Next Wave of Free Dmitry Protests: Monday July 30

Posted 27 Jul 2001 at 01:47 UTC by MisterBad Share This

I know what you're thinking: "What? I thought we freed Dmitry _LAST_ week!" But the Man Nobody Wants In Prison is still behind bars due to bureaucratic inertia. The folks in the Department of Justice need a push, and it's going to take a lot of us to push them.

A new wave of Free Dmitry protests is going off next week in cities across the country. To quickly recap, Dmitry Sklyarov is a Russian programmer who was arrested by the FBI on July 16th after making a presentation at Def Con 9. Dmitry is a Ph.D. student in Moscow and an expert on the various "copy protection" algorithms used for digital documents such as encrypted PDF and eBook.

Dmitry's initial code was picked up by a Moscow company called ElcomSoft, who put out his work as a product called the Advanced Ebook Processor. The AEBPR is a useful tool for legitimate owners of eBooks to make backups, transfer files between computers, read eBooks on non-authorized platforms (like Linux), play eBooks through text-to-speech translators (essential for the vision-impared), and exercise many other fair use rights.

However, because the AEBPR has to remove the copy protection -- converting an eBook into a plain old PDF -- Adobe Systems, the makers of eBook, were greatly worried. They reported Dmitry to the FBI under the criminal sections of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and the Feds took him down in Las Vegas.

The international hacker outcry has been deafening. After a lightning-quick round of organizing efforts last week, a series of protests world-wide were executed in front of Adobe offices, US federal buildings and US embassies by cyberrights advocates demanding Dmitry's immediate release. Based on the huge response, and with the gentle nudging of the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF), Adobe chose to withdraw its complaint and request the release of Dmitry Sklyarov.

This brings us to where we are today. Despite the withdrawal, there's been no news from the Northern California US Attorney's office, which is responsible for Dmitry's prosecution. Why is Dmitry Sklyarov still in jail, when nobody wants him there? No one is quite sure, but we want to make the Feds know that we want him out.

In Washington D.C., Free Dmitry protesters will demonstrate outside the Senate confirmation hearings for Robert Mueller, President Bush's nominee for Director of the FBI. Mueller is the current US Attorney for NorCal, so he's the person most capable for making the choice to drop the charges. There will also be a demonstration in San Francisco outside the Burton Federal Building, where the US Attorney's office is. Other demos are already scheduled for Chicago, Boston, New York, and other cities across the US.

After Monday's victory, we know several things. First, there is a huge bloc of civil libertarians, programmer-activists, cypherpunks, hackers, geeks, and cyberrights advocates out there who are willing and able to make a big noise for a just cause. Second, we know that we can make a difference. The combination of activists on the outside and negotiators on the inside has been very successful, and we want to continue that.

But most of all, we've found out that inforights causes reach out to the general public. Free Dmitry protests were featured on 10 O'Clock TV news shows and the front pages of local papers across the country. People understand that fair use is about being FAIR, and that it's wrong to put people in jail to cover up the weaknesses in technical products. We know that we can reach out to people, build a ground swell, and win this battle.

Now more than ever we need local organizers and participants to make these protests big events. If you are concerned about civil liberties on the Internet, you really owe it to yourself and the rest of us to show yourself in meatspace in a city near you. Check Free Sklyarov for the schedule of a Monday protest near you. If there isn't one, why don't you get on the Free Sklyarov Mailing List and start it?

Hurgh, posted 28 Jul 2001 at 01:58 UTC by MisterBad » (Master)

Is there any way for me to delete this duplicate article?

Yes, there is, posted 28 Jul 2001 at 07:56 UTC by mishan » (Journeyer)

Yes. If Raph (or whoever has access to the server) would edit the appropriate XML file, I believe ...

Hmm. Should be an easy fix., posted 29 Jul 2001 at 02:02 UTC by amit » (Apprentice)

Maybe I'll send in a fix that compares a submission to any other recent articles and rejects it if it already exists. Simple and would save headaches like this.

Other than that, I was at the San Jose protest and intend on being at the San Francisco one next monday.

Free Dmitry!

Send it!, posted 30 Jul 2001 at 23:23 UTC by neale » (Journeyer)

Could you Cc: if you do that fix? I'll fold it in to the CrackMonkey/Pickett topsy-turvy virgule branch.

And (to stay topical) if you're in Seattle, join the seattle-sklyarov mailing list. With scientific conferences moving out of the US, this whole DMCA issue is becoming increasingly important. (At least, it is for US folks; I'd imagine the rest of the world is sitting back and laughing at us.)

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