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Free Sklyarov! Repeal DMCA! Boycott Adobe!


As of this writing, Russian programmer and PhD student Dmitry Sklyarov sits in a Federal Prison somewhere in the US.

I don't know about you, but I find it profoundly embarrassing that a Russian national is imprisoned in the US for saying/writing the wrong thing. But that's how it is in corporate America, where we have the "best" congress that money can buy.

Dmitry wrote or helped to write a program to demonstrate weaknesses in Adobe's eBook encryption, and to allow "fair use" rights to be exercised. These would include allowing the legitimate owner (and only the owner, or at least someone who had the password) to copy the file to another computer, or to feed the file to other software, one example being a text-to-speech synthesizer used by blind people.

But he made the mistake of coming to America, former "land of the free", to discuss the program. When he did, the FBI, at Adobe's instigation, arrested him for violation of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act).

Because, even though copyright law and related decisions give you certain rights regarding material that you purchase, the DMCA law says that if a copyright owner chooses to protect their material with technology, action taken to defeat that technology (such as Dmitry's program) is illegal, even if that action is taken to allow fair use of the material.

The DMCA is a very bad law which should be repealed. The URLs above go into more detail.

Dmitry should go free. The DMCA should be repealed. And the swine at Adobe should be made to know that we have a very long memory for abusive use of laws such as this.

- Bob Niederman August 2, 2001

Here (http://www.congress.org/congressorg/dbq/officials/) is a place where you can get your federal legislators's addresses. Send email, but send 'real' mail, too. Legislators get so much email they routinely ignore it.