (#65050)

Your analogy doesn't hold up... first, a lot of "bomb"-type things are perfectly legal to buy and sell. But anyway, I'll assume you came up with an example of something highly illegal here but legal in another country. What still doesn't hold up is that it isn't illegal to OWN or to USE a circumvention technology.

In other words, Chewbacca does NOT MAKE SENSE. If Chewbacca does NOT MAKE SENSE, you MUST ACQUIT.

tune

Re:One point. (2)

null_session (137073) | more than 12 years ago | (#65053)

Adobe would be in the right: Elcomsoft has no right to *sell* products whose purpose is to disable Adobe's encryption, esp. when such knowledge was gained through reverse-engineering.

So you are saying that Adobe, who sells a software that is plainly illegal in Russia, is in a position to sue a Russian company full of Russian citizens because they went and reverse engineered an Adobe product so that it would be legal? First, it seems to me that Elcomsoft actually gave Adobe an out - they (possibly) made the software legal in countries where they actually protect their citizens' rights. Second, since when is reverse engineering illegal? I guess I don't know Russian law, but if they actually bother to protect their citizen's right to fair use I'm going to to guess that the haven't sold them up the river when it comes to reverse engineering.

Re:Facts???? (1)

thrillbert (146343) | more than 12 years ago | (#65055)

That was a very nice analogy with the bomb. However, the point you seem to be missing is that this stupid law is a violation of rights. Yes, you do have the right to try and figure how something works. Yes, you do have the right to do as you wish with a product you bought, and this does mean software you purchased and the ability to install it on any computer you wish, without the need to be calling your mommy for permission.

A better analogy would be of you getting dressed in your best plad pants, yellow t-shirt, and fisherman's cap. Then comming over to my house where I will beat the crap out of you because I have a law against people looking like Mr. Furley.

That would be a better description of the DMCA.

Re:One point. (2)

Ig0r (154739) | more than 12 years ago | (#65059)

... esp. when such knowledge was gained through reverse-engineering.

Reverse-engineering, as opposed to espionage or bribery, is how you're supposed to make compatable products.

--

Re:If 2 Programs use the same encryption... (1)

dughat (158489) | more than 12 years ago | (#65064)

Yes. Most likely you would be sued by Adobe for infringing on the patent they hold on the encryption technique. Although it's not guaranteed that they hold such a patent, it is very likely.

Re:Beria's FBI (1)

bribecka (176328) | more than 12 years ago | (#65079)

What is the excuse for denying bail in this case? Suspect might write more software that would harm the interests of corporations?

I assume bail was denied because he's a flight risk. He has no ties to that city, state, or this country. Think about it, if you were in another country, and arrested for something and allowed to be free on bail, how long would it take you to get to the nearest airport and head back to your homeland?

Blame SCOTUS (1)

Prior Restraint (179698) | more than 12 years ago | (#65083)

...the U.S. Supreme Court, in a unanimous ruling, found that it was unconstitutional to exercise that kind of "prior restraint"...

So that's why I'm so fat and lazy!

Re:Canadians, help us STOP THIS! (2)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 12 years ago | (#65088)

from the article above:

prevent the circumvention of technologies used to protect copyright material; and,

Gaia help us.

Not as encouraging as you think... (1)

Phokus (192971) | more than 12 years ago | (#65091)

Notice the headline on that article: "Protesters seek release of hacker"

The term "hacker" has been demonized and used loosley by the mainstream media. The average joe reading the headline itself would probably assume Dmitry is guitly before reading the rest of the article. I think it would be more effective to our cause to use the word "programmer" instead.

If 2 Programs use the same encryption... (1)

Posting=!Working (197779) | more than 12 years ago | (#65094)

...can the companies sue each other over the decyrption? Under the DMCA, what would happen if I create software, say a "secure" graphics program, that uses the same encryption technique as an E-book? Could I then be sued by Adobe since my software contains decrypting code that also "circumvents" their e-book software? Am I missing something?

JonKatz: on the trailing edge of Slashdot news (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 12 years ago | (#65095)

Seriously, this column reads like a summary of hundreds of Slashdot reader postings from the past week's discussions on this topic. First the editors reject all my submissions for actual news, and then this happens?

One point. (3)

11223 (201561) | more than 12 years ago | (#65096)

He didn't make the *detailed* information behind exactly how to decrypt a PDF (e.g. an algorithm) public. He said that he did it, and offered to sell you his product.

