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Sklyarov Case Opens Today

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the please-use-the-pirate's-entrance dept.

318

weakethics writes "The trial is scheduled to start today in the case of Adobe/DMCA versus Skylarov/Elcomsoft/right-thinking-people everywhere. The SF Chron has a story about it. It quotes a former DOJ attorney about the impact of the DMCA "I don't think it's had the effect that a lot of people have argued it would have -- with a single criminal case in four years." Who obviously (purposefully?) misses the point: it's about intimidation rather than litigation."

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in soviet russia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795144)

the DMCA sues you!

in russian federation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795354)

DMCA is not applying.

Article Text in anticipation of server destruction (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795157)

Copyright test in San Jose
Russian expected to take stand in Adobe E-book code case

Carrie Kirby, Chronicle Staff Writer Monday, December 2, 2002

After a year of delays, the government is finally set to try in San Jose this week the first criminal case stemming from a law designed to bring copyright into the 21st century.

The United States of America vs. ElcomSoft Ltd. pits the need to protect intellectual property in the age of Internet file-trading and CD burning against the public's traditional right to use media they buy any way they want to.

The defendant, ElcomSoft, is a Moscow softwaremaker accused of violating Adobe Systems' intellectual property rights, by writing a computer program that disables the copy protection on the San Jose company's electronic books.

When the case was first brought in July 2001, it garnered international attention because it was the first criminal test of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a 1998 law eagerly sought by entertainment and software companies and bitterly opposed by cryptography researchers and free-speech advocates.

The case also grabbed headlines because the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California actually jailed a Russian graduate student, Dmitry Sklyarov, for allegedly writing a computer program that violates the law.

To many, locking up a skinny, pale-faced student for writing a computer program was as ridiculous as incarcerating people who tear the "Do not remove" tags off mattresses. But to protesters who surrounded the San Jose jail, Sklyarov's incarceration was no laughing matter. His supporters believed -- and still do -- that Sklyarov's program represents free speech protected by the First Amendment.

Now, Sklyarov, 27, is expected to serve as the government's star witness.

In December 2001, Sklyarov agreed to testify in the case in exchange for having the charges against him dropped. Actually, he is expected to testify for both the plaintiff and the defendant, said Judy Trummer, spokeswoman for both Sklyarov and ElcomSoft.

"He has a single story to tell, and it doesn't differ with who calls him to the stand," Trummer said.

Jury selection for the trial is scheduled to begin this morning. However, Sklyarov and ElcomSoft's president, Alex Katalov, were not expected to arrive in the United States until Sunday night or this morning, Trummer said. ElcomSoft attorney Joe Burton planned to ask for a delay if his client is not present, she said.

Katalov and Sklyarov both had difficulties getting visas to return to the United States, but have finally received "parole visas" that allow them to be in the country only for the duration of the trial, Trummer said.

Northern District of California Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Frewing may also call to the stand a number of people who bought ElcomSoft's E-Book cracking program, and two investigators employed by Adobe, whose complaint against ElcomSoft started the case.

The case, to be tried by U.S. District Judge Ronald M. Whyte, is expected to draw much attention, because the issue of copyright in the digital age is as hotly contested now as it was when Sklyarov was first arrested 16 months ago.

But Peter Toren, a former Justice Department attorney who prosecuted technology copyright cases, said that some of the case's drama may have worn off since Sklyarov was first arrested.

Then, supporters of consumer rights and free speech warned that criminal prosecutions based on the Digital Millennium Copyright Act would stop encryption research and other legitimate activities.

But in 1 1/2 years since the case started, Toren said he has heard of no other criminal cases invoking the law.

"I don't think it's had the effect that a lot of people have argued it would have -- with a single criminal case in four years," Toren said.

E-mail Carrie Kirby at ckirby@sfchronicle.com.

Re:Article Text in anticipation of server destruct (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795193)

fucking karma whore. do you suck cock for a quarter? do you take it up the ass for free? do you download gay pr0n and jerk off on your keyboard, all the while fantasizing about sucking michael sim's warty cock? i just BET you do!

Re:Article Text in anticipation of server destruct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795403)

Yea.... That Anonymous Coward is such a karma whore! Now you feel so stupid, don't you?

Re:Article Text in anticipation of server destruct (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795442)

shut the fuck up, asshole. go suck your daddy's cock and stop bothering the grownups.

Re:Article Text in anticipation of server destruct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795481)

Congratulations. You just violated the DMCA by illegally copying an article about DMCA violations.

I don't get it (3, Interesting)

roemcke (612429) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795511)

The defendant, ElcomSoft, is a Moscow softwaremaker accused of violating Adobe Systems' intellectual property rights, by writing a computer program that disables the copy protection on the San Jose company's electronic books.

