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Sklyarov Discusses the ElcomSoft Trial

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the joseph-k dept.

The Courts 270

DaytonCIM writes "Dmitry Sklyarov talks openly about the ElcomSoft trial to CNET News. The 'Russian programmer thinks it was unfair of prosecutors to play his videotaped deposition at the ElcomSoft trial rather than calling him to the stand.'"

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270 comments

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something like an fp (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930612)

for a faggot named clay woolam, who, in all obviousness, must recognize the homosexualality of ekrout, the world worst karma whore and slashdot troll. may he die.

Um (-1, Troll)

SteweyGriffin (634046) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930621)

It's spelled Skylarov.

no (-1, Offtopic)

waspleg (316038) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930646)

why would i pay for content that is linked to elsewhere? that would be an unbelievable waste.. and something a stupid frivolous geek would spend their money on.. mod me a troll i have excellent karma so eat a fuckign dick =)

mmm slashdot and gin

Re:Um (-1)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930657)

per your sig, no I'm not a slashdot subscriber. Why should i pay for a service that limits me to posting twice a day, and screens out my informative posts because i don't conform to the linux fuckbuddy fantasy.

Re:Um (2, Informative)

DaytonCIM (100144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930658)

No... it's spelled S k l y a r o v.

Thanks for playing.

Re:Um (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930694)

Hahaha.. A spelling Nazi got the smack down...

Ahh classic.. Today is indeed a good day..

Re:Um (3, Informative)

MSBob (307239) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930753)

Doesn't matter. His name only has an exact cyrilic spelling. Anything written in the roman alphabet is simply an approximation.

Re:Um (1)

DaytonCIM (100144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930823)

Good point.

Re:Um (0, Redundant)

Anonvmous Coward (589068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930693)

"It's spelled Skylarov."

Um No, you're wrong. Do a Google search for 'Skylarov' and you get "Did you mean Sklyarov?'

Not according to the article, it's not (0, Redundant)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930746)

Or any of the other news sources (e.g. go to CNN [cnn.com] and search for Sklyarov).

Poor Slashdot -- for once in their life they get it right and they still get bashed.

Re:Um (1, Funny)

davetrainer (587868) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930749)

It's spelled Skylarov.

No, it's not.

Oh wait, my mistake, this topic must not be about Dmitry Sklyarov, the Russian software developer. It's about a totally different person, named Skylarov, who happens to be a big fan of online casinos, and wants to be free! [freeskylarov.org]

Whats the difference... (2, Insightful)

pilot1 (610480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930623)

whether a video tape is played, or he is called to the stand to say the samething? He couldn't change what he said since he was under oath, so it seems the same.

Re:Whats the difference... (5, Insightful)

Moofie (22272) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930715)

Two words.

Cross examination.

It's, like, a fundamental part of our legal structure. The opposing side gets to IMMEDIATELY challenge your statements on the stand, obviously with the intent to lessen the impact of those statements on the jury.

Re:Whats the difference... (1)

alkali (28338) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930826)

If the defense wanted Skylarov to explain away what he said on tape, it had the right to call Skylarov itself -- and indeed, it did so. There's no right to have the one immediately follow the other.

(In more routine situations, it frequently happens that a witness's direct testimony will conclude at the end of one trial day and the cross-examination begins the next day. That might be a bad break for the cross-examining party, but it's not against the rules.)

Re:Whats the difference... (2)

Moofie (22272) | more than 11 years ago | (#4931029)

The prosecution obviously wanted to bring a carefully veneered and edited account of the facts to the courtroom. Why were they permitted to do this, when the witness was available for testimony?

Suppose that Mr. Sklyarov, rather than being a personable, charismatic, sympathetic individual (as he was described in the article) was a scruffy, unpleasant, shifty-looking guy. The prosecution makes a tape of said shifty-looking guy making certain statements about the defendant, maybe after giving him a haircut and sticking him in a suit. Those statements are edited to be as damning as possible to the defendant. The damning testimony has now been artificially enhanced against the defendant (otherwise, why bother?)

