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Slashback: DCS 1000, Dmitry, Lizardry 137

Slashback tonight with updates on the long-absent Carnivore (which has so far failed to eat itself), David McOwen, Dmitry, and an alternative to the recently discussed Reptile.

Please let the shock penetrate the numbness. sethbc writes: "Well, it looks like the House has passed the DOJ Appropriations bill, giving the DOJ authority to use Carnivore for surveillance. The Tech Law Journal outlines the provisions for using Carnivore. I'm just glad I still have public key encryption."

Doesn't "DCS 1000" have sort of a nice homey ring to it? Maybe it reminds you of your Brother. Remember, encrypt your public key encryption software, and keep a copy with the other munitions.

That bandwidth rate is a little ... unusual. David's McOwen's case has raised quote a stir. If you missed word of this the first time, McOwen is being sued, and threatened with jail time, for installing the distributed.net client.

polymorf points to this article at Van's Hardware Journal, which features links to an online petition at petitiononline containing the comments of over 1800 people, and to relevant sites at tacube and freemcowen.

Cleverly disguise your hidden attraction to the DMCA. fenix down writes: "Lawrence Lessig has written an excellent op-ed piece in the NY Times (yeah, yeah, gotta register) on Dmitri Sklyarov and the DMCA. It nicely summarizes the problems with the DMCA as well as the Sklyarov and Felten cases. The dead-tree version gives me hope that this will be read. Big, eye-catching cartoon, center page, right under an article by Ehud Barak."

And since (despite? because of) all the attention he's gotten, Dmitry's wife's husband is still in jail, zlern writes: "Pictures from the protest to Free Dmitry in San Francisco today are available at sf.freesklyarov.org. Looks like about 150 people. Have you sent letters to your congresscritters yet?"

Stubborn contributor Chris DiBona contributes a link to an interesting DMCA resource, his DMCA Declaration, noting that it already has nearly 10,000 signatures, and that if people haven't signed up yet, they should as it becomes more useful the more people sign on.

Burning, Green -- fyuze or reptile? In response to the recent discussion of the Reptile content syndication system, ikarus-fallen writes:

"I was particularly intrigued by the post on the Reptile project today, because I run and develop a similar project, fyuze. The idea behind fyuze is similar to the idea behind Reptile: automate the process of retrieving, organizing and sifting through data. This eliminates the need to hop from site to site to collect information, and provides a certain level of convenience. Add in features that make it possible to have the system automatically scan for content that matches a particular criteria, along with the ability to search arbitrarily, and you've got a great way to collect all the news you want, and quickly find all the latest reviews for, say, 'Planet of the Apes.'

fyuze differs from Reptile significantly in that it is a web-based system, not a client P2P application, meaning there is no software to install, simply log on, create an account, and then re-logon from anywhere else. This means that (in the future) it will be possible to use fyuze via a cell phone, or PDA, or any other web enabled device, like the flat-screen mounted to your fridge.

To simply list a couple of features, fyuze allows users to add content/feeds to the system, it supports RDF/RSS as well as plain old HTML, it has a skinnable interface via CSS, it allows for real-time content collection and related intelligent caching mechanisms, and has an advanced (content can span multiple rows and columns) layout system.

The real-time collection mechanism allows for fyuze to retrieve user specific information from a site. This means that a weblog could provide a user with not only the latest posts, but also information on recent replies to that user's comments, status of pending posts, karma, etc.

fyuze is only about a month old, so you may find it's selection of content a little small, but many popular sites are available. Besides, users can add content, so if you run a site, add it!

For more info, it might be helpful to read the following k5 article: Quest for the Ultimate Homepage"

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: DCS 1000,

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Also:

    Username: slashdot_effect
    Password: slashdot

  • by Anonymous Coward
    McOwen is being sued, and threatened with jail time, for installing the distributed.net client

    The missing postscript is:

    ... without permission on a machine he did not own.

    Are the Editorial staff being deliberately disingenuous here? This is nothing like the case of Dmitry, but a casual reader would be forgiven for assuming it was.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:02PM (#2181627)
    username: slashdot2000i
    password: slashdot2000
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:35PM (#2181628)
    I remember when America was the home of the free, and Russia had the opressive laws.
  • Why would you possibly moderate this up? Somebody posted a name/pass in the first couple of comments, if you don't want to login you should use that. Rewarding people for copying and pasting is not what the karma system is about.

    Also, did you stop to think that maybe if the NYTimes gets enough hits on this article that they might want to do more stories about topics like this?
  • Be aware that Lessig is a member of the EFF board, so it's not like the New York Times decided to run an editorial -- Lessig submitted it as a "guest editorial". Probably the NYT editors aren't quite sure what Lessig is talking about but it's got something to do with 1st Amendment so they published it (reporters got this thing for 1st Amendment, y'know!).

    -E

  • by Eric Green ( 627 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @08:00PM (#2181631) Homepage
    President Shrub ("he ain't big enough to be a full-sized bush") is sending money that could be used to pay down the national debt around to people. He sent me $300. I just mailed a check for $300 to the EFF.

    Way I figure it, that money could be better used in the social security fund, but since Shrub doesn't want it there, I'm going to use it another way to protect my future.

    -E

  • In case you think I'm a karma whore, I'm not. I'd just put a link to the web site where I have this posted, but there's no way it will survive the /. effect, and I like my cable modem link as it is.

    I've given this idea to a number of people before now, with limited response. Time to bring out the big guns and see what you /. ers think.
  • by Enry ( 630 ) <enryNO@SPAMwayga.net> on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:08PM (#2181633) Journal
    The Problem

    The MPAA, RIAA, and closed source software houses have their customers over a barrel. For many of us, going to the movies, buying or renting a DVD, getting a CD from your favorite band, or buying a computer game is a way of getting a source of entertaiment. Unfortunately, purchasing these products gives companies [mpaa.org] the ammunition they use to pass laws such as the DMCA [anti-dmca.org]. These companies [adobe.com] can then use these laws to beat us (the consumers) over the head [freeskylarov.org]. Why do we let them continue? What can we, as consumers, do to keep our money from being used against us?

    The Solution

    A possible solution is something you can do every day, starting right now. Every DVD you buy, every game you purchase, every visit to a movie theater, every CD you buy, add $5 to the cost. In many cases, this amounts to between 10% (a $50 game) to 50% ($9.99 DVD) of the cost of the item you purchases. Given the way prices work, the original price from the manufacturer is about 50% of the price you pay, so a $50 game is sold initially for about $25. Once you pay licenses, royalties, production, etc. there probably is not much left over that goes to lobbyists or legal. Thus, you are giving a larger amount of money to defeat these laws than you are "giving" to get them enacted.

    What do you do with that $5? Donate it to the organization of your choice. Currently, the Electronic Frontier Foundataion [eff.org]is in the forefront of these kinds of issues, but you can choose whomever you like.

    What good will your $5 do? Simply put, the EFF needs money. Money to pay for lawyers, money to educate people why these laws are wrong, money to defend those accused of crimes that violate the first amendment of the US Constitution. Since it is effectively increasing the cost of DVDs, CDs, etc., it will also make you think twice about your entertainment choices and maybe even save you money over the long run.

    Okay, I have $5. Now what? Save it up. Make a notation somewhere. At the end of the month, end of the quarter, whenever, add up the notations and send the appropriate amount of money to the organization [eff.org] of your choice. In many cases, the money you send is tax-deductible (consult your accontant blah blah)

    e-mail me for more information
  • I'm not questioning his qualifications as majority leader. I'm only pointing out how even though South Dakota has merely a population of 754,844 [fairus.org], it is a senator from South Dakota who is setting the agenda for the entire United States (population 272,691,000 [prb.org]).


    The same is true in the House, though to a lesser extent. Missouri and Michigan don't have the biggest populations (California, New York, Texas, Illinois, etc.), and yet those are the states where the chief Democratic leaders (Gephardt and Bonior) are from. The House is supposed to allocate influence and power according to population, and yet it is instead being allocated according to other factors such as seniority.

  • by alewando ( 854 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:11PM (#2181635)
    The thing about congressional petitions is, they work if you pick the district of an important-enough congressman to target, especially if his seat isn't contested one and he has more leeway than others to take on new initiatives.