I don't get it.. How can Adobes intellectual property rights have been violated? It's the pdf content that has been cracked (is now viewable without licensed viewer) NOT the pdf viewer !!??

Re:Article Text in anticipation of server destruct (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795593)

Oh sure. The website of a large, nationally-known daily newspaper like the SF Chronicle is going to get slashdotted. You know, what with the half-dozen or so hits a day they normally get.

No wonder the NY Times requires registration-- they just want to keep some of the slashbots away so their servers don't crash.

Fucking AC retard.

groan (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795163)

who cares?


btw, you are all assholes. just look in a mirror sometime.

Say it with me now... (5, Funny)

phraktyl (92649) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795166)

Free Kevin!

Wait, sorry---wrong trial...

Re:Say it with me now... (3, Insightful)

unicron (20286) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795643)

Free Kevin, indeed. I was really interested in reading this until I caught the "right-thinking people everywhere" remark. This sensationalist news-reporting has to go stop on /.. Is it really that hard to leave just a smidgeon of objectivity? Their are a lot of you that you claim their are a lot of nefarious organizations out there trying to take away my rights and influence the way I think but I'm starting to see the lines blur between us and them. Instead of right-and-wrong it's become my-way-their-way.

So in the future, admins could you please try to just report the news without shallow, short-sighted remarks and let us form our own opinions about the story? It would go a long way with me.

Adobe Is Dead (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795169)


They just do not know it yet.

Once Microsoft Office steals their thunder from Acrobat, Adobe will have little to fall back upon. Their image editing and publishing tools and just to fscking expensive for most people to afford, and they'll quietly slip beneath the waves.

Nah, Adobe will sue them (2)

cscx (541332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795185)

Remember they "invented" the concept of the toolbox window!

Re:Adobe Is Dead (5, Insightful)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795362)

only from an AC would we get such a silly response (and not normally do I respond to AC's). Adobe leads in so many departments, that it would be "hard" for them to slip away.

Joe user doesn't have the money for Adobe products, however, Joe Company does. And they do pay for it, and they 'do' use it. Adobe controls the market on both Mac's and PC's --- and before you give me the LInux aspect, remember that it aint used like the other OS's for desktop publishing. Adobe is also a crucial instrument into the Postscript that everyone plus grandma uses.

acrobat and pdf are only a portion of the pie that they eat.

so, before you start the elimination rounds early, get your facts straight.

disclaimer: i dont agree with their decision about Elcomsoft, i am merely looking at this from a desktop publishing environment (from which i am gainfully employed.) so, in essence, adobe will survive long past this silly dmca bs.

I totaly agree (2)

Ted_Green (205549) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795650)

Further, I'm not so sure Office is going to be able to steal thunder this time. The .doc format has been a pretty standard format in comerical, public, and private usage. However many of its users are still on Word 2000, or even 97. There isn't much incentivie to keep upgrading, esp. with a format that isn't reverse compatiable.

*shrug* course all this has been argued before.

Re:Adobe Is Dead (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795446)

One word: PostScript.

Adobe OWNS printing in the unix world.

Adobe 0wnz3d j00 (1)

tusixoh (561920) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795638)

sorry pal, but adobe is the set standard for image editing. it doesn't matter that their software is too expensive for most people to afford. it's as expensive as it is because of what it is and the demand for it. this is isn't something everyone needs, but it is the graphics industry standard application. for end users not looking to spend hundreds of dollars on image editing, there's always Adobe Photoshop Elements [adobe.com] (currently at v2.0), which is a much less expensive and more user-friendly version of its big sister, for only US$99.00 instead of US$609.00 for the full-blown Photoshop 7. and of course, as stated in a previous response, PostScript is all Adobe's.. so Adobe 0wnz3d us all.

First Post! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795171)

And sklyarov is spelled wrong - heh

Actually, I am glad this case is opening today. I just hope everything pans out in favor of Dimitry. If there is a victory here, we are one step closer to defeating the DMCA.

Re:First Post! (2, Funny)

awills (315114) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795209)

> And sklyarov is spelled wrong - heh

I think you misspelled Dmitry.

That idiot is a lawyer (5, Insightful)

pheph (234655) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795179)

"But in 1 1/2 years since the case started, Toren said he has heard of no other criminal cases invoking the law." ... The reason he hasn't heard about it is the same reason that many projects don't exist right now.

Re:That idiot is a lawyer (3, Insightful)

kableh (155146) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795238)

Whomever modded this troll is an idiot. pheph is spot on. The reason this is the only case that he has heard of is it is the only one the DoJ thought they had a snowball's chance in hell of winning. Any other case could possibly be used as precedent to challenge their darling little law.

