EFFector Vol. 14, No. 15 July 22, 2001 firstname.lastname@example.org
A Publication of the Electronic Frontier Foundation ISSN 1062-9424
In the 175th Issue of EFFector (now with over 28,000 subscribers!):
* FBI Arrests Programmer in Las Vegas for eBook Software
* EFF Statement on the Arrest of Dmitry Sklyarov
* EFF Letter From Executive Director Shari Steele to Attorney
General John Ashcroft (July 20, 2001)
* Respected British Scientist Resigns from US-Based
Conference-Planning Committee, Citing Fear of Prosecution under
* Electronic Publishers Coalition Condemns Criminal Use of DMCA
* Linux Community Joint Statement Against DMCA: Digital Millennium
Copyright Act Threatens Researchers
* EFF's Music Share-In in Golden Gate Park, Supporting our Open
* Join EFF in Fundraising Dinner with Ed Felten, Washington, D.C.,
For more information on EFF activities & alerts: http://www.eff.org
To join EFF or make an additional donation:
EFF is a member-supported non-profit. Please sign up as a member
FBI Arrests Programmer in Las Vegas for eBook Software;
Russian Distributed Tool that Increases Purchasers' Control of eBooks
Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release
For Immediate Release: July 17, 2001
Robin Gross, EFF Staff Attorney,
+1 415 436 9333 x209
Will Doherty, EFF Online Activist / Media Relations,
+1 415 436 9333 x111
San Francisco - The FBI arrested Russian citizen Dmitry Sklyarov in
Las Vegas, Nevada, yesterday on charges of distributing a product
designed to circumvent copyright protection measures. Sklyarov, who
was in Las Vegas to deliver a lecture on electronic book security,
allegedly authored a program which permits editing, copying, and
printing of electronic books by unlocking a proprietary Adobe
electronic book format. DoJ/US Attorney press release:
in one of the first United States criminal prosecutions under the
Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), Sklyarov is currently in
custody in Las Vegas pending transfer to the Northern California US
Federal District Court. For the full text of the complaint, see:
For more on the DMCA, see:
The case involves Advanced eBook Processor (AEBPR), software developed
by Sklyarov's Russian employer Elcomsoft. According to the company's
website, the software permits eBook owners to translate from Adobe's
secure eBook format into the more common Portable Document Format
(PDF). The company maintains that the software only works on
legitimately purchased eBooks.
Adobe's eBook format restricts the manner in which a legitimate eBook
buyer may read, print, back up, and store electronic books. The
Advanced eBook Processor appears to remove these usage restrictions,
permitting an eBook consumer to enjoy the ability to move the
electronic book between computers, make backup copies, and print. Many
of these personal, non-commercial activities may constitute fair use
under U.S. copyright law. Of course, the Advanced eBook Processor
software may also make it easier to infringe copyrights, since eBooks,
once translated into open formats like PDF, may be distributed in
Robin Gross, attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF),
explained, "The U.S. government for the first time is prosecuting a
programmer for building a tool that may be used for many purposes,
including those that legitimate purchasers need in order to exercise
their fair use rights."
Jennifer Granick, Clinical Director at the Stanford Law School Center
for Internet and Society, commented that "the DMCA says that companies
can use technology to take away fair use, but programmers can't use
technology to take fair use back. Now the government is spending
taxpayer money putting people from other countries in jail to protect
multinational corporate profits at the expense of free speech."
Alexander Katalov, President and Owner of Elcomsoft, expressed anger
and disappoint over Sklyarov's arrest: "Dimitry is only one of the
programmers who worked on this program, so I don't understand why it
is his sole responsibility. In Russia, we have no law like the DMCA.
In fact, distributing Adobe's eBook software is illegal in Russia,
since Russian law requires that the software permit the purchaser to
make at least one legal copy."
