Dmitry Sklyarov: Adobe vs Elcomsoft

    I think Adobe is just making a stink here, but there will be no real consequences for the nice Russian man. The have to prove malicious intent and since his software can only be used with purchased versions of PDF for making backup files, I don't think he's done anything illegal. Of course most people on a jury won't understand any of this, so I guess he has a chance of doing some time.

    My comment (having just served on a jury):

    Most people on juries aren't idiots. Dmitry's arrest is political and a really stupid thing to do. In the United States, the DMCA was a political law enacted solely for the benefit of the large media companies who used Bill Clinton as their puppet. The concept of copyright exists to encourage creativity and growth. It was originally designed as a way to provide economic reward through exclusive right to reproduce. A critical aspect is the consumer has the right to make a copy. The DMCA removed this right. That, to me, makes the DMCA against our Constitution so it is illegal.

    It is very unfortunate for Dmitry that he is caught in the middle of this struggle. In America, the legality of a "law" is not established until it is challenged in court and compared to our Constitution. The DCMA will ultimately fail this test, there is no question about that. Frequently, legal "attacks" are used in this country when a business cannot compete.

    Adobe did make a very shrewd decision to go after a visiting Russian from a small company, though. That's a lot easier to do than to have an American teenager arrested. Maybe the FBI was trying to show they can actually do something about computer crime. Just yesterday the news reported the number of computers and weapons the FBI has lost. Your comment about letters of thanks from Microsquash and the FBI will be very helpful.

    Sometimes our government acts like a malicious, spoiled, brat. This seems like one of those times. They see what they want to see, not what really is. This was an incredibly stupid thing for the FBI to do. What will they do if your government uses this as an opportunity to show Russians have more civil freedoms (about this) than Americans do?

    There is already a massive effect on the computer security people. Part of computer security is knowing that anything can be cracked. Our media companies are trying to make it impossible to copy any product for any reason. They seem to have forgotten that copyright exists to encourage innovation and that it is a temporary right granted byt he citizens. (I sell industrial machines. A large number of my customers are numb because the market forces have changed so drastically in the last two years that they are not sure what to do. This whole incident with Dmitry is just a result of changing business realities combined with fear.) This could also be a wonderful opportunity for the DMCA to be smashed. Adobe must think their opponents are too small to meet the financial burden of a case. The American Civil Liberties Union is a very large cost-free group of lawyers who would probably love to take this case. The Electronic Frontier Foundation is another source for help. (The ACLU is HUGE here.) Perhaps you could forward that suggestion? At the same time, I understand Adobe's frustration with piracy of their products in Eastern Europe and Asia.

    Fred Thompson, private person

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