This makes me sick. This guy doesn't care if a blind person can read an ebook, he probably could afford to hire someone to read it to him!

I truly pray justice prevails in this case. Though considering the current political and legal climate in the US, I don't have much hope...

Re:That idiot is a lawyer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795262)

Maybe the person who modded troll was a lawyer ;)

START PUTTING DIMITRY'S K-Y CARE PACKAGES TOGETHER (-1)

Subject Line Troll (581198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795554)

New free telephone chat line (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795183)

Just call 1-800-555-tell.
then press 1-878-086, to record press 2622

thank you.

Due process, and speedy trial (4, Insightful)

Jacer (574383) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795199)

these things obviously don't go hand in hand, or the trial would have already been over. Then again it may be a bit harder to try when the plantiff drops the charges, and the ill informed government picks them up... Or they could have been just trying to keep him behind bars until technology changes enough he's no longer a threat (mitnick) in anycase, the DMCA is the spawn of satan...

Editors, you mizpehllled his name (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795203)

Skylarov, not Sklyarov.

No they didn't, moderators on crack (3, Informative)

Rhubarb Crumble (581156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795253)

It IS Sklyarov.

look here [eff.org] .

Poor Dmitry (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795314)

No one can spell his name [freesklyarov.org] .

Check out this news article where his name is spelled two different ways throughout the article [carnell.com] .

Between that and "Dmitri" littered all over the place, it's probable that his name is encrypted and subject to DMCA protection (-;

Nope... Sklyarov (2, Informative)

JohnDenver (246743) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795292)

...and it's pronounced - Sklee-yar-ov

The yolk's on you...

Re:Nope... Sklyarov (2, Informative)

foxcub (465958) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795537)

Nono; no "ee" there, just plain an simple Sklya-rov - two syllables, only one vowel sound for the "lyar" part, and in Russian only one letter for "ya" (the last letter of Russian alphabet).

Re:Editors, you mizpehllled his name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795382)

Why mod parent up to Informative, even if he was correct? Would anyone have not understood the headline if it was spelled wrong? Perhaps there should have a 'Nitpick' mod option...

DMCA sucks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795206)

Almost more than micro$oft.

Re:DMCA sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795406)

But, not as much as you do.

Where CYA is the name of the game... (5, Insightful)

TVmisGuided (151197) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795226)

The reason there haven't been any cases is because none of the small-time developers who have run afoul of the DMCA so far have had deep enough pockets to hire lawyers with enough intestinal fortitude to take it on and get it shot down. One good failure of the DMCA in case law would be all it takes, but (IMO) unless you've got the financial resources of Microsoft, Sun, Oracle et al you ain't gonna get the job done. So rather than fight the good (but expensive) fight, developers get that nasty letter which threatens to invoke DMCA and they knuckle under.


'Nuff said.

Re:Where CYA is the name of the game... (5, Insightful)

McChump (218559) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795493)

No, not 'nuff said. You've missed the point.

The DCMA has criminal and civil provisions. THIS IS THE ONLY CRIMINAL DCMA CASE THAT HAS EVER BEEN PRESENTED, period. You're talking about the civil provisions of the DCMA (which are admittedly terrible, nasty , awful, misused, all of that stuff). The Justice Department simply doesn't go around sending out cease and desist letters.

From a tactical standpoint, I'm hoping that Elcomsoft gets convicted, since I'm betting that the criminal provisions of the law will be deemed overbroad and vague on appeal. Then, by implication, thoose arguments will become more available to defendants in civil DCMA cases.

One case, sure (2, Insightful)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795228)

And how many threatening legal letters that got content pulled were there?

So what exactly is the point...? (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795232)

What can this case do? It seems to me that what Elcomsoft + Sklyarov did is clearly against DMCA. So unless DMCA is repealed, they will be found guilty of violating it, no?

This is not deep-linking, they *did* break the copy protection. As wrong as DMCA might be, it is a law at the moment.

Appeals (5, Insightful)

wiredog (43288) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795296)

That's the point. We want to lose at trial. That way we can (try to) get the law tossed on appeal.

Re:Appeals (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795386)

Uhm... Of course none of us are lawyers here... but why exactly would you go to trial with intention of losing it??
Can't you countersue right away? Is there anything good that can come out directly from this trial?

Re:Appeals (3, Insightful)

cheezedawg (413482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795491)

I think you are forgetting that there is somebody named Dmitry involved here- I highly doubt he wants to lose his criminal trial just on the off chance that the law gets repealed afterwards. Its easy for you to say that because you are not the person on trial here. "Come on Dmitry- take one for the team!"

Re:Appeals (1)

McChump (218559) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795507)

Dimitri is no longer a defendant in the case. The case is proceeding against Elcomsoft as the corporate defendant.