For a copy of the federal complaint against Sklyarov see:
For the Department of Justice press release on the case see:
For information on other DMCA-related cases see:
To join the free-sklyarov mailing list, see:
Two protest sites that are organizing rallies:
(Note: EFF does not presently endorse an Adobe boycott; we are meeting
with senior Adobe VPs and legal staff Mon. morning, July 23, and hope
to convince them to reverse their position on Sklyarov, and urge the
Dept. of Justice to drop the case and set him free.)
Adobe Systems Inc. Website:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil liberties
organization working to protect rights in the digital world. Founded
in 1990, EFF actively encourages and challenges industry and
government to support free expression, privacy, and openness in the
information society. EFF is a member-supported organization and
maintains one of the most linked-to Web sites in the world:
- end -
EFF Statement on the Arrest of Dmitry Sklyarov
from Executive Director Shari Steele
Once again, the Digital Millineum Copyright Act (DMCA) is proving
itself to be as harmful to civil liberties as we predicted it would
be. The latest victim is a Russian programmer named Dmitry Sklyarov,
who authored a program that permits editing, copying, and printing of
electronic books by unlocking a proprietary Adobe electronic book
Mr. Sklyarov has been brought up on criminal charges under the DMCA
for distributing a product designed to circumvent copyright protection
measures. This is different than the 2600 and Felten cases, which are
civil lawsuits. In a civil lawsuit, one private citizen (or company)
sues another for money and/or the cessation of a particular action. In
a criminal case, the government brings charges against an individual
(or company) and the punishment for conviction can be prison and/or
fines. Info on the 2600 Case:
Info on the Felten case:
EFF has been in contact with the Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA)'s
office trying to track Mr. Sklyarov's whereabouts and speak with him
directly. While the arrest took place in Las Vegas, the complaint was
executed in San Jose, meaning that Mr. Sklyarov will be sent to
California to stand trial. We have spoken with his colleagues,
criminal defense attorneys and others to help with his defense. After
he arrives in California, our first order of business is to get Mr.
Sklyarov out of jail on a bond pending his trial. EFF has begun to
pull together a top-notch legal team to help him defend his right to
talk about and distribute the Advanced eBook Processor software
program, and we'll be ready to step in as soon as it is appropriate.
Full text of the complaint:
EFF knew when we took on the 2600 Case over a year ago that fixing the
DMCA would require several legal challenges. EFF remains committed to
chipping away at this law until it no longer poses a threat to our
right to free speech.
Lest anyone be confused, this case is not about copyright
infringement. Mr. Sklyarov is not accused of infringing anyone's
copyrights. He is accused of building the Advanced eBook Processor, a
tool that allows the legitimate purchaser of an e-book to translate it
from one digital format into another (from Adobe's eBook format into
Adobe's Portable Document Format). Mr. Sklyarov is not being
prosecuted for using the tool himself -- in fact, such a prosecution
would be impossible, since using such a tool (as distinguished from
building or distributing one) breaks no law. Mr. Sklyarov has entered
the strange Twilight Zone of the DMCA, where using a tool is legal,
but building it is a crime.
We invite your support. If you are not yet an EFF member, please join
with us at http://www.eff.org/support . If you already are a member
and wish to make a donation, you can use that same link to get to our
Together we will keep the pressure on anyone who chooses to degrade
our basic rights. Thanks for your help.
Shari Steele, EFF Executive Director
July 18, 2001
- end -
EFF Letter From Executive Director Shari Steele
to Attorney General John Ashcroft (July 20, 2001)
Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110
The Honorable John Ashcroft
Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
July 20, 2001
Dear Attorney General Ashcroft:
At the request of Adobe Corporation, Dmitry Sklyarov was arrested by
the FBI on July 16th and charged with crimes under the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Mr. Sklyarov is a Russian national
who came to the United States to deliver an academic presentation on
his technological innovations. His arrest and subsequent detention
without bail are shameful and opportunistic actions against an
individual who was here simply to share his knowledge and technical
expertise with American scientists.