While I don't believe his offence warrants a stay in jail, why are defending him as if he was acting in the public interest? This isn't even DeCSS, folks. The source is *not* in your hands. You still have to purchase his product. Personally, I believe that this is open ground for a civil lawsuit between Adobe and Elcomsoft, and Adobe would be in the right: Elcomsoft has no right to *sell* products whose purpose is to disable Adobe's encryption, esp. when such knowledge was gained through reverse-engineering.

Re:One point. (1)

Hacker Cracker (204131) | more than 12 years ago | (#65098)

Whoa, wait a minute here...
Elcomsoft has no right to *sell* products whose purpose is to disable Adobe's encryption, esp. when such knowledge was gained through reverse-engineering.
What makes you think that Elcomsoft has no right to sell a piece of software that disables Adobe's encryption? And just what's wrong with reverse engineering (morally or legally)? Your assertions are exactly the kind of ridiculous doublespeak that got us the DMCA in first place!

-- Shamus

Brain for sale, low miles!

Re:One point. (1)

anonicon (215837) | more than 12 years ago | (#65107)

It doesn't matter whether the source is in your hands or not, only whether you can use it. The real shame is that Adobe has stripped away your fair use rights even after you buy their product.

Per your quote: "Personally, I believe that this is open ground for a civil lawsuit between Adobe and Elcomsoft, and Adobe would be in the right: Elcomsoft has no right to *sell* products whose purpose is to disable Adobe's encryption, esp. when such knowledge was gained through reverse-engineering," you are mistaken. Adobe's product strips your fair use to use your personal eBook copy as you see fit. Any product that restores your or my fair use rights that were taken away by a company is both ethical and totally defendable, regardless of what the DMCA says.

Last, remember, Adobe never tells you what you and can't do with your legally purchased eBook copy, which is extremely unethical when they've gone and taken away some of your consumer rights. Thank God the DMCA doesn't exist in Russia, where the decryption program was legally written by a Russian citizen. I find it ironic that a Russian has to restore our fair use rights, whether for money or not.

Here's what's worse. (1)

AFCArchvile (221494) | more than 12 years ago | (#65111)

Ashcroft (I usually replace that "h" with another "s", but maybe not this time) might prosecute anyway. His motive would be to uphold the almighty DMCA, to protect corporate America's inalienable rights to strife, misery, and the pursuit of avarice. Dimitry would become an example, a symbol that the government "won't take any guff" from the "teenage slackers". However, President Bush is partially defeating this by failing to discipline his own children for their inebriated romp through Texas bars.
Oh yes, the government will crack down on those "hacker slackers", even though they still haven't installed the latest Microsoft security updates from 1997 on their web servers.

Re:Sick of 'I hate Jon' articles... (1)

Darth RadaR (221648) | more than 12 years ago | (#65113)

It's like "First Post", "goatse.cx", "AYB", "Natalie Portman", etc. JonKatz bashing is pretty tired, but for some strange reason, it never seems to go away.

War on software trafficking (2)

Darth RadaR (221648) | more than 12 years ago | (#65114)

he's in jail, charged with "trafficking" in software -- criminal felony liability has been imposed by the government at the complaint of a corporation for behavior that may not even qualify technically as copyright infringement,

My Ghod!!! We must stop this software trafficking menace before rival gangs of software companies start doing drive-bys in Silly-con Valley with nerf-guns! [4mg.com]

Society MUST be protected!!!

Re:Here we go again... (3)

NecroPuppy (222648) | more than 12 years ago | (#65115)

No, the rights of the author and publisher are supposed to be balanced against the rights of the public. With the DMCA, the public loses their balance, as the publisher retains all the rights in perpetuity...

The Constitution provided for a limited time for copyright. The DMCA takes that away by limiting access.

One way to fight is with counter arrests (1)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 12 years ago | (#65116)

If an Adobe official finds himself on Russian soil, he should be arrested for breaking their laws. We may be entering a period where arresting nationals so that you have someone to "trade" is the only way a country can protect its citizens. Sad.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~ the real world is much simpler ~~

Opportunity for rational country to make big moola (1)

KarmaBlackballed (222917) | more than 12 years ago | (#65117)

I do not think the USA is a good place for technology conventions and gatherings anymore. Sure, we have good facilities, transportation, etc. So do some other places around the world.

Is a smart and ambitious national from a location that already has the necessary infrastructure watching these events? Idea sharing needs a place to happen face-to-face.