Re:Appeals (1)

pythorlh (236755) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795580)

Except that the charges against Dmitry have been dropped. The defedent now is Elcomsoft, Inc. And if they're willing to take this all the way in order to defeat an American law that violates the United States Constitution, all the more power to 'em.

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (2)

Sc00ter (99550) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795297)

That is the point. to get it to the supreme court so they can strike it down.

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (3, Informative)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795320)

Well, aside from the fact that the law is an affront to all things free and right, the program in question was written in Russia. As far as I know, the DMCA has no authority there. If I am not mistaken, Russian law guarantees the freedoms that the eBookReader software returns to the user.

Selling to USA residents (3, Informative)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795385)

the program in question was written in Russia. As far as I know, the DMCA has no authority there.

However, Russian law cannot grant authority to sell Russian products to U.S. residents, which Elcomsoft did.

Re:Selling to USA residents (5, Insightful)

nate1138 (325593) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795459)

And US law cannot grant authority to arrest a Russian citizen who performed the illegal act in his own country. If this was a US citizen, our government's attitude would be completely different. He didn't sell anything. His company did. He is not an officer, owner, or anything else of consequence. He is simply an employee.

Re:Selling to USA residents (2)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795504)

Yes it can.

If he was FedEx'ing heroin or mail-bombs to US citizens, you bet the US would swear out a warrant, and negotiate an extradition with the Ruskies.

BTW, the /. summary is innacurate and misleading. The company is being charged, not the programmer. Sklyarov is a witness for both the prosecution and defense.

Simple spin, slashbots will be more adamant in defending a person, than a corporation.

Re:Selling to USA residents (2)

KjetilK (186133) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795577)

It can, if the person happens to be somewhere he is under US jurisdiction. Which pretty much means that a lot of people can't travel to the US before you get more sane legislation.

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (2)

Schnapple (262314) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795604)

the program in question was written in Russia
Yeah, but didn't they arrest him right after he demonstrated it in America?

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (2)

no soup for you (607826) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795322)

"What can this case do?" ... "As wrong as DMCA might be, it is a law at the moment."

If Elcomsoft is found negligent, they can appeal. The federal court could find that the DMCA is unconstitutional and render it inapplicable for the 7 or so states under which it has jurisdiction.

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (1)

Ashyukun (551101) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795328)

Part of the point is that it is possible for courts to rule that laws are unconstitutional/illegal and overturn them, or for a jury to just plain say that someone is not guilty even if it's obvious they broke the law. A court challenge is usually the only way to get laws like this repealed or changed- a common tactic is to intentionally and publicly break a law you consider to be unconstitutional and get arrested so you can challenge the legality of the law in court.

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (3, Insightful)

Maul (83993) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795337)

Point 1: A lot of people feel the DMCA is unconstitutional. They don't want to see court
cases where the DMCA is upheld.

Point 2: Many people feel the DMCA is a law "bought" by the entertainment industry. They feel the DMCA is another example of how our government is representing big business rather than the voters.

Point 3: Many companies HAVE used threats of DMCA action as a weapon against would-be competition or a challenge to their control of the market. Even if the party the threat is against has not actually violated the DMCA, the cost of going up against a huge corporation in court is enough to scare a lot of people.

Point 4: Elcomsoft and Sklyarov made their software in RUSSIA. Some people feel that the Sklyarov, at least, should not be punished for doing something in Russia that was against a US law.

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795355)

uhh.. these guys were russian citizens writing software at a moscow based company.. what the hell would an american law have to do with them?? I am an american myself and think it is ridiculous that our govt. thinks it can bully the world like this. One country can not dictate the laws of another, that is what this case should be about. If the US wants to strip it's own people of their freedoms with the DMCA thats just fine (not really but they can get away with it) but that doesnt give them a right to strip foreign nationals on foreign soil of theirs as well.

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (2)

jpt.d (444929) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795435)

How can they violate a draconian yankee law in Russia?

Yes he visited the states, but he did not break the law (do the act) while in the states. He does not sell the software his employer does.

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (3, Interesting)

dh003i (203189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795547)

We want this to be a test-case, so that the DMCA can be over-turned.

But the problematic point is that the US has no jurisdiction. The Elcomsoft and Skylarov are in Russia, so the US has no jurisdiction over them what-so-ever. I'm startled that Skylarov and Elcomsoft are actually appearing before a US court. Had they stayed in Russia, the US court would have no jurisdiction/sovereignty what-so-ever. The court could have ruled against Elcomsoft, but would have no way of enforcing a punishment, as Elcomsoft is in Russia.

Now that Elcomsoft's president is in the US, they can use that as leverage to enforce their ruling, by imprisoning Elcomsoft's president until Elcomsoft acquiesces.