Dmitry Sklyarov is not accused of any copyright infringement of any
sort. He is a computer programmer. He stands accused of writing
software that enables purchasers of electronic books to exercise their
lawful fair use rights when viewing their eBooks. Such software is
both legal and required in Russia, where it was written and developed.
And while the DMCA does not prohibit its use in the US, providing the
technology is banned under the DMCA. Courts have determined time and
time again that computer code is creative expression worthy of First
Amendment protection. Mr. Sklyarov is currently being held captive for
the content of his ideas that demonstrate the flaws in Adobe's
software and because he expressed them in the most precise scientific
language available to his profession, computer code. Mr. Sklyarov's
right to free expression under the U.S. Constitution and international
treaty obligations must be respected.
Not only are Dmitry Sklyarov's human and civil rights being abused,
the inability of programmers to distribute fair use tools infringes on
the free speech rights of all of citizens who legitimately need them.
Fair use is an integral part of the bargain of rights struck between
the public and authors under U.S. copyright law. The U.S. Supreme
Court has held that fair use provides the necessary breathing room to
prevent a conflict between copyright and the guarantees of freedom of
expression under the First Amendment. Although the Constitution
mandates that copyrighted works pass into the public domain, the DMCA
has outlawed all tools necessary to gain access to the works, even
after those works rightfully belong to the public. Technology permits
publishers to restrict access to and control the use of copyrighted
works in ways that dangerously exceed the bounds of copyright,
encroaching upon the public's rights to use and access knowledge.
While copyright holders are not accountable for the manner in which
they release a work, the people must be permitted to take necessary
steps in order to exercise their rights under the law. Jailing Dmitry
Sklyarov strips people everywhere of that right and chills important
research. The DMCA must be reigned in to comport with the limits set
by the US Constitution.
When the DMCA was passing through Congress in 1998, the copyright
industry promised it was needed as a shield for protection. Now as
law, its used as a powerful sword to squelch speech and competition
and kill fair use. Congress never intended for the DMCA to destroy
fair use, in fact it expressly tried to protect it. As Attorney
General, we ask that you honor this intent and your obligation to
uphold the Constitution by dropping the charges against Dmitry
Sklyarov and allowing him to return home to his wife and two small
Electronic Frontier Foundation
- end -
Respected British Scientist Resigns from US-Based Conference-Planning Committee
Citing Fear of Prosecution under DMCA
UK scientist & programmer Alan Cox, a key member of the USENIX Annual
Linux Showcase (ALS) planning committee, has resigned in the wake of
the arrest of DEFCON presenter Dmitry Sklyarov and legal threats
against USENIX presenter Prof. Edward Felten & colleagues, under the
questionably-constitutional US "Digital Millennium Copyright Act"
(DMCA). Cox sent USENIX the following open letter of resignation:
I hereby tender my resignation to the USENIX ALS committee.
With the arrest of Dimitry Sklyarov it has become apparent that it
is not safe for non-US software engineers to visit the United
States. While he was undoubtedly chosen for political reasons as a
Russian it is a good example for the US public that the risk
extends arbitarily further.
USENIX by its choice of a US location is encouraging other
programmers, many from Eastern European states hated by the US
government, to take the same risks. That is something I cannot
morally be part of. Who will be the next conference speaker slammed
into a US jail for years for committing no crime? Are USENIX
prepared to take the chance it will be their speakers?
Until the DMCA mess is resolved I would urge all non-US citizens to
boycott conferences in the USA and all US conference bodies to hold
their conferences elsehere.
I appreciate that this problem is not of USENIX making, but it must
Similar resignations of non-US members of US conference- and other
event-planning bodies are increasing, with many more expected. It is
thus crystal clear that the DMCA is having one of the most palpable
"chilling effects" in American history on perfectly legal expression.
EFF remains very concerned about such "secondary effects" of this
legislation, and is committed to seeing it undone.