    The nature of federal districting is that, while states with small populations have few seats in the House, the ratio of citizens/congressman in those states is larger than in others. But while the populations may be small, the political clout wielded by that congressman may be disproportionately large. Daschle is a bad example since he's a Senator, but it's not an anomoly that a politician from South Dakota can end up running the show.

    All it takes is one congressman championing your cause, and you have your foot in the door. The nature of partisan horsetrading is that a single politician can get his hobbyhorse enacted in order to win his vote on other issues. Exon's Communications Decency Act didn't have broad political support, but it got inserted into the Telecommuinications Act of 1996 all the same, as part of such a deal. It's all the easier when the cause is one that has vocal public support and few proponents except among enforcement agencies. They listen to enforcement agencies, but they're elected by the people, so when push comes to shove, politicians will surprisingly side with the latter more than you'd think.
  • The whole 2 Senators from a state, and House members based on population is a throw back to the old Big State vs. Small State battles as the US Consitution was written.

    The fact that a South Dakota member of the Senate can become Senate Majority leader shows that the system works the way it was intended.

    Senate and House leaders are elected by thier peers for thier post, except for President Pro Tempe of the Senate, which is based on senority.

    I think...It's been 10 years since H.S. Government class.
  • It may be best in the long run, for 'merkins anyway, if Dmitri Sklyarov stays in jail and this mess does go to trial. This may offer a pretty good chance of getting the DMCA struck down.

    Sucks for Dmitri, though.

    It's a bit of a dilemma, f'shure. When it comes to trial, the outrage that (I hope) should result from detaining a foriegn citizen over something not done on American soil could go a long way in pointing out how the DMCA lends itself to abuse.

    Helps the trial. Sucks for Dmitri.

    Frankly, I'm (once again) embarassed by my (so-called) representative government.

  • Is there a fund to support Sklyarov's family? Personally I would be happy to contribute to it - life in Russia is hard enough without having one of the family wage-earners in jail.

  • Making it a crime to crack that technology [...] is to delegate lawmaking to code writers.

    This is one of the most crucial points to make. The DMCA doesn't just make new (more restrictive) rules on what uses of copyrighted material are legal -- it delegates the ability to make such rules to the publishers. By criminalizing circumvention of access controls, it gives the force of law to whatever restrictions the publisher sees fit to put in place. In effect, it gives the publisher legislative power -- the ability to decide what is or isn't legal. Making corporations part of the government hardly seems appropriate.

    Two other important points about the DMCA as I understand it: one is that, while it does make an exception for "fair use", that applies only to the circumvention clause, not the distribution-of-circumvention-devices one. The problem is that, since breaking an access control is beyond the abilities of all but a very few people, the effect is the same. Also, the fact that it talks about measures that "control access", instead of "prevent copying", allows the restrictions to extend into every aspect of the manner in which one enjoys the product -- what kind of stereo, CD/DVD player, or TV set you can use to play it, where you can do so, what parts you can fast-forward through, etc., which has nothing to do with copying, but does create new revenue opportunities for publishers.

    Here's a new one: suppose a publisher wanted to make a book that I could only read while sitting in an armchair, not while lying in bed -- say they print it on some special high-tech paper that would turn dark when held at an upright angle. They might want to charge me extra for the ability to read in bed, or they might for some unfathomable reason simply want to insist that I can only read the book while sitting up. The DMCA would give even this the force of law! I would not be allowed to cicumvent it -- or rather, I could, but then I would not be allowed to tell anyone else how I did it, and if it was so difficult that only a handful of people could do it, then the rest of us would be bound by it. How can this be?

    David Gould
  • As an aside, the recent protests did actually make it on the news in some places, and I think this article in the Times is a reflection of that. This is almost simple enough for average people to understand, if not care about.

  • and this was not a staged protest. Get they guy out of jail and let him go home. If this was going to be staged, Prof. F would have been a better choice but HE was too smart to get involved on the criminal side. I am sorely embarassed for the way our Government has treated Dmitry. This is what I would expect from China, not the 'so-called' Land of the Free, more to the point these days, Land of the Hypocrites :(
  • "The point is, you don't HAVE to protect yourself from honest people. Honest people aren't going to steal from you"
    Oh? How many people downloaded mp3s? How many of those were honest? A little protection should always be used, if only to err on the side of caution. -- Dan

    Interesting point; judging from the context you're qouting, you're assuming here that most people are honest. (maybe we need to fight over the definition of "honesty") But, IMHO most people are willing to break an abstract law if there's little chance it's their ass on the line. Witness the mentality of your average speeder. Or looters. If everybody's stealing shit they probably won't be caught.

    (No I don't want to debate whether mp3s should be freely downloadable or not, it's quite separate to the point I'm trying to make)

  • Sure, most people speed, and most people break copyright laws, but they're both harmless. Looting and stealing, on the other hand, isn't, and honest people don't do that.

    You're categorizing "honest" people based on harmfulness. Which is fine per se, I was just categorizing based on integrity.

    (rant) In fact, since I have karma to burn, I will hypothesize that the thought process that goes on in a looter's mind is not much different than that which happens in that of your **typical** mp3 downloader. (blatant stereotyping ahead) .. "What I want right now is easy and convenient. I have little chance of being caught. It might be vaguely wrong but (in the looter's case) insurance will pay for it. Since in theory a faceless corporation suffers (not really) and perhaps because it is vaguely wrong, I get a small feeling of sticking it to The Man even though I'm actually just leeching." (/rant)

    By my definition of "honest people", most people aren't honest. (I'm not.) They're not even being honest with themselves.

    p.s. no, speeding does not nescessarily make you dishonest. If you believe there is nothing wrong with speeding, then you're being honest. It's not about the act; it's about how you act based on your perceptions.

  • Hey, you violated the DMCA. I tried to view this article without the proper username & passwd and failed. You circumvented that security system. Go directly to jail.

    t.

    PS: say hi to Dmitry for me.

  • 1) Lessig never states that the US is alone in having this sort of law. In the 7th paragraph of the article he states that "America is essentially alone..."

    2) A quick scan of some mass media news sites (USA Today, CNN, the BBC, ABC News and Fox News) confirms this, it isn't mentioned at all. Although Fox News and the BBC each get partial credit for a story on the Scarfo case (the keyboard tap and search warrant thing).

    3) A Supreme Court decision would be best, but a lower court victory would indicate that there's something so very wrong with the DMCA that even a lower court can articulate the problems.

    4) Most of us do.

  • Among the sad parts about many of the B&E cases is use of poor locks. Adobe used a horribly weak door/lock in their main offices. If companies really wanted to protect their files, they should use stronger locks that are difficult to pick. By using cheap locks, they are practically asking for people to break into their offices so they can slap that person (or persons) with criminal charges and civil suits.

    Whatever.
  • by cyberwench ( 10225 ) <tunalei@gmail.com> on Monday July 30, 2001 @04:55PM (#2181647)
    "Well, it looks like the House has passed the DOJ Appropriations bill, giving the DOJ authority to use Carnivore for surveillance."

    Unless I'm completely mistaken, part of the point about Carnivore getting overt funding was that they would now have to do detailed reports to the House Judiciary Committee on pretty much everything having to do with how the program gets used. While I agree that Carnivore itself sucks, at least this may mean that it isn't used as frequently and they do have to report to someone outside their own agency. Looked like fairly decent reporting too...here's the breakdown if you haven't checked the link:

    Carnivore. The bill provides, at Section 306, that the DOJ must provide detailed reports to the Congress regarding its use of the Internet surveillance systems known as both "Carnivore" and "DCS 1000". The bill requires that for FY 2001 and FY 2002 "the Attorney General and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation shall provide to the Judiciary Committees of the House of Representatives and Senate a report detailing --

    (1) the number of times DCS 1000 was used for surveillance during the preceding fiscal year;
    (2) the Department of Justice official or officials who approved each use of DCS 1000;
    (3) the criteria used by the Department of Justice officials to review requests to use of DCS 1000;
    (4) a complete description of the process used to submit, review, and approve requests to use DCS 1000;
    (5) the specific statutory authority relied on to use DCS 1000;
    (6) the court that authorized each use of DCS 1000;
    (7) the number of orders, warrants, or subpoenas applied for, to authorize the use of DCS 1000;
    (8) the fact that the order, warrant, or subpoena was granted as applied for, was modified, or was denied;
    (9) the offense specified in the order, warrant, subpoena, or application; and
    (10) the nature of the facilities from which, or the place where the contents of, electronic communications were to be disclosed."