I don't see why Skylarov and Elcomsoft are being so stupid. They have no obligation what-so-ever to come to the US. Skylarov could stay in Russia, say fuck the agreement to testify, and suffer no consequence. Likewise with Elcomsoft.

Re:So what exactly is the point...? (1)

Mitreya (579078) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795602)

Now that Elcomsoft's president is in the US, they can use that as leverage to enforce their ruling, by imprisoning Elcomsoft's president until Elcomsoft acquiesces.

You're not serious, are you? Imprisoning Elcomsoft's president? Since when is the company president (or any of the officials) is *directly* responsible for its company behaviour? Unless there is a special clause for russian companies of course....

Re: Sklyarov Case Opens Today (5, Insightful)

Dunark (621237) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795234)

Only one criminal case in four years, but how much intimidation? And how many websites, etc, taken down without anything resembling due process?

User number next to name now (-1, Offtopic)

Burritos (535298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795242)

I wonder why the user number is next to our name now. What good does this do?

Re:User number next to name now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795273)

It's to confuse the shit out of you. Thanks for asking.

-- Slashteam

Re:User number next to name now (-1, Offtopic)

Burritos (535298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795294)

Thank you for your response! This was highly puzzling to me! I want everything the Tivo offers, plus: 1. The ability to add drive storage as I see fit. 2. The ability to record and play back MP3s from any source (TV, radio, CD, etc), as well as load MP3s from a network or CD-ROM. 3. The ability to record into the system from any video medium (tape, DVD, VCD, mpegs off the net, etc). 4. Other file storage for regular data files, etc. 5. Network support using standard protocols. 6. Open spec system, to allow OS choice!

Re:User number next to name now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795298)

Its required under the US Patriot act.

Re:User number next to name now (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795662)

It is so that you don't confuse CmdrTaco (1) with

CmdrTaco by (849493)
CmderTaco (738023)
CmderTaco by (934023)

etc.

HTH HAND

criminal cases (5, Insightful)

Techi (529851) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795265)

It seems that some people have misunderstood how the DMCA is being abused. Companies are not trying to get people jailed for violations, they are just reaming them of all of their money. Though it is possible for criminal prosecution to result from a violation of the DMCA, big companies want money more than imprisonment.

The whole reason (4, Insightful)

jmu1 (183541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795270)

we have laws is for intimidation. As much as I hate to say it, laws are not there to punish people but to deter particular situations which are popularly held as inappropiate. So, I suppose that the DMCA has been a success in that respect. However, the inability to actually enforce such a broad, generaized law makes the law useless in the long run.

Perhaps one day soon, congress will realize what a mammoth beast this thing is and kill it. Perhaps they will realize that they should make enforcable legislation. Nah, just pipe dreams.

Re:The whole reason (2)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795449)

As much as I hate to say it, laws are not there to punish people but to deter particular situations which are popularly held as inappropiate

Key word: "popularly." And obviously, many of the situations that the DMCA doesn't allow are situations that are *not* popularly held as inappropriate, but rather held as inappropriate by those who have the money. Much as I hate to say it, this government is becoming less and less representative of the people as a whole.

Using the DCMA against itself (5, Interesting)

pubjames (468013) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795272)


As I understand it the DCMA is supported by the film and music industry because it allows them to create technologies which they can wrap their content in, which are illegal to try to break.

What happens if we create a file compression/security method that incorporates an original encryption technology, with some mechanism by which you only give out the key to people you trust? We could then put whatever material we wanted on P2P networks, and the film and music industry representatives wouldn't even be able to find out what we were sharing without breaking the law they support. Wouldn't that be a good way of demonstrating the stupidity of this law?

Re: Using the DCMA against itself (3, Interesting)

Rhubarb Crumble (581156) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795330)

What happens if we create a file compression/security method that incorporates an original encryption technology, with some mechanism by which you only give out the key to people you trust?

And this is where it falls down. The **AA don't actually mind (much) if you give out a key to your friends and give them copies of your stuff. It's just like taping a CD for a friend - it doesn't achieve the kind of critical mass that actually cuts into their profit margins. Only anonymous access does that.

What you're proposing is not really any different from putting your MP3s etc onto an SCP server and emailing the password to your friends (but only them). Technically illegal, but small fry.

Re:Using the DCMA against itself (2, Funny)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795340)

I think we should stop using P2P networks and start sharing files by sending specially trained bees which could live in our noses. When stimulated properly, the bee will reveal the byte sequences by doing its hive dance...therefore a swarm of bees descending over your house will actually be the encoding for "...!XXX GOODBLOWJOB.AVI"

Re:Using the DCMA against itself (5, Insightful)

AntiNorm (155641) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795479)

We could then put whatever material we wanted on P2P networks, and the film and music industry representatives wouldn't even be able to find out what we were sharing without breaking the law they support. Wouldn't that be a good way of demonstrating the stupidity of this law?