[Sources: Linux World News & NewsForge
- end -
Electronic Publishers Coalition Condemns Criminal Use of DMCA
In stark contrast to a trade association of offline publishers
(American Assocation of Publishers or AAP), the online e-Book industry
group Electronic Publishers Association (EPC) sharply attacks the
prosecution of Dmitry Sklyarov:
For Immediate Release
Connie Foster, eBooksonthe.net, email@example.com, +1
Jon Noring, Blue Glass Publishing, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1
Roger Sperberg, Watchung Plaza Books, email@example.com, +1
While all publishers are concerned about professional copyright
thieves, the Electronic Publishers Coalition condemns the use of the
criminal provisions of the DMCA against Dimitry Sklyarov, a Russian
programmer and cryptanalyst visiting the United States.
"Persecution of an individual shouldn't be any company's response to a
commercial disagreement, especially regarding copyright," Connie
Foster, the EPC executive director said Sunday.
"All members of the EPC -- not just a small portion of them as with
print-oriented groups like the AAP -- work with the Adobe and other
electronic formats to publish their e-books, and we recognize that the
same technology that benefits publishers with lower production and
distribution costs also aids copyright violators."
"We also recognize from our close experience working with electronic
books, that readers need and deserve greater leeway with the e-books
they purchase than the current limited DRM and security technology
provides," Foster stated. (Note: DRM -- for "Digital Rights
Management", a.k.a. copy prevention -- provides permissions control
with e-books, disallowing [or permitting] such things as copying text
to a computer's clipboard, printing of the content, and lending the
e-book to another computer's reading system.)
Foster continued, "In this case, readers' interests should be
paramount, and the leading e-book formats -- Adobe's among them --
slight them by making it impossible to open an e-book when upgrading
to a new computer or when suffering a number of all-too-common
computer woes, such as virus infection and hard-disk failure."
"At this point in e-books' development, we think it's just too early
for companies such as Adobe that have nascent content-delivery systems
to think they have solved all their problems and to resort to criminal
charges against a programmer who discovered and discussed serious
flaws in the program's security structure."
Foster went on to note: "Some people think Adobe has to pursue this
type of action to reassure publishers their content is safe. But what
publishers need to know is that Adobe understands the technology and
its current limits, and the problems with its own software, and that
it understands what our customers -- that is, readers-- need and what
the immature e-book industry needs in order to grow."
Sklyarov, a graduate student at Bauman Moscow State Technical
University, reported at a Las Vegas conference on his research on
e-book security performed for his dissertation. His research was later
incorporated into a permissions-removal program called Advanced E-book
Processor, or AEBPR, by ElcomSoft, a Russian software company that now
employs him. The program apparently sold fewer than ten copies before
being pulled from the market at Adobe's insistence. It had not been
available commercially for more than two weeks before Sklyarov's visit
AEBPR allows users to make backups of legally purchased Adobe eBooks
that ignore the eBooks' restrictions on copying, printing and lending,
if any, and permit the eBook to be read on a replacement copy of Adobe
eBook Reader if the initial installation no longer functions or if the
user upgrades to a new computer. It does not work with eBooks sold to
another user. Since under Russian law, such backups are mandatory for
data sellers, Adobe eBooks contravene the law and AEBPR is legal in
Russia, as well as in Germany and Scandinavia, and other countries.
Its use in the U.S. is not permitted under the DMCA, the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act.
The Electronic Publishers Coalition was founded by a group of
publishers committed to furthering the growth of the e-book community.
It is the largest trade association of electronic publishers in the
world. A primary role of the EPC is to follow through on its
commitment to develop a healthy marketplace for digital content as
well as to take a leadership role in setting minimum standards in
order to encourage quality within our industry. The EPC is located on
the web at:
By way of contrast: Association of American Publishers (AAP) statement
condoning the vindictive arrest and prosecution of an innocent
- end -
Linux Community Joint Statement Against DMCA:
Digital Millennium Copyright Act Threatens Researchers
Free Speech, Free Sklyarov
A Community Declaration:
Dmitry Sklyarov, a Russian academic, has been imprisoned after
presenting a scientific paper at the DEF CON computer security
conference. His talk covered the restriction mechanisms used to
prevent people from reading electronic books. He was formally charged
with distributing software that could be used to circumvent copy
[See press coverage]
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act attacks freedom of speech and
assembly and damages the economic health of the United States.
