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Home » Hacking News » Rallies planned for arrested hacker

Rallies planned for arrested hacker

by ivy on July 24th, 2001 LOS ANGELES, California -- The arrest this week of a 26-year-old Russian software programmer accused of violating U.S. copyright law has sparked protests and pledges of support from a wide range of free speech advocates, defense lawyers and consumer groups.

Dmitry Sklyarov, who was arrested on Monday in Las Vegas after a major hacker convention there, is the first person to be prosecuted under the controversial 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act, federal law enforcement officials said.

Adobe Systems Inc. alleged that a program Sklyarov wrote violates that law, which bans the creation or distribution of any technology that circumvents copyright protections.

"Free Dmitry" rallies are scheduled for Monday in San Jose, Boston, Denver, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Reno and Moscow, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based advocacy group focused on free speech issues on the Internet.

EFF representatives are scheduled to meet on Monday with Adobe executives in an attempt to broker a resolution in the case, a lawyer for the group said on Friday.

"Because of the meeting with Adobe we are not supporting the protests because we would like to go in there and talk to them in good faith about their policies," said Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney for the advocacy group.

"We want to explore all the options we can for Adobe and the EFF in an effort to free Mr. Sklyarov and at the same time address public policy issues raised" by the new copyright law, Tien said.

The EFF, which was founded by Grateful Dead lyricist John Perry Barlow and Mitchell Kapor, the founder of the software company Lotus, argues that the new U.S. copyright law, which took effect in 2000, is flawed because it outlaws technologies instead of conduct.

The group plans to offer legal aid to Sklyarov, who was detained without bail and will be transferred to a federal detention center in San Jose.

In an interview with a local Las Vegas television station, Sklyarov denied doing anything wrong and accused Adobe of bullying him.

"I wrote the program to demonstrate security flaws, not to violate copyright law," he told station KTNV on Wednesday. "It's not illegal in Russia."

Sklyarov's program allows people who purchase books in digital form, known as ebooks, to get around protections in Adobe's eBook Reader designed to prevent copies from being made.

In addition to organizing rallies, Sklyarov's supporters have created a Web site calling for a boycott of Adobe products that features photos of Sklyarov and his wife and two children in Moscow.

An Adobe lawyer did not return calls seeking comment on Friday.

Sklyarov's employer, Moscow-based ElcomSoft Co., began selling his program a month ago but pulled it off the market after Adobe complained, executives said.

Sklyarov's was arrested in Las Vegas just before he was scheduled to return to Moscow, officials said. He had given a presentation at the Def Con hacker convention on his program the day before he was arrested.

By Reuters

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