Now, the defense calls said shifty looking guy. The defense attempts to make a case with this guy. Now, the prosecution has already made a lot of hay with his carefully constructed testimony. Maybe he doesn't come across as good in person, so he's less useful to the defense. And, of course, now the prosecution gets a chance to cross examine him and try to slant the facts back in their favor.

Why is this good? I mean, I understand that this might be a part of how the game is played, what with jury consultants and all that nonsense, but how is justice served by presenting (edited!) videotapes of testimony?

If the witness is available, they should be in court, in front of the jury, saying what they have to say. Period.

Re:Whats the difference... (1)

action789 (148777) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930856)

While this is a good point, I'm still left asking "So what?"

The defense could just as easily called him as a witness for live statements, as easily as the prosecution played a tape of him.

What privelege was lost by the prosecution playing a tape?

Re:Whats the difference... (1)

k3v0 (592611) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930762)

his replies were also edited, not played in their entirety. thats pretty clever. they should have edited him to say "i did it. i am guilty, and also a terrorist with illegal mp3's"

Re:Whats the difference... (4, Informative)

alkali (28338) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930851)

The usual method is that one side "designates" deposition testimony to be read (or played) to the jury and the other side "counter-designates" testimony which it believes is necessary to make the testimony complete. The court is usually provided with a transcript of the entire deposition marked to show the designated and counter-designated portions. The point is to read (or play) only the relevant portions of the testimony rather than waste the jury's time and confuse the issues. There's nothing fishy about it.

Re:Whats the difference... (5, Insightful)

frankie (91710) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930804)

since he was under oath, so it seems the same.

Hmm... held under guard in a foreign country and not allowed to go home until you make a video tape that incriminates you and/or your friends... nope, I can't think of any reason the testimony might be faulty. Of course, when folks in "the axis of evil" do things like that, our freedom-loving leaders tend to call it "hostage taking" and "terrorism".

Re:Whats the difference... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930910)

Whatever gave anyone the impression that this was supposed to have any semblance of fairness is what I don't understand.

Talk Talk Talk! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930625)

That's all anybody can do. about this case. Slasharov Rulz.

-phat russian*

Re:Talk Talk Talk! (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 11 years ago | (#4931028)

http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=48296&threshol d=0&commentsort=0&tid=123&mode=thread&pid=4909092# 4909216

That's anyone can DO about the case.

Unless of course, you want them to appeal or something.

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1)

IAgreeWithThisPost (550896) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930630)

DMCA and Patriot Act and Homeland Security Act
remove your CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

oops. That should read "IN AMERICA"

here is a hole [goatse.cx]

Re:IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930643)

joo r teh sux, dood. sux hard.

He wasn't under oath for the tape, right? (1)

SledgeHBK (148480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930647)

Maybe I don't understand, how can you use a tape as a substitute for testimony? Doesn't seem right.

Re:He wasn't under oath for the tape, right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930676)

Depositions are under oath.

Re:He wasn't under oath for the tape, right? (2)

Zeinfeld (263942) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930858)

Maybe I don't understand, how can you use a tape as a substitute for testimony? Doesn't seem right.

You can't use the tape as a substitute for testimony, but you can use it for evidence.

The bit I don't understand is why the defense would allow this without objection. It is not usual to accept a videotaped deposition if the person giving it is available to testify in person. A videotape does not give an opportunity for cross examination. The only explanation would be if the defense did not think that the tape hurt their case or if the judge made some bizare ruling.

Using a tape in this way would seem to be bad for the prosecution. The jury will inevitably suspect that there is a problem with the testimony if the proescution have to use that type of tactic.

Given the political nature of the trial and the reported intention of the FBI to 'take out a high profile hacker' I would not be suprised if some jury nullification was going on here. This is not like the Napster case where piracy was the issue, the real issue here was the ability of the consumer to have any control over the content they purchased. It does not take much intelligence to realize that the same technology applied to TV means that it won't be possible to use a VCR in future.