If you want free speech here, you better copyright and patent it before someone else does. Can I say this?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~ the real world is much simpler ~~

No surprise (3)

Microsift (223381) | more than 12 years ago | (#65120)

Copyrights have superseded human rights in U.S. policy for some time now. China nearly lost most favored nation status over its abuse of copyrights a few years ago, but its abuse of human rights still goes unpunished.

Re:One point. (2)

rabtech (223758) | more than 12 years ago | (#65124)

Actually both the law and the courts have always held that reverse-engineering is LEGAL in the U.S.

The DMCA will get smacked down if we can ever get it to the Supreme Court. It violates so many rights and other precedents, it is not amusing.


-- russ

and were allowing them to take the power (2)

C0vardeAn0nim0 (232451) | more than 12 years ago | (#65134)

I dont know whats happening.

Maybe its the excessive competitiveness of todays world that made ppl afraid of losing their jobs, maybe its apathy that came with easy access to useless information (the news are boring ? channel surf or click randomly until you find a channel/site that pleases you).

The point is that nowadays few ppl are inclined to march the streets to show the government/companies that they dont agree with what theyre doing, to show that the real power comes from the people and belongs to the people.

Early this century we had thousands of popular demonstrations that led to the creation of laws to protect workers and their families, to protect environment and such.

Today the few protests that show up are scarce and dont have any effect, because theyre to small and easilly controled with a good use of the media.

Politicians know that they dont have to fear ppl, because they have the media and the corporations at their side, and corporations also doesnt fear the ppl because they OWN the media, wich makes easy to convince the average citizen that what the corporations are doing is fine, and that they should vote on politicians that support corporate policies.

Unless we can make a communications revolution to show the average person the real truth this is not going to change. And dont expect to achieve the goals of this revolution only with the internet. The real power still belongs to TV/radio/paper media. Unfortunatelly all these medias are belong to corporations...

--

Re:He was selling the software (2)

RiffRafff (234408) | more than 12 years ago | (#65135)

Its not that he found the problem, people always do that. He was selling software that cracks it for $99. Did everyone forget that?

So? He was selling software. He was selling software that would allow fair-use back-ups of your legally purchased ebooks (what? you've never lost a hard drive?) and viewing on your other computer. So what if he was selling the software.

As much as I'm for Free Software (in both senses), you sound like we shouldn't support him because he was *gasp* SELLING software.

These are evil precedents being set; Technology is bad. Napster is condemmned because it allows people to do illegal things. Dmitry is arrested because of what people might do with the software.

News flash, people. You can abuse almost any technology, but these recent legal maneuvers make the inanimate device at fault (and by extention, its creator), with no responsibility resting on the end user. Might as well make hammers illegal so that people won't use them as a weapon...


He was selling the software (3)

punkball (240859) | more than 12 years ago | (#65140)

Its not that he found the problem, people always do that. He was selling software that cracks it for $99. Did everyone forget that?
-----------------------------------
I don't think, therefore I'm not...

The Question That Demands an Answer: (1)

Cytotoxic (245301) | more than 12 years ago | (#65141)

What is the crime he is being held for, exactly?

The new phrase "trafficking in software" has replaced the original talk of DMCA violations. Surely this is not simply a move to thwart the obvious criticisms which would arise were a man to be arrested in the USA for simply telling people how to break an encryption scheme. It sure does seem that they are trying to censor obviously protected speach by inventing new words to describe a made-up crime.

I mean, really, was he "trafficking with intent to distribute", or since he had less than 5 grams of software on him, will it get busted to a misdimeanor "possession of software" charge. HA! Now their new arguments sound silly too. These idiots would do well to drop the whole thing with a heart fealt "sorry dude, no hard feelings!"

Facts before fingerpointing (4)

Sheeple Police (247465) | more than 12 years ago | (#65142)

Sklyarov was guilty of offering a public presentation about software designed to prevent the piracy of e-books, meanwhile, publishing corporations have been lining up behind the record and movie companies to try to control intellectual property online -- at any cost.

According to reports by TechTV, who was present at Defcon 9, Sklyarov was not only speaking but actually selling the Elcomsoft product. While I agree that what is at issue is the DMCA, and it's ability to silence anyone (or at least give companies the motive to try), lets get the facts straight here. If I design a bomb in Russia, where, for the sake of example we'll pretend it's perfectly legal, and I somehow get it past customs in the US, I can't very well sell it. While the plans might simply be "information" and somehow applicable to present under some journalistic and/or scientific auspice, I don't think you can argue that it's ok for me to sell the premade bomb as well.

