Sklyarov indicted on federal charges

— 12:00 AM on August 29, 2001

The Russian graduate student who became a test case for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act has been indicted. From the AP story:

Dmitry Sklyarov, 27, and ElComSoft Co. Ltd. of Moscow were charged with five counts of copyright violations for writing a program that lets users of Adobe Systems' eBook Reader get around copyright protections imposed by electronic-book publishers.

The indictment alleges that the programmer and the company conspired for "commercial advantage and private financial gain."

I'm not so sure about that, but I certainly don't like the DMCA's provisions against cracking security mechanisms. It's like a really daffy version of gun control for the information age. Sklyarov's attorney made a statement that shows nicely just what happens when laws are written poorly:
"We were hopeful that the government would see the wisdom and justice in not pursuing a case against Sklyarov," Burton said. "Even if one were to ignore the serious legal questions involving the (copyright protections), this case hardly cries out for criminal prosecution. Sklyarov's and ElcomSoft's actions are not conduct that Congress intended to criminalize."
Check out for more info about this case. Ugh.
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