    I guess it at least makes me feel a little better that they have to report their use instead of just using it surreptitiously. Then again, I could be totally off base... I haven't followed previous Carnivore stories, so I don't know when, if or how it's been used so far.

  • What does the EFF do that could be construed as bribery?

    I read the 'plutocrats' comment not as an indictment of the EFF, but rather of The System and as an acknowledgement that when major industries start buying laws, the most effective way to counter them is to throw some money at the lawmakers yourself. (Not necessarily the best way, mind you. Just the most effective.)

  • If he changes it, then that invalidates all previously collected signatures.

    Of course, this assumes that he resides in a non-UCITA state. Who knows what it means in Virginia.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
  • > So I propose that the US and Russia have a good, old fashioned, prisoner exchange.

    Yeah, I can't help but think that, at least in some sense, Dmitry is just a pawn in the neo- cold war.

    --

  • Yeah, poor girl, both of her husbands are in jail!

    --
  • > Among the sad parts about many of the DMCA cases is use of poor protection schemes.

    The companies probably find weak schemes more useful. At least weak encryption lets them get people thrown in jail.

    Meanwhile, Taiwan is spewing a steady stream of bootlegs, and the companies can't do a darn thing about it. If they started using strong encryption, they wouldn't even have the satisfaction of seeing someone slammed in the pokey now and then.

    --
  • Better analogy: I live in the UK. I wrote to my MP about Dmitry and said that if his arrest is valid then we should be arresting all handgun owning Americans as they get off the plane. :-)
  • by ttyRazor ( 20815 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @05:49PM (#2181654)
    I for one am glad that so far most schemes have been so weak. I consider the whole scheme of needing "permission" from a machine to do what I will with my media extremely distasteful. If I have some new gadget that is entirely capable of playing a song I legally aquired then I should have every right to do that. Unfortunately, the difference between a second device I own and a device someone else owns is indistinguishable without some equally distasteful Orwellian technology.

    I think there is a fundamental flaw in the idea of using encryption to publish things anyway. Encryption is a method of making a pattern of data a "secret". Once the data is decrypted, that layer of protection is removed and the only thing keeping the data secret is the discretion of the recipient. This may work when the two people involved mutually trust each other to keep the data secret, but unfortunately many people are even aware of a copyright holder's rights to be the sole source of reproduction and Napster and the issues surrounding it have made file sharing into a prepetual Boston Tea Party. Nearly all recipients in this scheme are untrustworthy of keeping anything from the publisher secret, whether out of ignorance or spite.

    Ultimately, it's like trying to privately tell something (the same thing) to a significant proportion of the country, announce to the world that you're telling these people that secret, and expecting them not to tell the rest. Its human nature to want to share a cultural experience with others; it establishes a common frame of reference, and telling another to "buy your own" rather than giving them a copy (assuming they are not present to veiw it on your won equipment) is not a very nice way to establish that cultural bond.

    Ok, enough pointless ranting for one night.
  • For me, I found it was simpler just to send $100 to the EFF.
  • by Levine ( 22596 ) <levineNO@SPAMgoatse.cx> on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:48PM (#2181656) Homepage
    All of your reasons are good ones, but to the best of my knowledge the EFF and protesters aren't trying to turn Dmitry into a "poster-boy". As you suggest, they're trying very hard to get him released so he can go home, and at the moment the best way to go about that is to bring to light the inherent flaws in the DMCA. If Dmitry was a poster-boy, the protesters wouldn't be carrying signs saying "Free Dmitry" and citing the DMCA as the reason he's unjustly imprisoned, they'd be carrying signs that say "Repeal the DMCA" and citing Dmitry as a reason it's unjust.

    Cheers,
    levine
  • What I find interesting here is that not only is this just one big blatant Copyright violation. It is also an example of one of the main arguments for such laws as the DMCA, to prevent people from just blatantly making exact digital copies of things. (Although, I'd doubt that this is any more than a violation of copyright law since there were no protections against copying.) As an AC then, it appears that you are contributing to the argument towards such horrendus laws like the DMCA. Of course I also find it ammusing that this post ended up with a +5 rating. ;-)
  • Yo, it __IS__ a representative government, much as it doesn't represent what you want. There were apparently enough morons out there to vote other morons into office, who, in keeping with their moronhood, voted FOR the DMCA.

    SO VOTE FOR NEW REPS FOR FUCK'S SAKE!!

    (www.lp.org)

  • It is also an example of one of the main arguments for such laws as the DMCA, to prevent people from just blatantly making exact digital copies of things.

    That's almost correct, but not quite. The DMCA is designed to counter casual copying, not blatant copying. Certain countries are known as blatant copyright violators, but the DMCA does nothing to prevent them from continuing in this practice. Blatant violations-- such as the post in question-- are, and in most cases probably should, be illegal, even without DMCA.

    Instead, the DMCA is intended to prevent you from making a copy of a cd (or whatever) that you own, even though the right to copy your own media is legally protected under several different laws (fair use, timeshifting)(though you obviously cannot distribute, loan, etc, your copy). The DMCA is, pure and simple, a way to force the average consumer to buy multiple copies of a CD, etc. It has basically no other practical value, and it does nothing to prevent organized piracy.
  • He tried to distribute and sell a circumvention device at a convention in the United States of America.

    No, he didn't. He wrote an algorithm that was used in a program published by his employer. This is like putting my (imaginary) friend Joe in jail since he was involved in writing Windows 95.

    Also remember that the program is legal in Russia, and most of the rest of the world. Think of it this way. We have put him in jail for doing something, in his country, what is legal, again in his country. Next, we'll start fining German tourists for speeding, even though the actual infraction happened when they were still in Germany. Or to take it a step further, say you're a German citizen, driving (legally) at 100MPH, and you are in an accident involving an American. You live, the American dies. Based on our current path, you better not ever set foot in America. You'll probably be placed on trial for vehicular manslaughter, even though you did not break any laws in your country.

    (BTW, I agree with you point, but it's important to keep these distinctions clear.)
  • Artistic license. Technically, an optimizing "English compiler" would change "Dimitry's wife's husband" to just "Dimitry", and it would be just the same thing. The people on slashdot mostly analyze everything technically. But this is not the same as seeing "if (!(!(i==3)))" in source code .. this is something that is meant to be read by people, and as such, "Dimitry's wife's husband" not only provides additional information that would otherwise not be conveyed (i.e. he is married), but in the context of human emotions and compassion, that extra information also helps readers to realise that this is just another regular human like them, and that he also has loved ones that will be feeling pain now. So it evokes more empathy and/or sympathy and compassion than just (for example) "a Russian hacker", which is a very anonymous term.

    Stop thinking so technically .. the human brain isn't a compiler, human behaviour and reasoning involve many fuzzy, illogical constructs.

    -----

  • I heard a saying once, "Locks are made to keep honest people out".

    Wasn't that more like, "Locks are made to keep honest people honest"?

    The message therein is that if you use locks, only the people who REALLY want to get in will try to, and prevent 'casual passersby' from trying. A padlock is like weak encryption, if someone really wants to get in, they'll get in, but people who are not that serious won't bother to try. If you don't encrypt at all though, many of those same people would then try to eavesdrop, even if just out of curiosity - same as for padlocks, curious passersby will wonder "whats behind this gate?" if there is no padlock on it.

