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Earth to Media: This kid is still in jail 462

The popular media's coverage of the Dmitri Sklyarov case is a scandal. 26-year-old programmer and encryption gadfly Sklyarov has been languishing in jail for almost two weeks now, and the popular media has paid almost no attention to his truly outrageous arrest. It's a case that has the ugliest implications not only for the press (online and off) but for open discussion of technology, and especially for the First Amendment, now clearly being undermined in the name of copyright protection by the DMCA. This is the opposite of what copyright law was meant to do.

When reporters were threatened with law enforcement pressure and jail during the Watergate and Pentagon Papers cases, whole forests were felled in the pre-digital age with stories, books, even movies about courageous reporters fighting for the First Amendment against government oppression. Not a single reporter was jailed in those cases, not even for an hour, even though many broke federal and other laws in gathering the information they reported.

You won't see any discussion of Dmitri Sklyarov on Washington talk shows, the evening news, or the cover of the weekly newsmagazines. But he is stuck in jail.

He was arrested by the FBI two weeks ago for writing and selling a program that allegedly violates the Digital Millenium Copyright Act, just after giving a lecture detailing alleged weaknesses in Adobe's electronic book software.

There is hardly a single serious lawyer or constitutional scholar who doesn't see the dangers of this twisted use of the DMCA. "The DMCA outlaws technologies designed to circumvent other technologies that protect copyrighted material," wrote Lawrence Lessig in the New York Times this week. "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, cautions Lessig, a law professor at Stanford, when the DMCA protects technology that in turns protects copyrighted material, it can -- as in the Sklyarov case -- offer protection that is much broader than copyright law was meant to be. It criminalizes what would be legal under existing copyright law, including certain kinds of criticism and speech and research. This law is a top-to-bottom creation of entertainment companies working with their hired lawyers and lobbyists to curb the flow of information online for profit. It was not enacted in the public interest, or even in the best interests of copyright. Lessig and others have pointed out that Sklyarov's software violated no one's copyright, even if it runs afoul of the DMCA.

In the Sklyarov case, there are several noxious consequences. His arrest chills criticism of software, and of new technologies and the powerful companies that create them. It also undermines security -- one of the very things the DMCA is supposed to protect. How can weaknesses and flaws in security and encryption programs be discovered if they can't be shared, discussed or explored?

Example: a staple feature of newspaper reporters in big cities is to go to local airports annually and test security procedures by carrying toy guns, knives or unloaded weapons into terminals. Although they could technically be charged under federal laws prohibiting such behavior, they are not. These reporters are never prosecuted. That's because courts have repeatedly ruled that the reporters are carrying out activities that are protected by the First Amendment -- they are stretching or even breaking regulations on behalf of the public welfare. Within limits (most public safety grounds) courts have protected this kind of activity. Just because Sklyarov is a hacker doesn't mean he's not acting as a journalist, or entitled to journalistic protections.

This is a corporate perversion of the original intent of copyright law, meant to protect authors for a limited time so that they would have some financial incentive to generate ideas, which then entered the public domain so that they could receive the widest possible distribution. It was never the intention of the authors of American copyright law to sell ideas and intellectual property to greedy corporations in perpetuity, especially at the expense of free speech and the ability to criticize powerful institutions.

In April, Princeton Professor Edward Felten, an encryption researcher, received a letter from record industry lawyers warning him that a paper he was about to present at a hacker conference -- the paper described the weaknesses of an encryption system -- could subject him to criminal actions under the DMCA. Felten withdrew the paper, and is now the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the DMCA on First Amendment grounds.

None of this helps Sklyarov, who remains in jail. Were he a reporter for the Washington Post or New York Times challenging claims of Microsoft or Adobe or Disney, you can only imagine the media furor, and the pressure being brought to bear on politicians and federal officials to get him out. It would certainly be loud enough to help ensure his release while lawyers get to slug out what ought clearly to be a civil, not a criminal, issue.