Re:He wasn't under oath for the tape, right? (2, Informative)

alkali (28338) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930967)

It is not usual to accept a videotaped deposition if the person giving it is available to testify in person.

Depositions taken in accordance with Federal Rule of Criminal Procedure 15 [ukans.edu] may be used at trial in accordance with subpart (e) of that Rule:

At the trial or upon any hearing, a part or all of a deposition, so far as otherwise admissible under the rules of evidence, may be used as substantive evidence if the witness is unavailable, as unavailability is defined in Rule 804(a) of the Federal Rules of Evidence, or the witness gives testimony at the trial or hearing inconsistent with that witness' deposition. Any deposition may also be used by any party for the purpose of contradicting or impeaching the testimony of the deponent as a witness. If only a part of a deposition is offered in evidence by a party, an adverse party may require the offering of all of it which is relevant to the part offered and any party may offer other parts.

Hmm... (5, Insightful)

Cali Thalen (627449) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930651)

Video someone before the trial, edit the tape, and play that back in court...and with no intention of letting him stand up and defend himself?

Sounds like someing you'd hear about in a _really_ backwards country somewhere...

Re:Hmm... (2, Insightful)

sweetooth (21075) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930685)

Oh, you mean like the new and improved United States of America?

I swear, I'm gonna move to New Zealand, or Australia, or Canada or something.

Re:Hmm... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930721)

Not sure about New Zealand, but the other two have draconian gun laws. At least here in the (ever more corrupt) US of A, one can still carry and defend themselves.

Re:Hmm... (1)

krist0 (313699) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930794)

yeah, lucky you guys have those guns to defend yourselves, from what i hear, the road coats and coming back to take their territory.....

Re:Hmm... (1)

krist0 (313699) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930813)

ahem, I meant RED coats....road coats?

man, I seriously gotta lay off the cough syrup.

Re:Hmm... (0, Flamebait)

chef_raekwon (411401) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930796)

sorry, Canada is full. Funny how you picked all nations from the Commonwealth, eh? For Americans, all your choices have been narrowed to Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia or Haiti.

Re:Hmm... (2)

sweetooth (21075) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930852)

Actually, I picked countries where I have friends and/or family so I'm not really worried about being turned away.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4931094)

You may not be turned away physically, but as soon as that american bravado sticks its head up, you'll be ostracized.

Re:Hmm... (1)

mikeee (137160) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930691)

Or in the Microsoft anti-trust trial?

Re:Hmm... (4, Informative)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930780)

It was evidence, and the prosecution probably guessed that actually having Dmitry on the stand would hurt their case. Of course, since this isn't one of those really backwards countries the defense was able to put Dmitry on the stand as one of their own witnesses.

Re:Hmm... (5, Informative)

AyeRoxor! (471669) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930809)

"with no intention of letting him stand up and defend himself?"

You have to remember that the charges against him were dropped. As soon as he accepted the bargain of exchanging his testimony/recorded whatever for dropped charges, he lost his right to defend himself and/or his actions. Any defendant has the right to face his accuser in court, not just anybody involved. And in any case, Elcomsoft's attorney could call him at any time.

Re:Hmm... (2)

Maxwell'sSilverLART (596756) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930828)

and with no intention of letting him stand up and defend himself

How do you figure? The defense could have called him to the stand, but chose not to. The prosecution cannot call the accused to the stand--pesky little thing called the Fifth Amendment. The defense chose not to call Dmitri to explain the statements, probably because, if called, Dmitri would be subject to cross-examination by the prosecution, which usually bolsters their case (even when there's no case to be made). Sounds to me like the prosecutor did his job correctly, and the defense attorney made a good decision. Incidentally, it looks like the defense attorney's decision was correct--they won.

Re:Hmm... (1)

alkali (28338) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930869)

Dmitry wasn't the accused; Elcomsoft was. Dmitry waived his Fifth Amendment rights in exchange for a promise of immunity.