    Its not a 'black-and-white' thing. People often make the argument "if someone really wants to crack this, they'll crack this, so why bother even trying to protect this software" (some people I work with :(). That annoys me. Its not binary (yes/no, black/white) - the number of people who will crack something follow a non-linear curve based on how much protection you put in. E.g., if you have say no protection, you'll have say 70% cracking. With 10% encryption, that'll drop automatically to say 35%. With 20% protection, it'll drop to say 17%. With 50% protection, it'll be around 2%. These figures are obviously just example figures .. but thats the idea. You can, of course, never reach 100% protection of anything (because as you say if someone really wants to get into something, they will), but if you have 95% protection, then you'll only have to worry about 0.01% of people, instead of 70%. I agree with you though, if you're going to encrypt, use strong encryption.

    -----

  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @04:30PM (#2181663) Homepage
    Just an interesting thought about making criminal the activity of reverse engineering.

    I heard a saying once, "Locks are made to keep honest people out". The point here is that if I INSIST on getting in, the lock won't stop me.

    The encryption algorithm used is the lock. The law "protects" me against a criminal by making it a crime to break and enter. I can put a $200000 quaduple deadbolt with solid steel reinforement, 20 armed guards, and an alarm system in place if I want to keep people out, or I can buy the cheap $20 padlock that can easily be cut by a bolt cutter. The crime to break in is the same. However, one of these methods is likely to stop that person from breaking in.

    A weak encryption scheme is the same as using a cereal box lock as your sole form of protection. Granted, I'll have to break it to get in, and yes, I'll still be as criminally responsible if I do, but you made it extremely easy for me. The point is, you don't HAVE to protect yourself from honest people. Honest people aren't going to steal from you.

    Those that WILL steal from you won't be stopped by something as trivial as a plastic lock. You're going to have to put something strong and solid there. You're going to have to PREVENT them from breaking in. And no law is going to do that, only something that is solid and unbreakable will.

    If I decide to go around taking apart locks to see which ones I'll be able to break into, I should have that right, because a lock is only SECURE if I'm able to take it apart and still not know how to break it. Encryption is the same.

    -Restil
  • by Racher ( 34432 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:07PM (#2181664)
    Man, now using that form of grammar in the NYTimes would grab any english major's attention. It had me thinking for a second, or thirty...

    ...and I'm not sure we should trust this Kyle Sagan either.
  • If he is indicted for creating a tool, that activity was not done on US soil and US courts have no jurisdiction over it. On the other hand, if he is indicted for what he said at the convention, then it is a clear 1st Amendment case

    He was indicted for neither of those violations of the DMCA. What he did that got him in hot water was try to sell and distribute a circumvention device in the US. If he hadn't been selling or distributing anything, he'd probably not be in any trouble, or at least not as much.
  • What did he do and where did he do it?
    Was that illegal? Do the laws of the U.S.A. apply there?


    He tried to distribute and sell a circumvention device at a convention in the United States of America. Selling or distributing circumvention devices is illegal under the DMCA. It's irrelevant where he wrote it because he tried to distribute it in the US. Yes, federal laws of the United States apply in the United States. I made this all clear in my original post.

    "First, they came for the 'evil Russian hackers'... but I wasn't an evil Russian hacker... so.. "

    Again, you misunderstand me. I'm all for freeing Dmitri. I'm just very leery of turning him into a posterboy. You're right that Adobe picked the battleground, and, while we let them do that, we're at the disadvantage. I realize that most people here are just trying to get him free, but there's a very real danger that this could turn into an anti-DMCA crusade that forgets about poor Skylarov while he rots in prison. That's what I'm worried about.
  • by tbo ( 35008 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:26PM (#2181667) Journal
    I've been wondering about this for a while, so I'm going to ask everyone (and nobody in particular): is Dmitry Skylarov a good choice as posterboy in the anti-DMCA fight? I'm beginning to think he's not, and here are my reasons, in no particular order:

    1) Dmitry is not American. Now, I'm not American either, so I'm not knocking non-US citizens, but keep in mind that it's the attention and votes of the American people that matter in fixing the DMCA. They're naturally going to be more concerned about fellow Americans than somebody from a country which was their mortal enemy a decade or so ago.

    2) Dmitry is a "hacker". I'm fully aware that this term is misused and twisted by the press, but it's still an issue we have to contend with. Dmitry is not some sweet old lady who could be your grandmother; he's a young guy with 'scary techie skills', and people will feel less sympathy for him because of that. Also, evil Russian Hacker has almost become a cliche, thanks to Hollywood and the rest of the media.

    3) Dmitry was trying to make a profit. He wasn't just giving a talk--he was trying to sell his software. The software circumvented Adobe's eBook content access control. Selling circumvention devices is clearly against the DMCA. People are not going to be very sympathetic to a guy arrested for trying to make a profit by breaking the law, even if it is a stupid law.

    4) Dmitry just wants to go home. I bet the poor guy really misses his family, doesn't give a shit about messed-up American laws, and just wants to be back on Russian soil. Is it really right for us to politicize his imprisonment if it's not the best thing for him? Sure, we should be trying to get him free, but, by turning this into war-on-DMCA, we guarantee that what might have otherwise been a low-profile case that quietly got dismissed becomes a landmark legal battle that could drag on for years.

    What we really need is for an average Joe to get busted doing something that's clearly right, even if it is illegal under DMCA. Then we'll be able to prove how absurd and dangerous the law is to average Americans. By using Dmitry, we hurt his chances of going home, and we risk losing and setting a bad precedent. We must pick our battles carefully.

    That is my humble opinion, folks...
  • Because when you get down to it, that's really all those companies care about - their bottom line, not benefiting the consumer. Serving the consumer is just one of their means to the end of making money.
  • owever, the crime occurred in the Soviet Union, not in the United States.

    'bout ten years late. The crime ocurred in Russia, not the Soviet Union.

    ----
  • He tried to distribute and sell a circumvention device at a convention in the United States of America.

    No, as I understand it he didn't. The comapny which employed him did, but that's a very different thing. Furthermore, the principal of the company was present at the conference. There'd be some logic in arresting the principal, none in aresting a mere employee.

  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <tms.infamous@net> on Monday July 30, 2001 @05:32PM (#2181671) Homepage
    By that logic, a compiler violates DMCA.

    Yep. Which is why RMS's short-short story "The Right to Read" [gnu.org] projects a world where operating systems and development software are tightly controlled by the state, only available to licenced and bonded programmers.

    When I first saw that story a few years ago, I though that was a crazy, way-out idea. Now, it's a clear extrapolation of present trends.

    Tom Swiss | the infamous tms | http://www.infamous.net/

  • WTF? The article was posted in the context of a discussion on the issues. Nobody is making money (well, erm, perhaps Slashdot...uh?), and nobody is claiming credit for the article. How many of you cut out articles and put them in your cubicles?

    I'm sure Larry Lessig doesn't give a fuck if we copy his articles verbatim. In fact, he probably would like us to to spread awareness (and to get more people to buy his books?). Sheesh, don't cave to the thought police.
  • uhm, that's really not complicated at all, and it stresses the fact that this is not some wacko living in a gutter; it's someone who did something that was legal yesterday who is taken away from his family.
  • Does anyone here remember General Manuel Antonio Noriega... President of Panama c1989.

    Now tell me that America's courts will not allow someone who committed crimes outside the US to be tried, found guilty, and imprisoned in the US.

    Just my £0.02 worth.

  • by sometwo ( 53041 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @04:34PM (#2181675)
    I read a disheartening story [nytimes.com] yesterday in the NY Times Magazine about an American John Tobin who is being (wrongly) held as a spy in Russia. It is weird because he has been held for months and I have heard nothing about him.

    So I propose that the US and Russia have a good, old fashioned, prisoner exchange. Current coverage [nytimes.com] is also available from the NY Times.

  • A couple of points:

    1) Mr. Lessig is a lawyer, so I assume he has read up on this stuff, but his claims that the US were alone in having DCMA laws suprised me. I was under the impression that europe was in fact drafting even more sweeping ones?

    2) What outrage? This trial will never make to the front page, much less the evening news. The concepts are too abstract for your average joe to grasp in the 10 seconds attention span he/the newscasters will alot to the news item.

    3) The only hope is (erm, I THINK this is the process, but std discl) is that he is convicted, and the appeal makes it all the way up to the supreme court which can then strike the law down as unconstitional. However, you'll recall that Dubya is appointing a couple of supreme judges this term, and we can expect that Big Business will bend the ear of the administration, so I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the supremes to be agree with techolibertarians like us.