The failure to connect his case with their own rights and traditions is a colossal media blunder, short-sighted and self-destructive. If the DMCA stands, and people like Dmitri Sklyarov are tossed into jail because they criticized the code, claims or procedures of powerful corporations or institutions based on research these institutions believe should remain private and proprietary, then the entertainment lobby will have done the unthinkable. They will have permanently altered the First Amendment and the protection it has always accorded free, controversial and offensive speech. And the Net will become a very different kind of place, not only for coders and hackers but for any person who loves the unique freedom it has offered for nearly a generation.

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Dozing Media: Sklyarov in jail

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    It's an unconstitutional law after the Supreme Court rules so.

    Until then it's the law! Break it and to jail you go.

  • I find it hard to believe that you are so surprised by this. This case covers several things that the media is scared to talk about these days.

    First, he's a programmer -- the media hates to discuss anything even moderately technical, in the fear that it wil alienate their audience. Also, many TV news stories are just seconds in length, not nearly enough time to explain the case.

    Secondly, there are serious issues where many media outlets are owned by or are organizations that have fought hard to have heavy control over their copyrighted material.

    That's not to say the case hasn't been discussed at all. Robin Gross of the EFF went on NPR's Science Friday program to discuss the case (not sure if she really said the right things or not, though), and NPR had at least one previous story on the subject.

    This case does remind me how little the media in this country cares about the rest of the world. Foreigners have been tried and executed in this country. Our media didn't say a thing, while the overseas media went nuts.

    The US media is very strange. I recall when the Chandra Levy story first started rolling. The national news broadcasters were saying ``The story on everyone's lips,'' when in fact it was just what was being discussed on the local news in New York. Nobody else cared up until then.

    The trick might be to get this case on the local news in New York
  • Maybe we can get Adobe to arrest a big-titted intern.


  • Send your check from President Shrub ("he ain't big enough to be a full-sized Bush) to the EFF. I did. It'd be better off in the social security fund, but since Shrub sent it to me, I'm using it some other way to secure my future.


  • Remember, Watergate started *BEFORE* Nixon was elected for a second term.

    The American public has a limited attention span for complicated stuff. It was not until a Democratic congress started impeachment hearings that Nixon's misdeeds came to the average American's attention, despite all the special prosecutors and etc. which had previously been appointed. If it can't be turned into a 5 second sound bite, the American public isn't interested in it.

    Blame the media all you like, but they just give the American public what they want, for the most part -- bland, non-threatening, unintellectual "news" that doesn't challenge the status quo and that can be summarized in a 5-second sound bite.


  • Like Lucent? (snort). In case you're wondering, for many years AT&T/Lucent were "blue chip" stocks. Lucent only barely avoided bankruptcy a few weeks ago when they managed to get their bankers to forward a little more capital (they were out of cash -- tapped out, broke, nada in da banka), and pretty soon their stock is going to be worth about as much as EBIZ stock (hmm, 3 cents a share last time I looked :-).

    There's no such thing as a low-risk stock. You ought to see my 401(k). It's a blood bath. Not a single stock fund offered by my 401(k) has made money this year -- not even the most conservative ones.

    The thing about government bonds (which is what the SS fund is invested in) is that while they don't yield a whole lot, at least they don't lose money.



    "We're thinking a modest fine and several years' probation..."

    One can only hope.

  • I was gonna say that this makes me wish the US had a state sponsored news web site, but then I got that really creepy feeling and decided that it might not be that good of an idea.

    You mean like NPR? Many people don't understand why I don't like NPR. Not only are they state sponsered, which is bad enough, but their bias is not the same as mine.

  • But regardless, if anybody out there has any *real* info on WHY the media isn't covering the case of Dmitry Skylarov or the DMCA, please inform us; I'm sure the /. community would like to know.

    I see two reasons. First, the intricacies of copyright law, especially when combined with technology, are too subtle for sound-bites. I realize a statement like this is almost a cliche, but it's true. Too much valuable airtime/column inches would have to be wasted educating the reader on the DMCA, encryption, the rights of foreign nations etc. Easier to stick with warehouse fires and monster truck rallies.

    Second (mentioned in another post already) is that most media outlets are affiliated with some organization that has an interest in the DMCA. Tough to get a critical article past your editor when s/he knows they'll get a call from the executive office about it later.