They would then just use their 'we can hack P2P to find bad stuff' attitude to break it, and the government would let them. As I said a few posts ago, the government is not representative of the people as a whole, but representative of those with money. This isn't the way it should be, but it's the way it is.

Re:Using the DCMA against itself (2)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795553)

No, because the DMCA is about copy controls ("technological measures") that restrict access to copyrighted content. If this compression/security method does not primarily protect content that you own the copyright to, then the RIAA breaking it surely won't be circumvention of a copy control mechanism.

Also, as far as I know, just because information is obtained illegaly (by private citizens or corporations), that doesn't mean that it can't be used to sue you.

Re:Using the DCMA against itself (3, Interesting)

Qrlx (258924) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795599)

We could then put whatever material we wanted on P2P networks, and the film and music industry representatives wouldn't even be able to find out what we were sharing without breaking the law they support

That sounds cool but I don't think it will work.

In order to qualify for protection under the DMCA, aren't you required to use encryption methods to protect copyrighted works?

I don't think you'll be covered if you use encryption to protect SOMEBODY ELSE'S copyrights. You have to have the copyright yourself.

It's not like I could encrypt my bootleg of When Animals Attack or whatever, and then distribute it, and hope to get off because The Man decrpyted it in violation of the DMCA. What I did was illegal in the first place, so the fact that The Man broke his own laws to get me is probably trivial.

I say probably, but it is conceivable that there's a judge out there who would throw out the evidence (i.e. the decrypted file) because The Man didn't have a court order or subpoena or whatever allowing the decryption. Don't bet on it.

While your plan would certainly demonstrate the stupidity of the law, most judges would overlook that transgression to get to the "root" which is the fact that all p2p users and open source advocates are, in their minds, a bunch of thieves or something. Which is funny, because I'm sure their kids or grandkids have hard drives full of mp3s, and they don't even know it. They think p2p is some freakish seamy underworld, and in fact it's as common as AOL. Heck, maybe they even trade shows on their TiVo or ReplayTV or whatever, and don't even realize what they're doing. Because TiVO has brought corporate legitimacy to p2p, and more than that they've mainstreamed themselves -- witness the "My TiVo thinks I'm gay" sitcom episodes. Without corporate backing and media buy-in, you will be viewed as an outcast. (Look at the people who live off-grid, for example.) In this case, it's obvious that ElcomSoft, a foreign company whose every product cracks files, is fighting an uphill battle. They will probably lose, and the wording will be in such a way that an appeal won't serve the purpose of challenging the DMCA.

This whole controversy smacks of the clash of generations, of "kids" threatening the power base of an older generation who has never played a FPS game or knows what a LAN party is. I don't think we'll see any victories anytime soon, but in twenty years, when copyrights are set to expire again, your Congressional Representatives might have actually grown up in a house with a computer or two in it. They will have a different outlook.

In Soviet Russia... (2, Insightful)

haedesch (247543) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795303)

Case Opens Sklyarov

Lock the fucker up (-1)

Bitter Old Man (572131) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795348)

And throw away the key.

in soviet russia (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795349)

in soviet russia the copy protection breaks you!

Re:in soviet russia (1, Offtopic)

istartedi (132515) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795673)

In Soviet Russia...

...Natalie Portman pours hot grits down your pants and leaves you at the mercy of Ogg who hits you with a Beowulf cluster of Open Source CD-ROMs.

Enough said.

Dixie Chicks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795376)

Have shiny tits.

Quick trial? (5, Insightful)

MacAndrew (463832) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795388)

Conceding for now the DMCA's validity, is there much in the way of factual disputes here? If the facts check out, do you accept that ElcomSoft is guilty? I'm pretty sure I do. I'm not saying I want them to be guilty, just guessing at the outcome.

ElcomSoft was doing this for profit, if that makes any moral difference. Selling locksmithing tools to a burglar is not particularly savory or legal, and this aspect will make the jury less sympathetic (notice that ElcomSoft wanted a jury). If the skirmishes over the statute did not extricate them, I don't know what chance they have unless there is a juicy factual dispute about who-did-what-where. Yet they haven't pleaded out, assuming a plea agreement was even offered in the test case... Hmm. Need details. Speculation overload.

It is intriguing that no cases have been brought. Yes the law has been used for intimidation, but the prosecutors have no obligation to let anyone off with a warning -- they can prosecute the first infraction. It would be interesting to know why the law apparently has been given low priority.