    4) I would LOVE to be proved wrong, but ... oink flap oink flap.
  • No no no... You got it all wrong. You're supposed to install Carnivore on distributed.net. At least then, the FBI could get keystrokes and traffic, and only need one search warrant [slashdot.org] to retrieve the information.
  • I thought you already knew that's where the tax refund was coming from... Guess not everyone's in the know on it.
  • by zlern ( 68543 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:44PM (#2181679)
    You don't have to thwart the NY Times in order to read Lessig's editorial, "Jail Time in the Digital Age". It is posted at the EFF's site [eff.org] as well.

    As Lessig says, "Something is going terribly wrong with copyright law in America."

  • I'd be a lot more likely to sign that declaration if there weren't myriad grammatical mistakes in it. Did no one proof it? Did the 9000+ signatories read it thoroughly? :-b

    [TMB]
  • by mduell ( 72367 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:10PM (#2181681)
    Jail Time in the Digital Age

    By LAWRENCE LESSIG

    STANFORD, Calif.

    Dmitri Sklyarov is a Russian programmer who, until recently, lived and worked in Moscow. He wrote a program that was legal in Russia, and in most of the world, a program his employer, ElcomSoft, then sold on the Internet. Adobe Corporation bought a copy and complained to the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the program violated American law and that, by the way, Mr. Sklyarov was about to give a lecture in Las Vegas describing the weaknesses in Adobe's electronic book software. Two weeks ago, the F.B.I. arrested Mr. Sklyarov. He still sits in a Las Vegas jail.

    Something is going terribly wrong with copyright law in America. Mr. Sklyarov himself did not violate any law, and his employer did not violate anyone's copyright. What his program did was to enable the user of an Adobe eBook Reader to disable restrictions that the publisher of a particular electronic book formatted for Adobe's reader might have imposed. Adobe's eBook Reader, for example, has a read-aloud function. With it, the computer will read out loud an appropriately formatted eBook text. A publisher can disable that function for a particular eBook. Mr. Sklyarov's program would enable the purchaser of such a disabled eBook to overcome the restriction. A blind person, for example, could use ElcomSoft's program to listen to a book.

    The problem from Adobe's perspective, however, is that the same software could enable a pirate to copy an electronic book otherwise readable only with Adobe's reader technology -- then sell that copy to others without the publisher's permission. That would be a copyright violation, and it is that possibility that led Congress to enact the statute that has now landed Mr. Sklyarov in jail -- the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

    The D.M.C.A. outlaws technologies designed to circumvent other technologies that protect copyrighted material. It is law protecting software code protecting copyright. The trouble, however, is that technologies that protect copyrighted material are never as subtle as the law of copyright. Copyright law permits fair use of copyrighted material; technologies that protect copyrighted material need not. Copyright law protects for a limited time; technologies have no such limit.

    Thus when the D.M.C.A. protects technology that in turn protects copyrighted material, it often protects much more broadly than copyright law does. It makes criminal what copyright law would forgive.

    Using software code to enforce law is controversial enough. Making it a crime to crack that technology, whether or not the use of that ability would be a copyright violation, is to delegate lawmaking to code writers. Yet that is precisely what the D.M.C.A. does. The relevant protection for copyrighted material becomes as the technology says, not as copyright law requires.

    America is essentially alone in this strategy of techno-lawmaking. Most nations in the world -- including, importantly for Mr. Sklyarov, Russia -- regulate copyright violations through copyright law, not through laws aimed at code writers. But what the Sklyarov case means is that this controversial experiment in the United States now essentially regulates the world. If you produce and distribute code that cracks technological protection systems, and that code can be accessed in the United States, then it's just a matter of time before our F.B.I. comes knocking at your door.

    This is bad law and bad policy. It not only interferes with the legitimate use of copyrighted material, it undermines security more generally. Research into security and encryption depends upon the right to crack and report. Only if weaknesses can be discovered and described openly will they be fixed.

    Increasingly, in the United States, this freedom has been lost. In April, for example, Edward Felten, a Princeton professor and encryption researcher, received a letter from recording industry lawyers warning him that a paper he was about to present at a conference -- it described the weaknesses of an encryption system -- could subject him to enforcement actions under the D.M.C.A.. Mr. Felten understood the threat and decided not to present his paper. Largely as a result of this experience, he is now the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the Digital Millennium Copyright Act on First Amendment grounds.

    Authors have an important and legitimate interest in protecting their copyrights. The law should help authors where it can. But the law should not push its power beyond the protection of copyright, and the law should especially not criminalize activities that are central to research in encryption and security.

    Adobe understands this. After extensive meetings with the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation -- and widespread protests on the Internet, at Adobe's San Jose, Calif., headquarters, in Moscow and elsewhere -- Adobe announced it did not think the prosecution of Mr. Sklyarov was conducive to the best interests of the parties involved or of the industry.

    Yet Mr. Sklyarov still languishes in jail, puzzled, no doubt, about how a free society can jail someone for writing code that was legal where written, just because he comes to the United States and gives a report on encryption weaknesses.

    Lawrence Lessig, a law professor at Stanford University, is author of the forthcoming ``The Future of Ideas'' and a member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation board.

    Mark Duell
  • Hey, that $300 means a hell of a lot more to the EFF than it would to the government.

    Oh and there is no "social security fund", all the money goes into one big pile.

    The government can have my tax refund back when they learn how to control their obnoxious spending habits. I refuse to listen to anyone who says "tax cuts are risky because we might not have enough money to spend". When that happens to me with my finances, I just spend less.

    Point is if the government has your money they will waste it, you are far better at distrubuting it than they are, the politicians don't want you to figure that out.
  • "McOwen is being sued, and threatened with jail time, for installing the distributed.net client."

    How would you like it if he installed it on every server at a company you owned, and you suddenly had to foot the bill for it? If this had happened at a small company with the client as the idle process on a large number of servers, it could have resulted in a huge financial loss that might have led to layoff. What McOwen did was horribly irresponsible, and he should have to pay back the money he cost other people!
  • No, really, I do mean it. The guy installed software that he did not have the right to install on a huge number of machines, cost his employer a small fortune by doing so, and now wants people to support him? Think about it.
  • Other countries are somehow able to have their due-process expedited. Personally, I wish the US were more like that. You wish the US was more like *Russia?* Please be a troll...oh God...please be a troll...
  • Right on brother.

    Let there be a new law in US that says: "any foreigner we don't like shall be put in prison".

    You can trade as many US citizens as you like after that!

    My point actually is it makes more sense to fix a broken law than look for workarounds.
  • Still, it is legal in US to talk about lock-picking. It is even legal to own and *sell* lock-picking devices. Despite their primary use being opening locks.

    It is even legal to own guns. Whose primary purpose is to kill people. And yet laws don't forbid it. You can *talk* about killing people in any creative way you want. It's "freedom of speech".

    And yet don't you fucking dare to talk about weak encryption in commercial products. They will be after you.
  • What he did that got him in hot water was try to sell and distribute a circumvention device in the US.

    And who do we know bought the "circumvention device" in the United States?

    And who do we know swore out the complaint the got Dmitriy arrested in the first place?

    One and the same party ... Adobe!

    I seem to remember something from my studies in law school about entrapment ... something about inducing someone to break the law and then prosecuting them for succumbing to the inducement.

    What Dmitriy did was legal where he did it, as far as any evidence exposed to date shows. In fact, some of the reports I've read elsewhere (I admit I have not thoroughly researched the statements independently) lead me to believe that use of a "technical means of protection" that prevents a purchaser from making a backup copy is illegal in most of Europe.

    In order for a law imposing a prior restraint on freedom of speech to be Constitutional, the government (not the MPAA/RIAA/BSA lobbyists') must have a compelling interest that will be furthered by the prior restraint. In addition, the law will fail the consituionality test unless there is NO less restrictive measure that will protect the government's (not the MPAA/RIAA/BSA lobbyists') compelling interest.