    The stories of heroic journalists, well, that's different. It improves the image of journalism and the organizations that support them. And there's no need to report subtleties - just yell 'Cover-up!' at the top of your voice and everyone will be on your side.
  • by defile ( 1059 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @12:56PM (#2179765) Homepage Journal

    Making these tools illegal won't stop people from violating copyright law.

    Copyright law doesn't even stop most people from violating copyright law. Just because massive software piracy outfits are now violating TWO laws means that they'll stop? Give me a break.

    The DMCA does not help a company defend it's copyrights at all. What it does is give them COPY CONTROL. With the simplest "encryption" algorithm you can now 100% put a stop to reverse engineering, totally eliminating your competitors if you happen to have created an industry standard protocol.

    Think of it as patenting the most ridiculously easy algorithm without actually requiring a patent or an original idea. IIRC, Real Networks won a case based on the DMCA because they set 1 bit in their packet headers that means "ENCRYPTED", even though the rest of the packet is identitical to the unencrypted form.

    It is meant to squelch competition. Be it from individuals in research, open source hackers, or other proprietary software giants. Retail piracy outfits (like the ones in China) will be affected in no way whatsoever by the DMCA. Everyone else will.

  • Which, of course, is one of the great things about the BBC []. Sure, it isn't perfect, but as a public broadcaster, as opposed to a profit-motivated commercial broadcaster, advertisers and other commercial interests have a relatively low level of influence over news reporting and broadcasting in general.

    Plus, they have the best web site in the UK. Bar none.

  • by Plutor ( 2994 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:42AM (#2179769) Homepage
    The reason this isn't being reported as the travesty it truly is is that the public doesn't really understand copyright issues or the DMCA, and they don't really care either. The public would hear this story and think "So, a hacker(sic) got arrested for hacking a product. He was arrested under federal law, and he's now in jail. I hated it when my files were deleted by the virus, so these laws are a good thing."
  • by Kaneda ( 3744 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @08:25AM (#2179770) Homepage
    There is a well-known book out called 'For God, Country, and Coca Cola' which published the formula years ago.
    No one went to jail, the sun came up the next day, and the sky did not fall on our heads.
    To compare something as far-fetched as the possible imprisonment of someone publishing a formula which is already out there to the real imprisonment of Dmitry is irresponsible.
    How can you somehow justify the fact that he is locked away as some sort of reward for his behaviour by contructing this 'equivalent' scenario which is not even vaguely related?

  • It's down to #3! Make sure you vote the other top stories down while you're at it.
  • 1. welcome to the modern police state. You, Mr. Katz, bitch and whine about wanting all these different laws in your articles and display an adoration for the power of the State. Well, this is the State showing it's muscle, get used to it.

    2. the media and the Feds consider computing geeks to be DANGEROUS. you should know this by now. Crypto, the Net, copyright law, they hate or fear us for it all, and this is just the beginning.

    3. there is no 3. plz stop ruining slashdot for me, go write for Salon.
  • Someone surmised on the list that he's not even had contact with the Russian consulate, much less a decent bail hearing. So has anyone else tried to contact the Russian Embassy on his behalf to try to get an alternate press coverage (since the press seems to ignore geeks and keep it to geek humor, maybe a statement by the Russian Government will get the mainstream media's attention)?
    You know, you gotta get up real early if you want to get outta bed... (Groucho Marx)
  • they tried this w/other people held in jail for whatever reason. No one gives a shit about people in jail. If I saw an advertisement to let "John Smith Out of Prison" I would skip over it, annoyed that they made me turn another page in the paper.

    I pay $1.00+ for a newspaper only to see someone who supposedly is a criminal? Get real.
  • Your own sig stands in ironic contrast to your point. You start first, mister Galt.
  • > Get Dmitri to go on a hunger strike or something

    How noble of you. Maybe if he killed himself he might be even more useful as a martyr.
  • Exhibit 1: on the control of perceptions by major media outlets.

    > Didn't you people ever watch the x files.. people disappear all the time

  • When was the last time you saw any press coverage of anything like this? CNN didnt give squat about Kevin Mitnick, and they could care less about Dimitri.