BTW, I agree the treatment of Dimitry Sklyarov (sp?) was shameful. I don't think Kevin Mitnick is a good analogy, however. Their actions and alleged crimes were of very different natures. Yes, there were problems in the Mitnick prosecution as well, but Sklyarov's no Mitnick.

Here [eff.org] is the EFF's somewhat dated FAQ on the case, more detailed certainly that the Chronicle.

Re:Quick trial? (2)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795597)

Hmmm, OK lets take for a moment that the DMCA is valid and enforcable in the USA, and that a US business interest (Adobe) is allowed to drag a Russian business interest (Elcomsoft) into court for violating DMCA in the US. Ignoring Sklyarov in this whole mess entirely for the sake of arguement, could not Adobe be hauled into Russian court by Elcomsoft for being in violation of Russian law? After all the product they created was designed to make Adobe's product complient with the law in Russia.

Frankly the whole thing is going to end badly I fear. More US 'we can but you can't' style legal shenanigans.

Right thinking people? (2, Funny)

croftj (2359) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795405)

The trial is scheduled to start today in the case of Adobe/DMCA versus Skylarov/Elcomsoft/right-thinking-people everywhere. The SF Chron has a story about it. It quotes a former DOJ attorney about the impact of the DMCA "I don't think it's had the effect that a lot of people have argued it would have -- with a single criminal case in four years." Who obviously (purposefully?) misses the point: it's about intimidation rather than litigation."


Do you realy need to be left handed to dislike the DMCA? I mean I know that left handers are the only ones in their right mind, but truely even left brained people can see the flaws of the DMCA.

Or does this have to do with Conservative vs. liberal views?

Re:Right thinking people? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795469)

Or does this have to do with Conservative vs. liberal views?

Since the DMCA passed the Senate with a 97-0 vote, "liberal" vs. "conservative" has nothing to do with it.

BTW, there are no such things as "liberals" or "conservatives" anymore.

It's not even Conservative vs. Liberal (3, Insightful)

JohnDenver (246743) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795581)

Let's call this what it is:

Intellectual Property Rights vs. Innovation Rights

In this case it can be argued that Dmitry Sklyarov is a hacker who hacked together and conspired to traffic a digital crowbar that disables the lock Adobe's eBook.

- OR -

Dmitry Sklyarov is just a mere employee who wrote software for his employer to enable the user to convert THIER personal eBooks to other formats.

The irony this dichotomy is: THERE IS NO DICHOTOMY. Both Statements are correct.

The real question is: Should ElcomSoft be criminally convicted for writing a very legitimate software? It's legitmate in Russia. It was a legitimate and common type of software in the US not too long ago. It only allows the user to convert THIER personal eBooks to other formats. It has many valid uses. ...but in the US, it's against the law...

Nope... Doesn't seem like a Conservative vs. Liberal Issue to me...

I agree (2)

bwt (68845) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795414)

I agree that the DMCA has not had the effect it was intended to have. It is very similar to the Napster decision in this regard. Sklyarov's company IS the first criminal prosecution. 2600 lost, but DeCSS is still available. They didn't have to pay any real damages either. Felten published his paper. Any dolt can watch DVD's under linux with a variety of players that get better every few months. The bottom line is that the general public is quietly ignoring this law.

The only real effect of the DMCA is that companies can't openly distribute stuff that violates the DMCA. Good. It makes people who want that stuff anyway look to alternative channels of software distribution to get it.

Largest effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795496)

The largest effect of the DMCA so far has been the CARP fees that webcasters now have to pay.

Re:I agree (5, Interesting)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795569)

> The only real effect of the DMCA is that companies can't openly distribute stuff that violates the DMCA.

I don't think that's really true. The DMCA is used to intimidate and annoy regular well-intentioned folks like myself on a weekly basis. Check out my dmca troubles [cmu.edu] over a font program I wrote, for instance.

Building a police state (4, Insightful)

Gorimek (61128) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795611)

That may seem like no big deal, but one effect is that it adds to the many laws that a lot of people break daily.

This adds up to that everyone is a criminal and can be put in jail at will by The Authorities, should they ever feel that need. And that is not a free society.

I don't understand... (5, Interesting)

jaredcoleman (616268) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795426)

"His supporters believed -- and still do -- that Sklyarov's program represents free speech protected by the First Amendment."
Can someone explain this argument to me? I honestly do not get it. My understanding is that free speech means that the government can't throw me in jail for saying "DMCA sucks!" But just because I have freedom of speech doesn't mean that I can do malicious things with my speech and expect no consequences. I can be prosecuted for yelling "fire" in a crowded movie theatre, so why can't I be prosecuted if my speech is malicious in some other way? Also, how can you justify interpreting 'speech' in this broad way? I can't imagine the framers would agree. Just honestly curious, no flame please.