Sklyarov was arrested by the FBI outside his hotel as he prepared to
go to the airport. The arrest was instigated by Adobe Systems
It is ironic that a Russian national is being held without bail in the
US for what is essentially a thoughtcrime. Through the passage of the
DMCA we have criminalized speech and scientific research about the
structure of computer programs as well as other simple acts such as
reading of books and other media.
The DMCA goes far beyond the need to protect from illegal copies of
books and other media. Since it criminalizes not only the act of
copying but even development and possession of programs which are
capable of reading these media for legitimate use. For example, the
DMCA criminalizes used book stores, in that the DMCA helps publishers
lock up books so tight that the electronic analog of a used book store
would be impossible.
This is not the first time that DMCA has been used as a weapon against
legitimate scientific research. The Electronic Frontier Foundation has
brought suit on behalf of USENIX and Princeton Professor Edward Felten
after the Professor and his research team were threatened with DMCA
prosecution by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).
This threat was delivered after it became known that Professor Felten
was presenting a paper showing the insecurity of a method of
protecting music, just as Sklyarov was arrested after presenting a
similar paper about electronic books.
The DMCA, in spite of its supposed exception, punishes reverse
engineering. Bans on reverse engineering in the 70s would have made
the PC revolution (and companies like Compaq, Phoenix and Dell)
The extremism of the DMCA provisions prohibiting research, development
and publication of tools for distributing and displaying copyrighted
works must be eliminated. These provisions drop an Iron Curtain on the
United States of America. It should never be illegal to make or
discuss such tools.
Noted Signatories (see Other Signatories page:
Larry Augustin - CEO and Chairman, VA Linux Systems
Jeff Bates - Executive Editor, Slashdot.org
Brian Behlendorf - President, Apache Software Foundation, CTO
Chris DiBona - Grant Chair, Linux International
Miguel Di Icaza - Co-Founder and CTO, Ximian Inc.
Nat Friedman - Co-Founder and VP Product Development, Ximian Inc.
Marty Garbus - Attorney, Frankfurt, Garbus, Kurnit, Klein & Selz,
Jon "Maddog" Hall - Executive Director, Linux International
Ed Hernstadt - Attorney, Frankfurt, Garbus, Kurnit, Klein & Selz,
Rob Malda - Founder and Editor, Slashdot.org
Don Marti - Technical Editor, Linux Journal
Bruce Perens - Primary Author, "The Open Source Definition"
Eric S. Raymond - President, Open Source Initiative
Lawrence Rosen - Attorney, Rosenlaw.com and Executive Director,
Open Source Initiative
David Sifry - Co-Founder, LinuxCare, Inc.
Shari Steele - Executive Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation
Brad Templeton - Chairman of the BoardElectronic Frontier
Linus Torvalds - Lead Kernel Developer, Linux
Art F. Tyde - CEO, Linuxcare
Bob Young - Co-Founder and Chairman, Red Hat, Inc.
Care to join them?
Sign your name to this declaration as well:
Don Marti firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric S. Raymond email@example.com
Bruce Perens firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris DiBona email@example.com
Please note that all of the Press Contacts will be available for
discussion at the O'Reilly Open Source Conference the week of the 22nd
The EFF page on Sklyarov: http://www.eff.org/IP/DMCA/US_v_Sklyarov/
The EFF page on Edward Felten: http://www.eff.org/Legal/Cases/
The Free-Sklyarov Mailing list: http://zork.net/mailman/listinfo/
- end -
EFF's Music Share-In in Golden Gate Park
Supporting our Open Audio License
EFF Unplugged: Music Share-In
Saturday, September 8, 2001
Stanyan Meadow, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco (Corner of Haight
2 p.m. - 5 p.m.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) would like to invite you to
participate in an open air concert event for everyone who loves music.