    It's sad, but the best way is for everyone to write a letter to the editors column and ask why there is no coverage about Dimitri.

    Letters to the editor if written without profanity, have to be published in the paper (at least around here they do)
  • Sorry, I don't speak or read Russian, so I can't check.

    But I was wondering if it is a big story in Russia. It certanly is a big story in the internet "underground".

    Currently more people seem concerned with the "imminent collapse" (yawn) of the internet due to the code red worm than the release of Dimitry.

    I would hope that this is a big story over there, if it is it increases the likelyhood that the story will eventually "leak" back to the west.

    Well, at least we can hope.
  • by ScottyB ( 13347 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:55AM (#2179792)
    Perhaps, but I think that is unlikely. Apply Occam's Razor to the situation; is it more likely that the big media companies are conspiring all the way down to the editorial and reporter level to prevent Joe Public from reading about the case in the morning paper, or is it more likely that Joe Reporter and Joe Editor in general do not know much about technology and law issues (not to mention does Joe Law-Column-Writer knows about the technology issues involved?) to be able to understand the nuances of the story?

    Also, consider an editor's take on the issue; even if the editor does understand the technology and law nuances, does he think that his audience will understand well enough to make a story worthwhile or newsworthy?

    The bottom line is that YOU, the audience, need to start writing more letters-to-the-editor and op-ed submissions to make the editors and reporters realize the importance of the issue instead of laying back and producing conspiracy theories as to why the issue has not appeared in mainstream media.

    I can cite all sorts of foreign (to Americans) news, including civil wars in Central and South America, kidnappings of American citizens abroad, etc. that never even make it to the "World Summary" columns of your major newspapers because the editors do not seem to think that it is newsworthy. There are stories about it; you can go to the Voice of America [] and read a lot of the wire copy that the major media outlets certainly get as well, but the bottom line is it is deemed "un-newsworthy" for Joe Public.
  • The fisrt ammendment is already ruined. Organizations like the boy scouts which use it to discriminate, or the salvation army which is trying to do the same are saying it is against my fist ammendment right to have so and so work for me. Now they say gays, next it coudl be blacks or asians or whatever.

    In the russian guys case, is he a US citizen? If not he may not be thought of to have any rights in the US.

    Persoanlly I think that this is bull crap, but there are large companies involved here and the goverment. Didn't you people ever watch the x files.. people disappear all the time. IN a few months it will be who was that guy?

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • Hmm where in the boy scouts does it say you must be straight? It says 'morally straight' not heterosexual staright, there is a difference. They found out there was someone gay in the organization and they decided to get ride of him just because he was gay. Not becuase he molested someone, not because he flaunted it, but because he was gay. He was not teaching or promoting the fact that he was gay to anyone in the boy scouts. It is not in their teachings, it is the biggoted ways of some of the boy scout elders, who are probably white biggots and would remove blacks and asians if they could.

    The message that this sends is that it is okay to hate someone or exclude someone just because they are gay. So where does that end? Hate people or exclude them cause you THINK that they are gay as well? Did you know that may of the current school shootings were by kids that were CALLED gay or queer? So how about a gay bashing goup in school or an anti gay group in school? Hmm we stop nazi's cause they hate more than just gays, they hate jews and blacks as well. So where does the hate end?

    This teaches people that gays bad and that it is okay to NOT accept them. Or even worse to be called or thought of as gay is also bad.

    "It is the right of the Boy Scouts to set their own agenda".. and it should be the right of public schools and public organizations to prohibit boy scouts and other hate teaching organizations from using their facilities as well, yet the hate mongers think that thay should have to right to hate and spread there hate.

    "To impose upon the Boy Scouts a mandate that the gay guy be admitted would be the equivalent to the metaphorical "fist in the face" of which Holmes speaks. ".. and Holmes is a biggot! Plain and simple. To impose upon cities, states and counties that have gay rights laws inacted to accept this is and equal slap to the face. This is flat out discrimination based on what you think a gay person is like. Many cities and counties have enacted anti gay discrimination laws, and if you discriminate against gays it is a violation of this law. Ideally it would be in the constitution right after color, creed, it would say sexual orientation.

