"Members of our jury overwhelmingly felt that Adobe
acted thuggishly and ran roughshod over free speech, finding the
company guilty by a margin wider than 80 percent on both counts.
Jurors were passionate in their indictment of the company, calling
its actions antithetical to basic liberal ideals and human rights,
commercially stupid and generally un-American. They threatened to
unload their Adobe stock, stop buying the company's products and
urge others to follow their example.
They also objected vociferously to the idea that Sklyarov's
computer cracking was a crime and that his prosecution was a move
to protect vital intellectual property rights.
"Last I heard, free speech gives the right to sell ingredients
for explosives, to describe techniques on manufacturing drugs or
bombs, and folks have the right to blow up their own safe if they
want," wrote Juror Tunesmith. "It's actually selling the drugs,
robbing the bank, selling the stolen goods that is illegal - and
Elcomsoft [Sklyarov's company] doesn't sell pirated ebooks."
"...The focus for most of the protesters is two-fold --
the more immediate goal of getting Sklyarov released from jail and
the repeal or wholesale change of the DMCA. Holman, a
programmer/computer security expert from San Francisco, would be
happy with the first goal, for now. "I want to get Dmitry out of
jail so I can retire from activism," he says. "Sadly, this is only
the first of many battles in our war against the DMCA, but the rest
of the army of supporters can take it from here, I need a break!"
Michael "proclus" Love, who's GNU-Darwin distribution project
site has run "Free Dmitry" links and information, says he's not
sure what else can be done on the site.
"I have to admit that I'm somewhat at a loss, as far as Dmitry
is concerned," Love says. " I have been trying to decide if there
is anything more that the Distribution can do for him. We will keep
the Free Dmitry banners up until he goes home, and I want to
continue our news coverage. The incarceration of Dmitry is an
outrage, and people who visit our news links should be able to
clearly see why we are outraged."
"The popular media's coverage of the Dmitri Sklyarov
case is a scandal. 26-year-old programmer and encryption gadfly
Sklyarov has been languishing in jail for almost two weeks now, and
the popular media has paid almost no attention to his truly
outrageous arrest. It's a case that has the ugliest implications
not only for the press (online and off) but for open discussion of
technology, and especially for the First Amendment, now clearly
being undermined in the name of copyright protection by the DMCA.
This is the opposite of whatcopyright law was meant to do.
When reporters were threatened with law enforcement pressure and
jail during the Watergate and Pentagon Papers cases, whole forests
were felled in the pre-digital age with stories, books, even movies
about courageous reporters fighting for the First Amendment against
government oppression. Not a single reporter was jailed in those
cases, not even for an hour, even though many broke federal and
other laws in gathering the information they reported.
You won't see any discussion of Dmitri Sklyarov on Washington
talk shows, the evening news, or the cover of the weekly
newsmagazines. But he is stuck in jail.
"The DMCA should be repealed because it will hinder the
industry it is trying to protect by preventing people from exposing
security flaws that were missed in the professional development
stage. ElcomSoft was to pay Skylarov regardless of whether or not
he could write software circumventing the security flaw, so he was
clearly not intent on making personal gains from the technology.
The Justice Department should not be holding Sklyarov responsible
for the company's decisions, not to mention the fact that he was
visiting the United States to discuss possible solutions to the
security flaw. Differing international laws must also be considered
in the case before Sklyarov is tried under U.S. law. All of these
circumstances would set a horrible precedent for the DMCA, and the
prosecuting attorney should drop his investigation and the suit.
All of this comes down to publishing books in a digital medium,
an enterprise that hasn't even been embraced by the public. With
this in mind, as well as the problems with the DMCA itself and the
questionable jurisdiction that holds Sklyarov here, this case
should not be the precedent setter for the 1998 Digital Millennium
Copyright Act, and U.S. authorities should release Dmitry Sklyarov
"Boucher says he believed from the beginning that the
language of the DMCA was flawed and tried back in 1998 to narrow
its scope of crime to instances where the sole intent was to
In spite of certain opposition from the entertainment industry,
Boucher is ready to get back in the trenches with his draft
legislation, and he thinks he has a real chance to amend the DMCA,
given the current focus on the Sklyarov case. "Everyone agrees that
we should protect copyrights, but a law that effectively cedes
total control of copyrighted material to the copyright owners goes
beyond what is necessary to ensure fair compensation to the owner
of the copyright," he says.
It's an ambitious plan, and Boucher isn't sure when he'll
introduce the new proposed legislation, tentatively called the
Digital Music Bill, though he thinks it most likely will be in the
fall. Still, he doesn't rule out moving faster. "It could come as
soon as this month. It could come later this week," he says. "We're
still looking at timing."
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