Note, this isn't how I view the whole Sklyarov situation, but one of the important things to remember when debating is put yourself in the other person's shoes and try to see things how they see it, no matter how corrupt and greedy that vision may be.

Re:Isn't what he did against US law? (1)

blamanj (253811) | more than 12 years ago | (#65145)

Is it ok to break laws you don't personally care for?

Well, for certain definitions of the word OK. It is one of the more effective ways of getting a bad law examined.

For example, if there is a law against stealing chickens, and I steal a chicken and am subsequently arrested for it, the underlying law will be at issue in the case. It is unlikely that society will be unduly perturbed, however and the law will remain in effect.

OTOH, you may recall that John Scopes was actually convicted of teaching Darwinism, contrary to the law passed in Tennessee in 1925. The subsequent uproar, however, caused the nullification of the bad law.

I believe there is a long history of laws being broken for this purpose, that is, strictly to challenge the validity of the law.

Beria's FBI (2)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 12 years ago | (#65153)

There are no statues to Beria left in the former USSR but the name of J. Edgar Hoover still disgraces the FBI building. Hoover was the principal instigator of what is known as McArthyism and the FBI has failed to throw off his tactics after his death.

What is the excuse for denying bail in this case? Suspect might write more software that would harm the interests of corporations?


Guns don't kill people, bullets kill people

Re:Katz left out an important point. (1)

MxTxL (307166) | more than 12 years ago | (#65159)

But the day an Adobe executive is arrested in Russia for trafficking in an illegal fair-use circumvention device is the day the proverbial monkeys will fly out of my ass.

Could you imagine the shit storm that would result if an american businessman was held in russia for something like that? It would be an inernational incident. On the cover of every newspaper.

Re:Canadians, help us STOP THIS! (2)

tb3 (313150) | more than 12 years ago | (#65162)

Whew! There's a lot to wade through there. However, the pertinent issue involving defeating encryption seems to be dealt with in a more rational manner.

If I understood the document correctly, the "CONSULTATION PAPER ON DIGITAL COPYRIGHT ISSUES" states that laws concerning defeating copy protection "are extraneous to copyright principles" to quote the paper.

This is a very good thing, as far as I can tell. The Canadian government does not propose a law that permits the all-encompassing, draconian measures of the DMCA.

If anyone has a different interpretation please speak up!

One thing that's at least a little encouraging (2)

koreth (409849) | more than 12 years ago | (#65172)

The protests are at least getting a little bit of mainstream press coverage [cnn.com], which I hope will at least make the broader public aware that there's an issue here. Without the support of a bigger slice of the voting public than Slashdot's readership, there's no way enough pressure will be brought to bear to get the DMCA repealed. (Though of course court challenges are also a possibility.)

Katz left out an important point. (4)

Pop n' Fresh (411094) | more than 12 years ago | (#65178)

Which is that in Russia, where Elcomsoft is based and where the program was written, it's Adobe who is breaking the law, not Elcomsoft. Alexander Katalov of Elcomsoft says it all:

"Actually, according to Russian law, it's sooner adobe's program that is illegal, in that it prevents one from using a bought and paid for product as the purchaser wishes. That's a violation of fair use. Also, at the time a user buys a book in Adobe's format a buyer isn't notified of these restrictions.

I think Sklyarov's arrest was actually a good thing overall: people who normally could care less about this kind of thing are starting to ask questions about the DMCA.

nothing will change (1)

Maroon Corps (411358) | more than 12 years ago | (#65179)

Even the outrage around this case won't be enough to get through the "evil hacker" bias of the press. Rants such as this, although valid in concept, won't be enough to overcome the stigma associated with "cybercrime".

Re:Finally I understand! (1)

the endless (412967) | more than 12 years ago | (#65180)

I wonder who he was reminding? us, or himself? "it's ok, I'm allowed to be a journalist despite my uselessness".

Re:Here we go again... (1)

the endless (412967) | more than 12 years ago | (#65181)

Considering the general /. "pro-GPL" attitude, which is pretty much all about enforcing the author's right to declare that his source code must be kept open, this is not really an argument that stands up to much in the way of prodding. If anything, the GPL is closer to being one-way rights going the other way. So how is this "typical /. thinking"?