    If your religion teaches hate then I want no part of it. Maybe someday the boy scouts and other hate organizations will open up their eyes and realize that this is just another form of hate...."

    "Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law?" Jesus said unto him,"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul , and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." And the second is like unto it, "Thou shalt love thy neightbor as thyself." Matthew 22:36-39

    .. no where does it say except if he is gay, straight, black, white, male, female, or any other exclusion... I bet you call yourself a Christian as well?

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • I think the boy scouts policy shoudl be like the girl scouts atleast. LEave it up to the troups not the whole organization. The boy scouts are even divided from within. DId it help them to exclude gays? NO it helped a few small minded people. If you include your self in that group then.

    "Exclusion does not imply hatred". No? In this case it does. There are some people that hate gays and they exclude them and teach other their hateful ways.

    I don't want a lot, I just want it all!
    Flame away, I have a hose!

  • Here's a theory. Perhaps there is a connection to the fact that the media, especially broadcast media, is owned by the companies that paid for the DMCA? Do you really think Disney-owned ABC is going to come out against the DMCA? Do you really think AOL/Time/Warner, with membership in the RIAA the MPAA and the DVD-CCA, is going to come out against the DMCA? Maybe your local paper (which almost certainly is not locally owned) is slightly more likely to be critical of the DMCA. But more than likely they have their eye on eBook style protections for their own content.

    Remember, the DMCA is a law written by and for media companies! A few articles have gotten out. The NYTimes for example has covered it. But the vast majority of the media has not. If you ever needed a clearer example of self-censorship, you probably won't find one.
  • Wow. Because men aren't capable of fidelity unless their wives beat them into it?

    Damn, and I thought *I* had a low opinion of these schmucks.

    Seriously, how on earth can their wives be faulted for the husbands behavior? Are these not grown men?

  • So if they left their husbands, their husbands would no longer be interested in 19 year old girls? I doubt it.

    And from personal observation, I doubt that the threat of having a wife leave is enough to get a guy to stop going after other women.

    I don't think it's adultery that is the problem here, anyway -- it's grown men in positions of power using those positions of power to go after half grown girls, and then lying about it.

  • I would say no, because the Tipper Gore business was, in a sense, protecting us from ourselves (or so they'd have us believe). The PMRC was about letting parents know explicitely that albums contained whatever language was deemed offensive, and was, in a way, a strike back to the relatively new-at-the-time political correctness. It was about maintaining the appearance of values while not limiting the speech itself.

    The DMCA isn't even vaguely in the same vein. It's not trying to help anyone be more aware parents, or anything like that. It's about money and power, not just power.

    As a teen in the eighties, I always viewed one of the "explicit lyrics" stickers as a shopping tag, telling me what was likely to irritate adults around me, and went straight for the album. You couldn't get in trouble with the law for having an album with unacceptable words. That's certainly not the case with the DMCA and related laws, though. So while I think it's a decent connection, I don't think the DMCA laws are any sort of outgrowth of the PMRC efforts.
  • I still disagree. Free speech doesn't mean anyone has to listen nor does it refer to market availability. It means certain words won't get you thrown in jail. I'm not a huge fan of PMRC; parents should know what their kid listens to if for no other reason than to at least know what their kid likes.

    However, you can't honestly argue that what Wal Mart chooses to sell or not sell equates to stifling of expression. Whether someone in a small Wal Mart-only town can conveniently purchase an album with explicit lyrics is irrelevant to free speech. The fact remains it is not illegal for them to do so, nor illegal for the artist to produce the work.
  • have an affair with Judge Marilyn Patel...

    Tonight! - On Springer!

  • You just forgot the first rule, reporters want to make themselves look good. Calling a "Hacker" a reporter would put a negative light on all reporters, thus not making them look good.
    I'm saying this from the viewpoint that most reporters probably had in the case, I personally believe 2600 was in the right and all.
  • Assuming that Mr. Taco and Mr. Neil are selfless lamas immuned to the allure of money...

    They're not, though. Mr. Taco sold slashdot, for a seven digit sum.