    Now, I will admit that the government of the United States has a significant interest in promoting innovation in the scientific, commercial and literary (including software) fields. For your consideration I would submit the argument that the government's interest in these fields is adequately protected by current patent, trademark and copyright law. I would further submit that the DMCA is an unwarranted intrusion by the government into what would otherwise be private disputes.

    That being said, I, personally, have no problem with paying for content that I find appealing. Those who doubt that should see me when I make a raid on Borders, B&N, Book Stop, etc. (or should that read "search (the store) and destroy (my bank balance) mission?") I am no anti-capitalist. What I AM opposed to is the criminalization of 1) independent research, and 2) attempts to intimidate those who conduct such independent research into silence.

    Is Dmitriy the ideal poster-child for an anti-DMCA campaign? Probably not. Is he the first one who has presented a nearly lay-down case for the unconstituionality of DMCA? Given Prof. Felten's folding in the face of threats by the powers of darkness, yes. Is this unfortunate for Dmitriy? Most definitely, but there are other issues here that might get the case thrown out quickly ... I have tried to stay on top of this case, but I do not know whether Dmitriy has had a bail hearing yet ... thus the 8th amendment comes into play. Is there any evidence, other than the copy Adobe bought, that Elcomsoft sold his program in the United States? If not, there is a substantial question of entrapment and undue influence by a private party in a criminal matter. If the copy Adobe bought is the only hard evidence the U.S. Attorney has to date, anything they might try to discover by international subpoenas of Elcomsoft's records (not a trivia legal hurdle) such as other sales to customers in the United States might fall under the doctrine of "fruit of the poisoned tree." If I were the U.S. Attorney in charge of this case, I'd be thinking about the O.J. trial about now ...

    IAAL, although not in practice anymore. I got tired of hassling people to pay my fees after I had worked for them. However, I have an abiding interest in the legal aspects of the geek world, and these are the BIG holes I see in the case against Dmitriy. I can't even begin to count the small holes.

    I regret the inconvenience that the bad attitude and greed of some American corporations has inflicted on Dmitriy. How do you apologize to the eggs that got broken to make your omelet. It would be better if we had a Rosa Parks to sit in jail while this issue was fought. Picking your fight wisely is a good thought, but so is playing the hand you're dealt. I want to see Dmitriy back in Russia as quickly as possible, but I am prepared to go to the limit of the law to see that he goes home without a U.S. criminal conviction.

    I've rambled on too long ...

    Free Dmitriy!

    Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,
  • Publishers might eventually get the hint that they have to make their products maximally useful rather than trying to lock them up tightly.

    Well, my only problem with e-books is that I have to buy them in one format for my PDA and then buy them again in another incompatible format for my PC ... if that, in and of itself, doesn't militate against the argument that the DMCA's prohibition against me "cracking" something I've paid for so I can lawfully use it where I want, what does?

    I don't mind paying for content ... once ...

    Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,
  • 1) Mr. Lessig is a lawyer, so I assume he has read up on this stuff, but his claims that the US were alone in having DCMA laws suprised me. I was under the impression that europe was in fact drafting even more sweeping ones?

    Actually, Prof. Lessig is a prominent legal scholar, but his view is somewhat tainted by partisanship since he's a member of the board of EFF. That being given, his statements about the U.S. being alone are essentially correct ... but be forewarned, I read a piece today that said Canada was considering a DMCA-ish law ...

    2) What outrage? This trial will never make to the front page, much less the evening news. The concepts are too abstract for your average joe to grasp in the 10 seconds attention span he/the newscasters will alot to the news item.

    Don't be so sure ... an acquittal might not make the news, but you can rest assured the chance to use the three words "Russian," "hacker" and "convicted" in the same breath has the media salivating ... "and today a double bad guy got what he deserved ... " and all that ... the media depends on Joe SixPack's knee-jerk reaction for ratings ... anything that feeds the public anti-outsider feeding frenzy is good press ...

    Did that line sound a wee bit cynical about our "Guardians of Truth"? ... good!

    3) The only hope is (erm, I THINK this is the process, but std discl) is that he is convicted, and the appeal makes it all the way up to the supreme court which can then strike the law down as unconstitional. However, you'll recall that Dubya is appointing a couple of supreme judges this term, and we can expect that Big Business will bend the ear of the administration, so I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the supremes to be agree with techolibertarians like us.

    Don't bet your house on this one ... when the Federal Drug Crime Sentencing Guidelines hit the Supremes, and were upheld, the sole dissenting voice in an 8-1 decision was Mr. Justice Scalia, who never saw a dope sentence he didn't like (unless it was an acquittal) ...
    Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,
  • Nope ... you've got it wrong ... there are no keystrokes involved in running the distributed.net client ... but if it cost the State of Georgia $.59/second/host because the distributed.net client was installed on their computers, installing the client on all the computers the FBI/CIA/DIA/NSA have would bankrupt the Federal Government in, oh, about a week and a half ...

    Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,
  • As a non-practicing lawyer, I can agree with Lessig's remark. I don't think I disagree with the extension of copyright to 75 years after the death of the creator (the so-called "mickey mouse law" after that fact that Walt Disney. Inc. was the prime beneficiary of it). The Mickey Mouse franchise is still being actively developed and I, personally believe that extension was justified in that one case .

    OTOH, is there anyone who believes that the copyright on CP/M or PC-DOS 2.0, or Snow White and Cinderella for that matter, should extend until 75 years after the authors die??? AFAIK, nothing's been done with any of those properties in the last 20 years ...

    Actively developed is the key ...

    Intellectual Property ... use it or lose it ...

    Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,
  • In fact, the statute does include the word "effective" means of protection. In Dmitiry's case, this opens the door to the "reasonably effective" argument.

    Do not meddle in the affairs of sysadmins,
  • If Taco et al post the direct link themselves then they're encouraging people to circumvent the NYTimes registration system (read; profitable user profiling system). The NYT wouldn't like this very much, and might even threaten to sue. So the /. editors are obliged to play nice. OTOH, the comments posted on this site are in a legislative grey-area since (from the small print) "Comments are owned by the Poster". That little sentence is the Slashdot team washing their hands of responsibility for what people post (though whether this would hold in court is questionable since the comments are still being published on Slashdot).

    Which is why you have to wait for a karma whore to post a reg-less link or details of a phony account (I think I saw one around comment #3 with ID: slashdot2000i PASSWORD: slashdot2000).

    It may seem slightly cowardly, but at least the site is still up and running. Then again, just think of the international geek backlash if anyone tried to shut Slashdot down....

  • Does the computer really care if it was spinning around in an idle loop or if it was factoring a prime?

    The actual loss is probably a little more electricity that it could have been if idle. His fine and punishment is totally out of proportion to the "abuse".

    Sure we have the principle -- the owner of the computer should get to decide if he wants such processes running. At the very most the employer could be fired. Jail? That's ridiculous. It's a wholly civil matter between the employer and the employee. It's not a crime.

  • by gr3g ( 119302 )
    you had better not talk about large multi-national corporations, or peacefully show your objection to them in a manner of speech that is protected by the first ammendment. Or the nice police will show you their fancy equipment that you bought with your tax dollars. oh well.
  • No.. This (and the DMCA/encryption schemes) is more analagous to you purchasing a car. And every time you need to unlock the car to use it, you have to call the dealership to unlock the doors on it. And you have no choice BUT to lock the doors as it is done automatically when you get out of the car. Or God forbid, you wanted to SHARE your car with your spouse or significant other....
  • Thank you for explaining my point to me. Without your assistance, I would have had no idea what I was trying to say.
  • by Nastard ( 124180 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:20PM (#2181701)
    Let's turn the tables on the Dmitry thing for just a sec. If I were to write an article about how communism sucks big hairy cock, while still living in the US, then travel to China (where saying such things is against the law) to give a speech on a related-but-legal topic, they could toss my ass in jail, and they would be "evil commies", right? The American people would freak, and the press would have a field day (see spy plane).

    Why is it okay for us to do it to folks from other countries?
  • Richard Stallman made a suggestion that is similar to yours, but very characteristically RMS.