Lawyers cashing out while they can? (1)

uiil (413131) | more than 12 years ago | (#65182)

Could it be that the lawyers the tech companies have on retainer are instigating conflicts just to jack up their billable hours?

They have seen others of their ilk lose time and money through their association with dot coms that went belly up, so there may be a desire to get while the gettings good.

Shareholders need to question the decision making here, or at least ask their brokerage company for the due diligence report that determined ROT-13 encryption was a good idea.

Adobe is wrong (1)

jdriller (416280) | more than 12 years ago | (#65184)

Here is more wood to the fire... http://www.adobe.com/aboutadobe/antipiracy/report. html... How many sites have this sort of prosecutorial zealousness re ratting? I realize illegal use of software does diminish incentives to develop - slightly. But this cost is usually factored in. This does provide a nice venue for complaining to them...hint hint...

Re:One point. - that is a load of crap (1)

bayankaran (446245) | more than 12 years ago | (#65186)

That is bullshit. How and why radar detectors are sold for automobiles. Will the government or DMV arrest the companies or employees making them.

Robert Mueller and Dmitry's Attorney? (4)

idonotexist (450877) | more than 12 years ago | (#65188)

As a recent Kuro5hin article suggest [kuro5hin.org], Dmitry's U.S. Adventure is far from over. With Adobe's apparent opposition to the criminal charges brought against Dmitry, we need to see the response of the U.S. Department of Justice.

I would think if the U.S. continues to pursue this case, contrary to the wishes of Adobe and many Americans, then there should be opposition to the nomination of Robert Mueller for the head FBI job. His confirmation hearings begin July 30, and he is currently the U.S. Attorney in charge of the jurisdiction prosecuting Dmitry.

While Dmitry remains in custody, I have not read the EFF (or any other organization/individual) will provide him counsel. Given the nature of the U.S. judicial system, it would be vital for Sklyarov to have extremely credible criminal defense attorneys.

It will be curious to see if the same community which brought pressure upon Adobe, will bring the same pressure upon Robert Mueller during his hearings, if Dmitry remains in custody. So far, I have no seen no similar organizing or campaigning for Dmitry. Dmitry remains in charged with a criminal act and in custody.

Jon: Go for wider publication (2)

jeffy124 (453342) | more than 12 years ago | (#65191)

Jon Katz: Send that great story and analysis to every major newspaper out there. Go the bg time. NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, etc. Make that excellent piece of work heard by many more than us Slashdotters.

Special Protection (1)

NotoriousQ (457789) | more than 12 years ago | (#65196)

In addition, there is a significant body of Constitutional law that gives special protection to journalists and people acting in that role.

Hmm......From now on will let Jon Katz do all decompiling and reverse engineering. He is a journalist, therefore he is protected.

Remember, when you are downloading MP3's, you are downloading communism!!!

Here we go again... (1)

codeforprofit2 (457961) | more than 12 years ago | (#65197)

"involving corporatism, free speech, intellectual property and the movement of ideas online. "

Again, the typical /. thinking. Only I have rights to do whatever I want to. The author doesn't have any rights. What kind of one-way rights are this?

Your rights stops where the next man/companies begins!

Re:One point. (1)

UberOogie (464002) | more than 12 years ago | (#65206)

The DMCA will get smacked down if we can ever get it to the Supreme Court.

Oh, you mean the Supreme Court that ruled Dred Scott property?

Or the Supreme Court that extended equal protection coverage further than it ever had been close to acknowledging before in order to decide an election?

Point being, just because it is clearly unConstitutional does not mean it will get struck down by the Court.

Re:Here we go again... (1)

madman2002 (468554) | more than 12 years ago | (#65211)

yea but then again someone who puts their code out wants people to learn from it not sell it. If their not making money off it why should someone else? You have the right to use it however you want as long as you don't sell it, anything you add to it must be given back to the community, this promotes learning. Closed source products give you no rights except running the program. Which brings up a question....if companies have an unlimited right to keep their source closed how can anyone know if they illegally included GPL'd source code?

What?? (1)

second_wind (470436) | more than 12 years ago | (#65214)

Ok, politics aside, how can you possibly compare Ralph Nader doing safety tests with someone who sends out instructions on how to hack into a system? A more accurate analogy would be to compare him to someone who figures out the best way to break into a bank, the combination to the vault, and makes this info available to anyone. That individual would be an accesory to any crime committed on that bank using his information, so this guy is guilty of the same. I think you watched "Anti-trust" a little too hard.
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