  • I live near DC. Funny thing is, we've been putting up with those stories for a couple of weeks longer than the rest of the country.

    Funny thing: my wife noticed this morning that there actually is 'new' news on the intern. It seems something 'new' pops up every time the media attention starts to die down.

    And while I'm OT... CourtTV is having a special tonight to answer the question: "Should politicians not date interns?" Well no f***ing s**t!! These guys are married. OF COURSE they shouldn't be dating. Of course, I blame the women *cough* Hillary *cough* who stand by these shmucks time and time and time again.

  • The ACLU: Where 90% of the Bill of Rights Matters
  • One murder and no rapes? Guess you get your statistics from the same place that college campuses get their statistics on rape and assaults.

  • Hmm, just called them and it's USD$92,000.00 ... Money that will most likely be much-better spent both on Dmitry's defense, and in helping the EFF battle the DMCA.

    I remember that to make a public statement Terry Gilliam took out a full-page ad in Variety [] ... looks like that's an expensive luxury. :-(

    I'm submitting the story and writing letters to the local papers here though.
  • by Hobart ( 32767 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @08:29AM (#2179818) Homepage Journal
    The Wall Street Journal Contact Page [] (print edition) says [mailto] is where to send press releases, and [mailto] is where to send letters to the Editor.
    The New York Times [] contact page says to go here [] for letters and here [] for op-ed pieces.
    You know, I wonder how much full-page ads are in these papers ... maybe someone can organize a paypal-chip-in campaign to take out some full page ads letting people know about this?
  • You have no idea what the hell you are talking about. I feel dirty responding to this. I don't know whether I just got trolled or not, but I'll bite.
    1 oz. citrate caffeine
    1 oz. vanilla
    2½ oz. flavoring *
    4 oz. fluid extract of coca
    3 oz. citric acid
    1 qt. lime juice
    30 lbs. sugar
    2½ gal. water
    * orange, lemon, nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander, neroli oils, alcohol
    Oh God, They're breaking down the door!!!!

    You absofuckinglutely would not get thrown in jail for publishing a recipe. As long as it was you screwing around in your kitchen and you came up with how it was done there is no way in hell anyone could sue you, much less bring criminal charges against you.
    If on the other hand you worked for coca-cola, were made privy to the recipe then published it you could face CIVIL charges. No one has ever gone to jail for anything like this ever, it's something out of a Kafka novel and I keep hearing these wet fart noises from bleating sheep saying "but he broke the law". Who gives a damn if he broke a law? It's a stupid law, and people have an obligation to break stupid laws. It's movement towards making the stupid law go away.
  • I just realized they left one important clause out of the DMCA. They should have made it illegal to criticize the DMCA in public.
  • by gorilla ( 36491 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:47AM (#2179826)
    Actually no you wouldn't. The coca cola secret formula was published in the book "Big Secrets: The Uncensored Truth About All Sorts of Stuff You Are Never Supposed to Know []", by William Poundstone, along with the blend of 11 secret herbs & spices, and other 'secrets'.
  • Wow did the BBC actually kill someone? Cool can you provide a link to where the BBC actually used a gun to threaten or kill someone that would be an interesting read.

    BTW both the PBS and the NPR get federal funding.
  • The nature of an electronic document calls for a completely different kind of law to protect it, as compared to the laws governing the copyright of a printed book, for example.

    If that is your position, then you should advocate that Adobe et al advance it through the only honest approach -- an amendment to the U. S. Constitution which would make such a "different kind of law" (copyright protection decoupled from the public interest and having no time limit) legal.

  • How do we protect the economic value of copyrighted works in a world of "free" copying and distribution?

    Er, the same way you protect the economic value of small portable objects in a world of nimble fingers -- 1)take reasonable security precautions and 2)prosecute the specific individuals who are caught stealing (not those who might steal, not those who possess the ability to steal, nor even those who teach the fine art of prestidigitation... those who do steal).

    This ain't quantum physics, folks.

  • Yes I would - If there was a series of speakers, heck - even one speaker (hell, I would volunteer to speak!) - I would be willing to attend.

