Mr. Bad on Fri, 27 Jul 2001 12:04:54 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Next Wave of Free Dmitry Protests: Monday July 30th

            |       D M I T R Y   S K L Y A R O V       |
            |          M U S T   G O   F R E E          |

                        Monday, July 30th, 2001

                        Cities Around the World

                       Same Cause, New Villains

                Opportunities for Go-Getters Activists

                      Honk If You Love Fair Use
Dateline, The Internet: 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?

~Mr. Bad

 Mr. Bad <> | Pigdog Journal | 
              Free Dmitry!

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