    I have a suggestion. If I were to suggest totally boycotting movies, I think people would ignore that suggestion. They might consider it too radical. So I would like to make a slightly different suggestion which comes to almost the same thing in the end, and that is, don't go to a movie unless you have some substantial reason to think it's good. Now this will lead in practice to almost the same result as a total boycott of Hollywood movies. In extension, it's almost the same but, in intention, it's very different. Now I've noticed that many people go to movies for reasons that have nothing to do with whether they think the movies are good. So if you change that, if you only go to a movie when you have some substantial reason to think it's good, you'll take away a lot of their money.
    (from an speech transcribed at http://media-in-transition.mit.edu/forums/copyrigh t/index_transcript.html [mit.edu])

    Very like RMS to make a simple observation about human nature, and base on it a proposal that seems at once perfectly natural and hopelessly naive. This seems a paradox only until you realize that RMS works on the time scale of a lifetime. He's already demonstrated that on that scale, the hopeless becomes conceivable. When you step back far enough, he begins to look downright pragmatic [gnu.org].

    Observe that your suggestion requires one to reevaluate every purchase in terms of an artificial $5, while his merely to reconsider based on a simple criterion (that I ought to have considered in the first place). I'm not actually commenting on which idea is more effective--I really don't know. But his has an appeal to me that yours lacks.

  • by The Pim ( 140414 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @06:21PM (#2181705)
    Simply put, the EFF needs money ... if it is to give large enough bribes to the Plutocrats who inhabit your public offices.

    Your message isn't clear enough for me to understand the overall point, but this statement at least is plainly offensive. What does the EFF do that could be construed as bribery? You might find this overview [eff.org] enlightening. Which of the methods mentioned therein do you find dishonorable?

    Or do you just dislike the fact that the EFF seeks change via courts instead of via populism? An institution with a 200 year history of defending civil liberties seems like a good place to turn to me (and the EFF's track record bears this out). If you think the system is corrupt just because litigation costs money, I don't think you have a good idea of how the world works.

  • by btempleton ( 149110 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @04:29PM (#2181706) Homepage
    He's our choice because he's in jail, and unlike an American who would be out on bail while preparing his defence, Dmitry rots in jail, and will for a year if we don't get him out.

    We don't actually want him as a poster child for an anti-DMCA case because the cost to him is too high. We do want him out, and that's why all the people who have never met him and never will are marching for him.


  • Dubya's party isn't the only one caving in to business. Who was president when the DMCA became law?

  • I remember when America was the home of the free, and Russia had the opressive laws.

    Oh yeah. Someone pointed out earlier the irony in a Russian coming to America and being imprisoned for a thought crime.

    --

  • 12 months?
    More like "shot while trying to evade authorities".
    At least in russia, had this gone to trial they would of have put him to death with a three round burst to the back of the skull when he wasn't expecting it instead of strapping some guy to a table and drawing out the process, or burning him/her to death with electricity. I'm against the death penalty, but if you're going to kill someone, do it quickly and painlessly, when they least expect it.
    Dunno how they do stuff in russia these days, but before, after a gulty verdict is passed and death sentence is handed down, there is one appeal with the defendant not present, at which point the convict goes to prison, is set free or develops a hole in their head.
  • Thank you. I have to wonder one thing - if the mafia was still around as it was in the 20's and 30's (in strength and in "attitude"), would things be different?
    If you could send me an email / give more info on some wonderful DA's, it would be great. I'm thinking of making a wall of shame page of figures in politics, etc...

  • by Diomedes01 ( 173241 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:52PM (#2181713)
    Remember, if you oppose the DMCA, then you really need to let your congressman/senator know about it! Here is a letter that I just sent to a senator from my State who chairs the Judiciary committee.

    Senator Leahy,

    I am writing today to raise my voice in protest against the unfortunate arrest and subsequent jailing of a Russian programmer, Dmitry Sklyarov. I have no doubts that you have at least heard of this issue. For the moment, let us ignore the unconstitutional nature of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (the law the Mr. Sklyarov has been accused of violating). The "violation" was the writing of a piece of software that removes the encryption from an Adobe E-book. Should this be illegal? Probably not. Is it? Yes. However, the crime occurred in the Soviet Union, not in the United States. I feel that I should add that the inability to back up an E-Book is actually a crime in the Soviet Union, and Sklyarov created software that circumvented this. I shudder to think what would happen if every citizen of the Unites States could be arrested in a foreign country for doing something considered perfectly legal in the U.S.

    This sad case only underscores something that is very wrong with our country today; under the DMCA, a programmer can be arrested for simply writing a piece of software. This software does not have to be used illegally; simply the fact that it can be used illegally is enough to incriminate someone. If one applies this logic to other areas of the world, it is easy to see that this idea is patently ridiculous. A hunting rifle is not illegal because it could be used to commit a homicide. A locksmith's tools are not illegal because they could conceivably be used to break into somebody's home. Thus, I would argue that a piece of software should not be considered illegal based on only one possible use. Fair use rights are being overturned in order to give corporations far more control than copyright should allow. The fact is, these corporations are able to pay lobbyists and make large campaign contributions, while the average citizen, whose rights are being trampled upon, does not have the resources to defend himself. I strongly urge you to look at this inherently flawed piece of legislation, and join with the few other sane souls in the Senate who have finally seen the law for what it truly is.

    As a life-long Vermonter and a constituent, a reply would be greatly valued. You most likely do not recall, but we have met several times in Washington years ago during a "Model Congress" outing from Vermont. At the time, I was impressed by your technical knowledge and awareness of issues surrounding the rapid growth of technology. I hope that the years have not changed this.


    -------
  • Not directed at you in particular, but let me just say this:

    "God, sometimes I wish analogies could be lameness-filtered."

    There. Nothing personal. However, I have determined that analogies get it wrong in this forum, more often than not.

    Here is the point that your analogy misses, and a very important point at that, to quote:

    The relevant protection for copyrighted material becomes as the technology says, not as copyright law requires.

    What Lessig is saying is that lawmakers have allowed the industry to write law... with regular books the copyright is the sole protection, but with e-books the industry is entitled to protection beyond what an ordinary "copyright 1994 Random Books, Inc, All Rights Reserved yadayadayada" provides; it is entitled to provide an electronic adjunct that becomes protected under the law in a way unprecedented in American legal history.

    What Congress has done is given legislative authority away to big corps* and relegated themselves to irrelevance, i.e., the original copyright laws are no longer needed. Not only that, but they have delegated to law enforcement a basically insurmountable task: to prosecute each and every electronic transgression, no matter how small, in a way never intended by the original copyright law! The courts should/would be awash in a great and diverse array of cases, each with its own unique conundrum, if the DMCA holds. In fact, Metallica did point out the absurdity of trying to enforce such laws when they essentially sued all Napster users. The other side of that coin is that computers make such prosecution easier: a simple summons in your email in-box should suffice. Maybe someday, like the whole photo radar [fcw.com] brand of violation of our Bill of Rights, such emails Will constitute proper law enforcement procedure.

    So tell me, what has happened in the past when unenforceable and unjust laws [usd.edu] went on the books? Is it then not our civic duty [indiana.edu] to take a stand against it, however we must sacrifice?

    I understand that analogies can sometimes help, but they often warp the main thrust of the issue, and definitely have a tendency to understate the finer points. I agree with your stance and support your opinion (as all good ./ers will), but an education about the DMCA until we all understand it as well as we understand the GPL (I love explaining that to cowworkers!) necessitates a proper approach. Sorry, the lock analogy just don't get it here, and it is my contention that there is NO analogy that will fit, as there are no analogies in many of these issues that we discuss because of the high-tech and highly complex nature of these issues.

    *- ya know, it doesn't Have to be read as "big bad powerful corps with senators in their pockets", but tell me, who else but them will be able to sic the FBI hounds on guys like Skly? The DMCA is for corps only, not for regular folks, but you knew that already, don't you?
  • But him not being American may be what is exactly needed.

    "What? Russia has more Freedoms than the U.S. of A?" That's something that should sink in to the general populace, especially veterans, if presented properly.

  • by Kalrand ( 177637 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:08PM (#2181716)
    The DOJ was finally allowed to install Carnivore.

    David McOwen is going for installing the destributed.net client.

    SOLUTION!
    Install distributed.net on Carnivore.