Re:Hmm... (2)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930883)

The defense could have called him to the stand, but chose not to.
The defense later called Sklyarov as its own witness...
Incidentally, it looks like the defense attorney's decision was correct--they won.
Electronic Frontier Foundation attorney Fred von Lohmann said he's not surprised that many jurors found Sklyarov sympathetic. "The jury saw this serious young man and not a copyright pirate," he said. "They must have said, 'Where's the bad guy here?'"

Re:Hmm... (2)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#4931005)

The prosecution cannot call the accused to the stand--pesky little thing called the Fifth Amendment

I think they can call--but he just don't have to answer if he doesn't want to.

Re:Hmm... (3, Insightful)

DeepRedux (601768) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930846)

Sklyarov was not on trial here, so he has no right to present testimony on his own behalf. The one with rights is the defendant, ElcomSoft, his employer. ElcomSoft had the right, which they exercised, to have Sklyarov testify live in court.

In the US, it is not the job of the prosecution to fairly present both sides. The prosecution's job is to make the best case they can against the defendant and the defense's job is to rebut the case. The judge has the task of making sure that both sides have the opportunity to present their case, within the rules of evidence.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Atsjoo (598926) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930968)

In the US, it is not the job of the prosecution to fairly present both sides.

Maybe it's just me but this seems like a bit of a knife's edge to balance on. How about trying to make the courts a little less of a pissing contest and a litte more about trying to find out what happened and whether it's legal or not?

The German tradition that we also have used here in Norway (and several other countries no doubt) is that the prosecution's job is to present all the facts, both for and against. The defence has only the task of picking apart that part of the evidence that indicated the defendant is guilty.

Seems a tad more humane to me as we don't (in theory) end up with a lone person and his lawyer up against the whole might of the nation's justice system.

He didn't need to defend himself (2)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930920)

Video someone before the trial, edit the tape, and play that back in court...and with no intention of letting him stand up and defend himself?

He wasn't the one on trial, though, so he didn't need to defend himself.

The 5th amendmant (3, Insightful)

ACNeal (595975) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930655)

They can't compel him to testify, so why ask him to? It would have wasted everyones time to call him to the stand.

If he had something to say his lawyers would call him to the stand in rebuttal to the prosecution.

Re:The 5th amendmant (1)

gmhowell (26755) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930741)

I believe there was a plea bargain or some other arrangement to get the prosecutor to drop charges. This throws his 5th amendment rights into a bit of a quagmire, depending on how the plea was setup. At the very least, if he refused to testify, they could likely reinstate the charges against him personally.

Re:The 5th amendmant (3, Interesting)

crumley (12964) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930756)

Part of Dmitry's "plea" agreement was a provision that required him to testify for the government. As he said on several ocassions he was perfectly willing to do that since he had nothing to hide. Dmitry was not the defendant in the case that finally went to trial - his company was. Dmitry did eventually testify for the defense, but it still was pretty sketchy for the government to use his taped deposition instead of calling him to the stand.

Re:The 5th amendmant (2)

Spazholio (314843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930873)

I'm surprised no one noticed this - he doesn't HAVE 5th amendment rights. He's not an American citizen. There may be something equivalent in a situation such as this, with a non-citizen bearing witness in a courtroom, but I'm relatively sure the 5th amendment doesn't apply. But, as everyone here is so fond of saying, IANAL, so I could be WAAAAAY off base here.

Re:The 5th amendmant (2)

dalassa (204012) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930948)

I believe you are. I believe that once you are in the offical courts of America you have the same rights citizen or non citizen.

Re:The 5th amendmant (2)

Spazholio (314843) | more than 11 years ago | (#4931010)

Can any lawyers weigh in on this? Now, I'm actually curious as to how this topic is treated...

IN SOVIET RUSSIA.... (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930661)

Skylarov is a citizen!

word to my homies (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930663)

I'll rape your monkey ass, nigger.

