Dmitry Sklyarov is a young researcher and employee at Elcomsoft,
a Russian Software house. The Adobe e-book reader is a tool which supports e-book copy protection directives that publishers can issue, and attempts to prevent users from taking restricted e-books from e-book readers and printing them or viewing them on another machine. Sklyarov
developed (for Elcomsoft) the
Advanced e-book processor (AEBPR)
software package, which allows owners of e-books
to make backups or remove the copy protection
and move the works to another device.
It appears that
Russian fair use laws state that the owner of a work has the right to transfer it to other media (for their own use), and that it is illegal to sell works that are copy protected. The DMCA, which was passed by congress at the urging of the
entertainment industry and "content providers"
sufficient organized resistance
to prevent its passage. Among other things,
the DMCA prevents disclosure of techniques
for circumventing computer security systems,
and in particular digital rights management tools.
The saga of the entire case is too long to present here, however, there are some important
- Sklyarov spent time in jail before bail could
be arranged, and was detained in the
U.S. until December in 2001
when a deal was made to drop the charges against
Sklyarov in exchange for a promise to testify at
the trial involving his employer, Elcomsoft.
- Sklyarov's employer, Elcomsoft, and
Vladimir Katalov seem to have been supportive of
Sklyarov. Unfortunately, these protracted legal
proceedings have cost Elcomsoft (and presumably Sklyarov) substantial money and time.
Adobe brought Elcomsoft
to the government's attention, and
instigated the arrest. However, there was a
strong backlash in the research community to
the arrest, and Adobe tried to wash its hands of
the whole mess, and
refused to accept
responsibility for their actions
and did not aid in the expensive and
difficult defense of Sklyarov and Elcomsoft.
- The Immigration and naturalization service
denied Sklyarov a visa, and
prevented him from reentering the country for his original court date, causing a postponement of the trial
- Elcomsoft was found not guilty by the jury,
however the DMCA was not subject
to a constitutional challenge, and so the DMCA
remains on the books, as the precedent set is
foreman of the Jury seemed to understand the
idea of fair-use, and could not fathom why
Adobe's copy protection should enjoy legal