EFF Unplugged will feature musicians from around the Bay Area
performing acoustically in Golden Gate Park. Artists participating in
this event will permit recording of their performances by those in
attendance in support of EFF's Open Audio License (OAL).
The OAL was developed to help artists share their work with others
without giving up the recognition they deserve for creating the art.
Based on the open source and free software initiatives for software
development, the open audio license encourages artists to share with
one another and their fans and to build upon the works of others.
Adoption of the OAL does not mean that an artist does not get
compensated for his or her work. On the contrary--the OAL permits
artists to share single tracks or performances, with recognition, that
could lead to sales of additional music. EFF is extremely sensitive to
supporting new models of music distribution in the digital world that
see more money going to the artists themselves. One of the great
qualities of the Internet is that packaging and distributing music,
which is where most of the money is currently spent by record
companies, is trivial. EFF is committed to developing tools that
empower artists to take control over their own art and to be
compensated appropriately for their works.
EFF believes that many of the laws and technologies being developed
today to protect intellectual property actually harm the public's
First Amendment and fair use rights and make criminals of people doing
perfectly legitimate things. We are striving to help artists realize
the full potential of the Internet for reaching their fans by
challenging restrictive laws in courtrooms and through public
education events, like this one.
In addition to several stages of acoustical music, the Share-In will
showcase numerous artist booths, where musicians can sell their music
and merchandise to the public. In addition, there will be booths
hosted by EFF and outside sponsors, including artists' rights
organizations and independent labels.
EFF is the leading civil liberties organization working to protect
rights in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages
and challenges everyone to support free expression, privacy, and
openness in the information society. EFF is a member-supported
organization and maintains one of the most linked-to websites in the
Information about EFF's Open Audio License is available at:
For more information about participating in EFF's Music Share-In,
Katina Bishop, EFF Director of Education and Offline Activism,
+1 415-436-9333 x101,
Join EFF in Fundraising Dinner with Ed Felten
Washington, D.C., Aug. 15.
Join the Electronic Frontier Foundation in celebration of the
presentation of Professor Ed Felten's Reading Between the Lines:
Lessons from the SDMI Challenge at the USENIX Security Symposium on
August 15th, 2001! Come and meet Professor Felten, his research team,
and legal team, and support EFF's legal battle to get this paper
presented. We will be dining at the prestigious Red Sage restaurant
after the panel discussion on SDMI/DMCA, which runs from 6:30 - 7:00
on the evening of August 15th.
The Red Sage is just around the block from the J.W. Marriott Hotel. We
will be gathering in the Continental room at 7:30, and dinner will
begin at 8:00.
Come support the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in defending our
rights to think, speak, and share our ideas, thoughts, and needs using
Based in San Francisco, EFF is a donor-supported membership
organization working to protect our fundamental rights regardless of
technology; to educate the press, policymakers and the general public
about civil liberties issues related to technology; and to act as a
defender of those liberties. Among our various activities, EFF opposes
misguided legislation, initiates and defends court cases preserving
individuals' rights, launches global public campaigns, introduces
leading edge proposals and papers, hosts frequent educational events,
engages the press regularly, and publishes a comprehensive archive of
digital civil liberties information at one of the most linked-to
websites in the world: http://www.eff.org.
There are only 50 spots, so sign up early! Contact Katie by email at
firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +1 415-436-9333 x104 to reserve a spot.
The price of admission to the celebration with the Electronic Frontier
Foundation, Ed Felten, his research team, and the legal team is $250,
which includes dinner and wine at the legendary Red Sage restaurant.
EFFector is published by:
The Electronic Frontier Foundation
454 Shotwell Street
San Francisco CA 94110-1914 USA
+1 415 436 9333 (voice)
+1 415 436 9993 (fax)
Katina Bishop, EFF Education & Offline Activism Director
Stanton McCandlish, EFF Technical Director/Webmaster
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