This is a sad story, people (1, Interesting)

SteweyGriffin (634046) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930665)

From the page: At the time of his arrest, Dmitry Sklyarov was a 27-year-old Russian citizen, Ph.D. student, cryptographer and father of two small children (a 2-1/2 year old son, and a 3-month-old daughter).

A man devotes his life's work to studying the fine intracacies of computer science. He obtains a doctoral degree through years of work mastering cryptographic algorithms.

He then gets sued unjustly and is ripped away from his children for months and months and months.

Where's the justice here?

Re:This is a sad story, people (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930923)

Sad? I would not call it that. Calling the misfortunes of a Soviet agent "sad" means you are in sympathy with these scum. What is sad is that this troublemaker isn't in a cage at Camp X-Ray.

Re:This is a sad story, people (2, Interesting)

DaytonCIM (100144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4931036)

Where's the justice here?

The justice here was almost the same justice the DoJ dealt Kevin Mitnick; but ElcomSoft was found not-guilty and Sklyarov only spent a short time in custody.

What we need to do as a community is fight the DMCA and DRM Technology, in hopes that this doesn't happen again.

Re:This is a sad story, people (2)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 11 years ago | (#4931053)

The justice is that we may now have a vocal spokesman to put an end to the "In Soviet Russia..." cliche.

In Soviet Russia (4, Funny)

davmct (195217) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930667)

YOU testify for the VIDEO TAPE

in US
the VIDEO TAPE testifies for YOU

Re:In Soviet Russia (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930707)

People serious need to let go of this lame "In Russia blah blah" garbage. Its not even funny anymore, just plain annoying.

Yes I know.. -1

The nerve of some people... (2)

craenor (623901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930673)

Not offering you a chance to change your testimony after the fact!

Re:The nerve of some people... (1)

c.derby (574103) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930755)

it's not about changing your testimony. it's about having the opportunity to clarify your answers and make sure they weren't interpreted the wrong way.

Re:The nerve of some people... (2)

craenor (623901) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930782)

I was just joking for the most part. But I also think that most of the "answer clarification" that goes on with testimony is really nothing more then answer coaching.

Anything said in a deposition should still be truthful information to the best of your knowledge correct? Besides which, if your defense team wanted you to testify, couldn't they just call you to the stand?

The question I want answered is... (3, Interesting)

Interrobang (245315) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930675)

...how did they settle the jurisdictional questions? I mean, last I heard, Skylarov was working in Russia. One assumes the US government just did it by fiat, or was there more diplomacy involved than what I'm led to believe?

If the US just went ahead and did it anyway, that's kind of a scary precedent, meaning that now, no matter where you are in the world, the long arm of US law enforcement can come after you for doing something it doesn't happen to like? If that's the case, as sort of a quid pro quo, I would like some of the priveleges of US citizenship to go along with the burdens.

Re:The question I want answered is... (1)

Directrix1 (157787) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930744)

Thats very sensible, I agree. Although, I myself would like to find myself free of this tyrannical government which is owned by big businesses. But thats just a matter of oppinion.

Re:The question I want answered is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930814)

every government is tyrannical by definition, thats why it's called government. anyway i don't think that anarchy would work better either.

ok just a tip from european to us ppl, next elections, vote for the underdog =)

Re:The question I want answered is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930748)

yupp so this means swedish police can arrest americans because americans have firearms?

sounds like nonsense to me... but hey, who am i to tell?

Re:The question I want answered is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930897)

so this means swedish police can arrest americans because americans have firearms?

Like those sissys would even try!

Re:The question I want answered is... (2)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930997)

yupp so this means swedish police can arrest americans because americans have firearms?

Only if those americans sell those firearms in Sweeden.