    Kalrand
    -The Voice of Reason
  • No, my statement was one of disgust. I am not questioning the actions of EFF. Why does it take *money* to have your voice in public policy? The sad part, overwhelming numbers of 'cluefull' people (those 'understand' the DMCA) are flately against it. I do not see any popular citizens coming out to supppor the DMCA... so, for clarity; Washington (and Ottawa in my case) is inhabited by slimy Plutocrats && it makes me sick. I do my part to change that... I suggest you do also.

  • by SubtleNuance ( 184325 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @04:17PM (#2181721) Journal
    Simply put, the EFF needs money ... if it is to give large enough bribes to the Plutocrats who inhabit your public offices.

    *THIS* is what all the anit-capialists in Seattle, Washington, Prague, Quebec, Genova and the rest are talking about - make no mistake, this is simply another 'aspect' of the problems people are protesting. Protesters themselves, those without the proper technical information, are in-line with the ideals behind the Free Softare Movement, and Source as Free Speech.

    Next time (www.protest.net) a Capitalist-Summit of some type comes to *your* region - GO AND CARRY A SIGN!

  • See me in clips at my site [democracy2.org] (bottom of page). I'm the nerd with the bulging belly. :) [wait, "nerd" isn't a good distinguishing factor in this group]

    I think we (100+ of us) were very effective in making a lot of noice about the cause to either repeal the DMCA or at least clean up the stuff related to fair use. We can't let another Dmitry be arrested with the unconstitutional provisions of this bad law.

    The main downer of course is that there wasn't a lot more people (esp. programmers) there. I say it's high time for programmers to shake off their apathy and become Free Speech activists. Our country needs us.

    Steve Magruder

  • This is bad law and bad policy. It not only interferes with the legitimate use of copyrighted material, it undermines security more generally. Research into security and encryption depends upon the right to crack and report. Only if weaknesses can be discovered and described openly will they be fixed. (Quoted from the article)

    This is what I have been saying for a long time. Why undermine network security so that Adobe, RIAA, and MPAA can increase their profits?

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • I am all for making him a posterboy of the fight, but I agree with you. Because of the factors above, I think our real priority ought to be to free him as quickly as possible.

    See, the problem is that he cannot go home until this is resolved. So it is in his best interest to marshal forces behind him. We are not the ones keeping him here.

    I also think that for a total challenge, Felden is a better bet for all the reasons you mention above. Furthermore, it illustrates the slippery slope regarding security research that the DMCA embarks on.

    In short, I argue that we should fight for Demitry only because that keeps him out of more harm than is unavoidable at this time...

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • Doesn't "DCS 1000" have sort of a nice homey ring to it? Maybe it reminds you of your Brother. Remember, encrypt your public key encryption software, and keep a copy with the other munitions.

    Yeah. Your brother... Your big brother.... Big Brother....

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • Because when you get down to it, that's really all those companies care about - their bottom line, not benefiting the consumer. Serving the consumer is just one of their means to the end of making money.

    As does everybody. That is why the security issue is so important. Security breaches are extremely costly or at least they can be. The DMCA could actually hit everyone else's pocketbook.

    Sig: Tell all your friends NOT to download the Advanced Ebook Processor:

  • What gives you the idea that there is a choice involved? Dmitry is entitled to his freedom regardless of his "fitness" to be a poster-boy.

    Tell you what, why don't you go find a way to attract a big corporation's ire by "innocently" bending the DMCA's provisions, get yourself thrown in jail, and then declare yourself Official DMCA Poster Boy?

  • by localroger ( 258128 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @04:50PM (#2181740) Homepage
    ... without permission on a machine he did not own.

    The more relevant postscript is that he is being criminally prosecuted and faces more jail time than a typical rapist or murderer, for something that merited sacking at most.

    He violated what is often perceived as a nuisance-level TOS provision in network administration, did exceed his authority in doing so, and got fired. (Even that may have been excessive, considering the tameness of the offense, but in these days of viruses and worms and such I can understand the knee-jerk overreaction.)

    Now the State is going to crush him like a bug. Even if he prevails in trial he will be wiped out financially, his name dragged through the newspapers, and suffer years of uncertainty about his future. There is nothing whatsoever fair or just about this.

    The sad thing is that there is little we can do about District Attorneys who violate all standards of reasonableness and humanity in this way. Near here a few years ago our DA launched an aggressive prosecution against a woman whose baby died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Even her pediatrician testified for her, but she was poor and ill-spoken and the white middle-class jurists of the more affluent community next door convicted her of negligent homicide.

    It's either a wonderful sign of how stable the US is, or a tragic sign of what sheep we've become, that none of these evil pieces of shit ever get assassinated.

  • If I decide to go around taking apart locks to see which ones I'll be able to break into, I should have that right, because a lock is only SECURE if I'm able to take it apart and still not know how to break it. Encryption is the same.

    First of all, I agree that you should have that right. And if you feel strongly about it, I hope you'll join us in the streets [freesklyarov.org] to tell the world about it.

    Unfortunately, here's the problem with eBooks: they can't ever be encrypted effectively, because your adversary (formerly called your "customer") always has the key. It almost doesn't matter whether Adobe uses ROT-13 or triple-DES, because they have to give you both the algorithm and the key for you to be able to do anything at all with the eBook. All they can do is to obfuscate the software to make it difficult to figure out what they've already given you. However, experience shows that there will always be a sufficiently talented and motivated individual who figures it out. The current "solution" to this problem is to imprison those people.

    I think that one point that might save us was raised by Brad Templeton [templetons.com]: the main problem with commercial eBook publishing isn't piracy, it's that no one wants to read eBooks! Publishers might eventually get the hint that they have to make their products maximally useful rather than trying to lock them up tightly.

  • Ha! When lawyers are paid by the hour, and bill all their expenses? Not in your lifetime.
  • by Genyin ( 415163 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @04:14PM (#2181748) Homepage Journal
    Why doesn't anyone ever post links to nytimes with archives.nytimes.com, rather than www.nytimes.com, so you don't have to register at all?
  • Authorities hold people without trial all the time becuase they are a threat to flee and skip trial. Perfect example is a case in Philadelphia where Ira Einhorn skipped town in 1981 just before he went on trial for 1st degree murder. He was finally brought back to Philly two weeks ago after running to Ireland, Switzerland, and France. (Do note that I happen to go to college less than a block from where the 1977 murder occured)(OT: He was found guilty in absentia in 1993, but he can appeal now that he's back in the US)

    Dimitry in this case may be considered a threat to leave the United States when it comes time for trial (if the case gets that far) because he is of foreign nationality. Yes I agree that a judge should do a bail hearing and crap, but keep in mind this is what the US legal system is like. In the US, it takes years for fugitives to be found guilty and sent off to jail, or, by same token, innocent and set free. Tim McVeigh took years to be killed for his crime because of all the appeals processes (and 4000+ FBI documents), while in Russia, for example, someone would face the chair for a crime less than 12 months after arrest. Other countries are somehow able to have their due-process expedited. Personally, I wish the US were more like that.

  • by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Monday July 30, 2001 @03:18PM (#2181754) Homepage Journal
    Among the sad parts about many of the DMCA cases is use of poor protection schemes. Adobe used a horribly weak encryption scheme in the eBook format. Same in the CSS/DeCSS ordeal. If companies really want to protect their anti-piracy measures, they should use protection schemes that are difficult to break. By using cheap protection, they are practically asking for people to break the schemes so that they can slap that person (or persons) with DMCA violations.

    A co-worker of mine believes that some organizations actually use weak protections intentionally so that they can gain revenue by suing those that break the protection.

    There are many avenues out there for companies to find strong and effective means of encryption and protection. Undoubtably there are ethics-abiding companies who have started funding research (both academic and corporate) into this topic of protecting copyrighted works.

    We can only hope that someday companies are able to look past their wallets and ask themselves if they are doing enough to protect the intellectual property of others. If a company fails to use effective means to protect a copyright, by all means individuals like Dimitry and Dr Felton should be allowed to break them and show them what not to do.

Egotist: A person of low taste, more interested in himself than in me. -- Ambrose Bierce

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