    If such a thing ever occurs, I propose that we do an actual march/walk to the site where the rally would be held - say over the course of 10-20 miles. Hold the rally for a couple of days - camp out if need be.

    I am tired of all this shit - I want my rights - all of them!

    What the hell, people? Why aren't more people replying to this comment? Do any of you really care? WTF??!!

    I have written my congressmen about this issue - I will be participating in the Saturday meet in Phoenix (missed last saturday, and can't get off work for today's meet - but I will be there this weekend!).

    What does it take?

    Worldcom [] - Generation Duh!
  • Sorry Katz. A germane defense of the hacker, but your analogies are falling short in modern times.

    When you mention the Post and the NY Times in the Vietnam and Watergate eras, it's a false analogy. Today, so many of the large news agencies are owned by corporations with huge interests in government contracts (e.g., NBC and General Electric). The military-industrial complex has become the military-industrial-media complex.

    Also, you mention imagining the Washington Post not reporting on Microsoft. Well, recently they have due to the anti-trust case. But they are in legal agreements with MSNBC (peruse the MSNBC site to see how many articles are from Newsweek and the Washington Post (Newsweek is owned by the Post)).

    My point? The press ain't what it used to be. The best example: go register an account for Netscape mail then visit the site. Know what you'll see at the top of the screen?

    Welcome, username

    The times, they are a changing.
  • I submitted this as a news story and it was rejected and also posted in a previous story about Dmitry.

    I read a disheartening story [] the other day in the NY Times Magazine about 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. In addition to the Dmitry case, the media has not covered this story. I guess they are too busy following Gary Condit around. The trial of John Tobin was very well covered in Russia where it had OJ Simpson-like popularity.

    As a solution to both problems, I propose that the US and Russia have a good, old fashioned, prisoner exchange. Current coverage [] is also available from the NY Times.

  • I commend your action; the EFF will get a cut of my rebate as well. However, I should point out that there is no "social security fund". Social security benefits are paid out of payroll taxes, and excess payroll taxes are spent on general expenditures; with the baby boomers nearing retirement this pyramid scheme is about to collapse. It is extremely important (especially for those in the average Slashdot demographic) that we move from a pay-as-you-go system to a system where you can accumulate actual assets instead of promises from the government to tax the hell out of future generations.
  • It could be that the story ran on (which it did) and got very few hits (which it probably did ... think "russian hacker arrested by fbi"), and the news editors said "well, we don't really need to run this on the news because the public isn't interested."

    While they do occasionally run stories that do not interest the public, we can't always expect them to do that. I'm sure they do not care about chandra levy either (although they have a sick fascination with the kennedys).

    Unfortunately, even though I hate protests, I think they are the way to go. Get Dmitri to go on a hunger strike or something. I hate to say this, but it's true ... this guy getting arrested is *exactly* the kind of ammunition we need to fight the DMCA.

  • How noble of you. Maybe if he killed himself he might be even more useful as a martyr.

    Heh. It's just that going on a hunger strike has about the most effect of anything a single person can do (see northern ireland).

  • Hey, I never said anything about conspiricy. I agree with you .. I just dont think a newspaper will see it as newsworthy, nor help their cause (or their parents) in any fashion.

    I read this story on page 20 of my local daily. I don't believe anyone who says their local newspaper didn't mention it. But remember, if it's on page 20, public awareness is 1% of what it would be if it was first page. It never reaches a critical mass public awareness. And who decides first page? Editor. And how many large circulation papers are there in the States? Let's say .. lets say .. hrm, 50. The idea that the 40 or so editors (assuming one editor for each paper, although its more likely that papers owned by the same company go with the same big stories) would have to be 'on side' is not really a big number. In fact, they probably think what you're thinking when they are dealing with pressure from above on plugging certain stories and not running with others. So I don't think you have to be a huge conspiricy theorist to aknowledge that public awareness for 80% of people probably consists of a relatively small number of publications, and consequently a relatively small number of editors who'd rather fly with the voice from above than risk job security and shake the boat.