Re:The question I want answered is... (2, Informative)

svyyn (530783) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930769)

Sklyarov came to the US to give a talk on breaking Adobe e-Book encryption, which was a violation of the DMCA. As such, he was detained... for six months. The 'right to a speedy trial' apparently means under a year or two. He was allowed to go home without prosecution only in exchange for testifying against his employer, Elcomsoft. As such, there are no 5th Amendment issues here, because he's not testifying against himself. Elmcomsoft was doing business in, and has servers in the US. Therefore it's in the US's jursidiction -- they can force the company's presence out of the US. (Which would then bring us into fair trade issues with certain unnamed intranational arbiters.)

The "Ally MacBeal" School of Thought Disagrees (2)

Greyfox (87712) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930903)

Talking about it isn't illegal. Manufacturing and selling a device which facilities bypassing the protection on a copy-protected product is illegal. Now since it was manufacturered in Russia and Dmitry never personally sold the product in the states himself, the justice department never did have much of a case against him (Unless he was peddleing copies of the program from his briefcase after the talk.) The first ammendment trumps the DMCA, so you can talk about breaking that encryption scheme all you want to. You can write a book about it. You could probably even publish source code examples in a book since a book's not machine readable format so your source code wouldn't be considered a "Device."


The court's still out on code-as-speech though it's pretty obvious to us. If the supreme court decides that source code is speech, distributing decss and other such programs in source form would then be undeniably legal. Distributing binaries would remain illegal under the DMCA.


Sorry. Kind of drifted there. I do seem to recall something about there being legal standards as to what would be considered "speedy" and that timeframe is longer than I'd want to spend in jail. Win or lose, you can generally expect the whole process to be more of a pain in your ass than you want it to be. Dmitry might be able to sue someone (Adobe, most likely) for something but I also seem to recall that you generally can't expect a whole lot from civil cases involving the criminal process.


obIANAL, but I've watched all the episodes of "Ally MacBeal"

Wrong (1)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930953)

Sklyarov came to the US to give a talk on breaking Adobe e-Book encryption, which was a violation of the DMCA.

Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

And by the way, you're wrong.

Re:The question I want answered is... (2)

Anixamander (448308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930954)

If the US just went ahead and did it anyway, that's kind of a scary precedent, meaning that now, no matter where you are in the world, the long arm of US law enforcement can come after you for doing something it doesn't happen to like?

Why do folks keep misrepresenting what actually happened here? The bottom line is, he was in this country, giving a talk and selling a product which was thought to violate the DMCA. Foreign nationals are not immune from our laws when they are in our country. Where he came from didn't matter; only that he was thought to be breaking the law, here, on U.S. soil.

Is it a bad law? Yes. Was he (or Elcomsoft, later) violating it? Apparently not. But these are seperate issues. Questioning whether or not we had the right to arrest him merely distracts from the more important issues at stake here.

Re:The question I want answered is... (2)

anthony_dipierro (543308) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930974)

Why do folks keep misrepresenting what actually happened here? The bottom line is, he was in this country, giving a talk and selling a product which was thought to violate the DMCA.

Umm, first of all, he was not in this country selling anything. He sold the product from his home. Secondly, his talk was not illegal, and was not in the indictment. You are the one who is misrepresenting what actually happened. Read the fucking indictment.

He's got guts. (2)

viper21 (16860) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930684)

I honestly expected Sklyarov to humbly search for all those people who might be exploiting his software.

"I don't know who pirated, but I'm gonna get them for improperly using my software"

At least until he got back to mother Russia.

Hey, it worked for OJ.

-S

IN SOVIET RUSSIA (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930690)


The United States Arrests YOU!

It's Amazing (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930712)

The US Constitution says that you have the right to own a gun. A tool with but one purpose and that is to kill. Killing is illegal - but you write a piece of software that could potentially be used to pirate something but has several other good purposes and they throw you in jail. I will never underestimate the stupidity of american lawmakers.

Re:It's Amazing (1)

k3v0 (592611) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930793)

i dont think it's the lawmakers that are stupid per se, they are elected officials...

Re:It's Amazing (2)

greechneb (574646) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930822)

I think you have to remember guns have more than one purpose. Guns are NOT just for killing.