You understand. They don't understand... (1)

Prince_Ali (614163) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795512)

The First Amendment protects political speech. A program that bypasses copy-protection is not political speech. The First Amendment does not apply.
It is funny that no one got up in arms over the McCain-Feingold CFR bill, a law that actually restricts political speech, but they think that the DMCA is the devil.

Re:I don't understand... (1)

rollingcalf (605357) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795523)

But just because I have freedom of speech doesn't mean that I can do malicious things with my speech and expect no consequences.

And what is so malicious about writing software that converts Adobe's encrypted formats into another format that can be read aloud by text-reading software for the blind?

Source code as speech (3, Informative)

Tom7 (102298) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795606)

The argument is essentially that programs are a form of expression (including machine code), and thus are protected speech. This has been upheld by courts, for instance (I believe) in the Bernstein crypto software case. (Personally, while source code as speech makes perfect sense to me, I'm a little bit reluctant to call compiler-generated machine code 'speech', though there is some remnants of speech in there.) In the 2600 case the judge rejected this argument because, though he held source is protected speech, the source code in this case was also simultaneously a "device" (ie, a circumvention device) under the DMCA. This is similar to considering a libelous poem to be simultaneously a creative work (ie, copyrightable) but also illegal because of its libelous content.

Re:I don't understand... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795633)

the only restrictions on free speech are interpreted as narrowly as possible. free speech is far more important than any other right in the USA. The framers would agree, read some of their writings, then let me know. they would also be calling for a revolution if they were alive today and saw what has become of there framework.

Re: (1, Troll)

rmohr02 (208447) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795429)

"I don't think it's [the DMCA] had the effect that a lot of people have argued it would have -- with a single criminal case in four years," Toren said.
What is this guy--a moron?

Sklyarov or Skylarov? (2)

po8 (187055) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795439)

I'm sick of this: which is it? I've seen both spellings used pretty consistently, but never in the head and body of the same article. Good reporting starts with getting the name spelled right: could someone clue me in?

Re:Sklyarov or Skylarov? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795466)

I know without a doubt that it is Sklyarov. Or is it Skylarov? Hehe.. j/k. It is SKLYAROV!!

What the layman will think... (2)

dagg (153577) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795456)

"The defendant, ElcomSoft, is a Moscow softwaremaker accused of violating Adobe Systems' intellectual property rights, by writing a computer program that disables the copy protection on the San Jose company's electronic books."

What the layman will think: Those Russians are trying to steal our stuff!!! We need to stop them! What lawyers will think: Those Russians are trying to steal our stuff!!! We need to stop them!

Measuring the effects of the DMCA (5, Interesting)

asolipsist (106599) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795476)

As other posters have pointed out, the main effects of the DMCA appear through fear of litigation rather than Federal court cases. A group of us, telecom grad students, wrote a paper on quantitative effects (chilling) of the DMCA on security research. We used the bugtraq incidence list as our source of raw data. We concluded there were some measurable effects, though kinda small.

(its an academic paper, you have to find some sort of effect right!)

you can check it out here [fox-den.org]

(I know .doc is bad! sorry, lost the pdf version)

The Irony of History (5, Insightful)

Ektanoor (9949) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795601)

The USA Federal Government fought for tens of years the Soviet Regime. One of its reasons was that the soviet power was more intimidation than jurisprudence.

11 years after the Fall of the Soviet Union, Russian citizens fight a federal law that is more intimidation than jurisprudence... in the USA.

The point is simply this... (4, Interesting)

Newer Guy (520108) | more than 11 years ago | (#4795613)

Morons will be morons!

How much simpler can I say it?

AND...the USA has morons everywhere, from the president on down!
Who do you think ELECTS the morons? Other morons.
Or are they the morons after all?
Why? Because many smart people like us ACT like morons and don't even bother to vote!
In the last election, 61% of the registered voters didn't vote. I voted. Did you?
Probably another 20-30% of the people eligible to vote aren't even registered. Are you?
The DMCA is probably the most anti-freedom law ever passed. We all bitch about it. Did you vote?

Maybe you people who didn't vote or register are the morons after all.

Think about it.

"Evil flourishes when good people do nothing"
-Edmund Burke-

Toren DOES NOT THINK (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795630)

No wonder why this fiend is a FORMER Justice Department attorney. This moron even admits it!

Possible misinterpretation (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4795641)

I hate the DMCA as much as the next guy, But it seems people aren't very clear on why Skylarov was arrested. He wasn't arrested for writing the program, (Directly anyway), he was arrested for giving a presentation about how he broke it, in th US no less. Of course, I could be wrong.
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