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EFF Advisory: Russian Programmer to Appear in California Court

Aug 22, 2001, 01:27 (9 Talkback[s])

Robin Gross, EFF Intellectual Property Attorney
+1 415-436-9333 x112 (office)
+1 415 637-5310 (cell)

Cindy Cohn, EFF Offline Legal Director
+1 415 436-9333 x108 (office)
+1 415 823-2148 (cell)

David Greene, First Amendment Project Director
+1 510-208-7744

San Jose, California - Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov will appear in a California federal court this Thursday, August 23, for an arraignment on charges of trafficking in a copyright circumvention device. For programming a software application that appears to be legal in Moscow where he wrote it, Sklyarov -- who is out of custody on $50,000 bail -- faces a potential prison term of five years and a $500,000 fine.

The arraignment is scheduled for 9:30 AM Pacific time with US Magistrate Judge Richard Seeborg presiding, in courtroom 4, 5th floor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Branch, 280 South 1st Street, in San Jose, California.

Nonviolent protests are scheduled outside the hearing in San Jose, and later in the week in Moscow (Russia), Cambridge (England), London (England), Minneapolis, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Black Rock City, Nevada.

Dmitry Skylarov issued the following statement thanking the activists who have taken up his cause:

To everyone who spent their time helping me:

During the three weeks I spent in jail I learned that many people were protesting against my arrest. I also learned that Adobe withdrew its support of my arrest after meeting with EFF. But I was not able to see that or to read letters and articles about my case.

After being released from jail on August 6, I was really surprised and impressed by the scale of the action and the number of people involved in the protests. I'm not an IT superman. I'm just a programmer, like many others. It was unexpected by me that so many people would support a guy from another country that nobody heard about before.

Your support means a lot to me and my family and makes a difference for all.

This experience is going to change me in a profound way that I cannot even appreciate fully as yet. Thank you very much.

Dmitry Sklyarov

Directions and map to San Jose Federal Building: http://www.cand.uscourts.gov/cand/CourtInfo.nsf/6f311f8841e7da2488256405006827f0/f3b46c67b334132e88256682007f6ba9OpenDocument

Background on the Sklyarov case:

Calendar of protests related to the Sklyarov case: http://www.freesklyarov.org/calendar/

Coincidentally, the same afternoon nearby in San Jose, a California state appellate court will hear oral arguments regarding whether dozens of Internet publishers can be ordered to "stop the presses" pending the outcome of a California trade secrets trial.

In January 2000, as part of a trade secrets case brought by the motion picture industry, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge William Elfving ordered that Andrew Bunner and numerous other defendants halt Internet publication of the source code for DeCSS pending the outcome of a trial. DeCSS is free software that allows people to play DVDs without technological restrictions, such as platform limitations and region codes, that are preferred by movie studios.

Bunner, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the First Amendment Project, is appealing this prior restraint on his free speech rights. The case is In Re: DVD Copy Control Assoc., Inc. v. Bunner, case no. H021153. Oral arguments will begin at 1:30 PM before California's Sixth Appellate Court, located at 333 West Santa Clara Street, Suite 1060, San Jose, CA 95113.

Directions and map to San Jose Appellate Court Building: http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/courtsofappeal/6thDistrict/location.htm

Background on the DVD Copy Control Assoc., Inc. v. Bunner case: http://www.eff.org/IP/Video/DVDCCA_case/

About EFF:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and government to support free expression, privacy, and openness in the information society. EFF is a member-supported organization and maintains one of the most linked-to Web sites in the world:

About FAP:
The First Amendment Project (FAP) is a nonprofit, public interest law firm established in 1991 to protect, defend, and further the rights to participate in and know about government activities and speak freely about public issues: http://thefirstamendment.org/

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