According to your thinking everyone who owned a gun is also a killer, making the US have about 80 million killers, from what numbers I can find.

According to your logic, I am a killer also since I own a gun, which its only purpose "is to kill"

Re:It's Amazing (2)

SuiteSisterMary (123932) | more than 11 years ago | (#4931088)

Can you name anything else the designers of the firearm thought you might do with it, other than attempt to kill something/somebody with it?

The fact that you choose not to kill with it doesn't mitigate the fact that it's designed to kill. The fact that you can now come up with other things to do with it (say, sport shooting) doesn't mitigate the fact that it was designed, originally, to kill people.

As opposed to, say, the ball point pen, which was designed to make ink marks, but it was later discovered that, yes, you could stab somebody with it. That wasn't, however, the design intention.

Re:It's Amazing (2)

phorm (591458) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930901)

Guns are made for killing. Killing equals illegal.

Last time I checked, it was perfectly legal to go out and shoot a deer (licensed, in season). I can't see much reason for anyone having semi-automatics etc though.

Re:It's Amazing (1)

plsander (30907) | more than 11 years ago | (#4931048)

What is your issue with semi-automatics?

Re:It's Amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4931025)

The US Constitution says that you have the right to own a gun.

Umm, I think you need to talk to the Supreme Court about that one. Last I checked the Second Amendment didn't give you the right to own a gun, it gave the states the right to keep a militia.

Re:It's Amazing (2, Insightful)

penguin_dance (536599) | more than 11 years ago | (#4931101)

What's amazing the above post being rated as "insightful" instead of what it really is..."flamebait."

And no, it isn't illegal to kill someone if you are defending yourself. Not in the US anyway. Which is exactly the example Sklyarov made.

That's not nice.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930725)

... the nasty US should treat Karnov better. He's a swell dude.

Ahhhhh! Help me for fuck's sake!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930733)


I'm not kidding, I have a fucking pit bull latched onto my penis! Oh it HURTS! FUCK!

More Info on the Case (5, Informative)

DaytonCIM (100144) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930734)

If you want to know more about this case, ElcomSoft, or Dmitry Sklyarov, EFF.com has a great FAQ. Check it out here [eff.org] .

Breaking US laws in Russia (0, Insightful)

cyberkreiger (463962) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930772)

He got arrested for breaking a US law in Russia! Hello? Hello? Am i the only one who sees this? I have yet to read one article in news media which mentions this. I feel like i'm taking crazy pills!

Re:Breaking US laws in Russia (3)

GMontag451 (230904) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930840)

He got arrested for breaking a US law in Russia!

Well, depending on how liberally you interpret the DMCA, his talk at DefCon could be construed as a crime. It would then be breaking a US law in the US, which we hold non-residents for all the time.

Wait a second (2)

Have Blue (616) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930777)

Why was he forced to accept the prosecution doing this? Couldn't he have literally forced his way into the courtroom if he really wanted?

In Soviet Russia (1)

filledwithloathing (635304) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930785)

... they crack Adobe encryption techniques.

Unfair? Try "only option" (2, Informative)

Maxwell'sSilverLART (596756) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930787)

Before everybody gets up in arms about this great injustice, let's have a brief look at the facts*, shall we?

  1. Dmitri gave his deposition, presumably voluntarily. Before questioning, he would have been apprised of his rights, and of the fact that anything he said (including the deposition) could be used against him in court.
    That means he knew they could use the deposition in court, and chose to give it anyway
  2. The Constitution specifically forbids the prosecution from calling Dmitri to the stand--that whole pesky "Fifth Amendment" thing, which states, in part, "nor shall [he] be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself."
    That means that the prosecutor couldn't call him to the stand, even if he wanted to

Unless I'm missing something here, the system worked exactly as it was supposed to. If Dmitri wanted to testify, his lawyer, the defense attorney, could have called him to the stand; that he didn't indicates that he (the lawyer) felt that putting him on the stand, where he'd be subject to cross-examination by the prosecution, would be more harmful to the case than allowing his deposition to go unexplained.

Given the outcome of the case, I'd have to agree.

IANAL.

(*Yes, I know, facts, on Slashdot. It's so crazy it just might work!)

Re:Unfair? Try "only option" (2)

GMontag451 (230904) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930876)

That means that the prosecutor couldn't call him to the stand, even if he wanted to.

Actually, since Dmitri wasn't the defendant, they could have called him. Testifying against ElcomSoft was also part of his plea agreement.

Re:Unfair? Try "only option" (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4931014)

The Constitution specifically forbids the prosecution from calling Dmitri to the stand--that whole pesky "Fifth Amendment" thing, which states, in part, "nor shall [he] be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself." That means that the prosecutor couldn't call him to the stand, even if he wanted't

The law doesn't say the prosecution can't put him on the stand... it just says he has the right to refuse to testify once he is on the stand on the grounds that it may incriminate himself.

Unless I'm missing something here, the system worked exactly as it was supposed to. If Dmitri wanted to testify, his lawyer, the defense attorney, could have called him to the stand; that he didn't indicates that he (the lawyer) felt that putting him on the stand, where he'd be subject to cross-examination by the prosecution, would be more harmful to the case than allowing his deposition to go unexplained.

RTFA... From the article:
The defense later called Sklyarov as its own witness, and in a calm, cooperative manner, the boyish programmer testified that he never intended for the product to be used illegally--an assertion that played well with jurors interviewed after the case. He said the software was designed to allow people to make backup copies of eBooks they already own or transfer the material to a different computer.


Damn it people... read the fscking article some time instead of writing ignorant comments...

DMCA wins this one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930797)

This article is the first of the many I've read on the Elcomsoft trial to mention that the jury did find that the software was illegal under the DMCA.

Nobody seems to be giving much importance to the fact that Elcomsoft has (permanently, it seems) been forced to stop distributing the software. That alone makes this case a major loss for freedom.

Up to now I'd thought that the legitimacy of the software itself wasn't ruled on. If this article is accurate in saying that it was, the result is even worse than I'd thought.

Sad times... (4, Insightful)

kaosrain (543532) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930799)

He said if someone came to him with another project focused on cracking copyrights, "I would ask you, if you're sure this is legal." If the answer is unclear, Sklyarov said he would suggest the person find a lawyer who could figure it out.

I'm sure he was told his previous project was legal. It's sad that now lawyers will have to say "Yes, this is legal. Except in the USA."

Something is wrong in a country where... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4930833)

You can legally own a gun, but there is a law preventing you from making a backup copy of something you own.

I know which one I think has the potential to do more harm.

Sorry for being off-topic, but I'm still amazed that this even needed to go to court. Priorities, anyone?

My Fantastic Teleporter Is Illegal (4, Funny)

titaniam (635291) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930899)

I was just about to release to the world the greatest invention ever, when I read Sklyarov's
article, and that part about the lockpick possibly being illegal got to me! I realized a teleporter could be used to bypass shrink-wrap licenses, pop cd's out of thir unopened jewelbox vaults, or maybe even make "secure" adobe pdf documents useful (I haven't figured that one out yet, but it MAY be possible). Sorry, world! My lawyer has advised me to destroy all the evidence, make my lab notebooks useless by converting them to MS-WORD format, and additionally to re-format my brain to avoid any chance of this big-media-busting technology being used against me in court.

Re:My Fantastic Teleporter Is Illegal (1)

HermDog (24570) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930994)

Yeah, but now I'm going to have to sue you for depriving me of the technology I need so I can avoid spending four or five hours in a flying tube tomorrow.

If US laws apply in other countries... (1)

BFaucet (635036) | more than 11 years ago | (#4930927)

do the laws of other countries apply to the US?

If so I hope China doesn't go after a US citizen for running a pro-democracy journal.
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