    If newspapers found out tommorow that crack-cocaine was the cure for cancer, do you really believe that'd be the story you'd see in the paper, considering the government spends 20 billion dollars are a year trying to keep it off the streets?

  • Puuleeeease. I'm talking about the news here, not what airs during prime time on television. The news will always be shown .. I wasn't saying big brother decides what shows to watch, I was saying what big brother decides what headline to run. And yes, sometimes that headline will be chosen because people eat it up (Elian Gonzalez), but sometimes a headline is run (or isn't, Dmitry) for business purposes. And when business clashes with ethics, thats when you get a 'conspiricy'. Conspiricy is just a dirty word for it .. ironically, the rules of democracy and capitalism encourage 'conspiricies'. Ie, lies or misinformation spread from company (big media) to consumer (you). Don't tell me because you worked at CBS you can confirm there is no big conspiricy ... history is rife with people working for evil, without even being aware of it.
  • > Really, yours is the most subtly deceptive reasoning because it infers that a "conspiracy" is required to silence dissident voices. In actuality, the people who write for these publications are only there because they have kissed the right asses. If they were any threat to write something rational or honest they would have been sniffed out long ago and had their access to power stripped from them.

    Right on, brother! I only wish more people understood that much of the unacceptable pain, persecution, and general discontent people experience in their lifetimes are the result not of evil-by-choice organizations, but rather evil-by-choice people leading ignorant/obendient-by-choice people. I could not have written it better myself. Give the man a prize! :)

    Props to the Noam Chomsky archive there.
  • Incidentally, I'm a programmer who works on C/C++/CORBA enterprise scale distributed apps, and I'd say I never need to use more than grade 10 math. Actually, my friend, who worked for a company that developed complex financial economics simulation software never had to use math; all math was provided by .. guess what .. mathematicians!

    Yes, there are obviously some math skills required for programming, but in many many cases (GUI programming, scripting, distributed computing, etc), the math is very simple (object oriented methodology is far more likely to be important coming into a programming job than having to engage in above-high-school level math.) Thus, the argument employers were using, blaming the lack of talent on a lack of math skills seen in domestic potential hires, is clearly false.

    Anyhow, if you really felt you could discredit a huge report based on one snarky line, you're a part of the group that doesn't need the system to pull the wool over its eyes .. it's already there!
  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:41AM (#2179859) Homepage
    Wondering why the big media outlets havn't advertised the scandal is like wondering why the Army doesn't hand out "War Kills People" brochures. The big media outlets are controled by the content providers, and the content providers want this kid nailed to the wall. It's as simple as that. Sad, wrong, but simple.
  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:49AM (#2179860) Homepage
    Your news comes from big media content providers (think Time Warner AOL). Big media content providers want Dmitry nailed to a wall. You know that story a few days ago on /. about silicon valley using immigrant workers to keep salaries low? The story was actually circulated for publication 2 years ago, but no big paper would pick it up for fear of damaging themselves (they probably did it), and damaging the best story they had in years (the .com boom). News gets censored by media outlets ALL THE TIME. What's frightening is that people still think that news providers only have a slight 'political bias'. Untrue. They practice outright public awareness management. It's sad how controlled everyone's level of awareness is. Visit to see what I'm talking about.

    At any rate, to answer your original question, anyone in the software biz right now (save for Adobe), and publishing industry want him in jail. The types they want to know about his arrest (he's an example to be made of) will know it from reading the trade sites (like /., cnet), while the rest of the world won't know, so won't care.
  • by bwt ( 68845 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @11:21AM (#2179861) Homepage
    Perhaps the best way to explain the DMCA to people who are unfamiliar with it is by comparison to historical abuses that are firmly accepted as wrong:

    In 1377, John Wycliffe was brought before the Roman Catholic Church because he had the audacity to declare that the common man had the right to read the bible, which he had translated from the Church's sanctioned latin into English. The position of the Church on common vernacular translation was known from the time of the Spanish inquisition. Spanish bible translators were often beaten, tortured, and burned alive. Spanish clergyman Alfonso de Castro gave the opinion of Church in these words: "the translation of the scriptures into the vernacular tongues, with the reading of them by the vulgar, is the true fountain of all heresies." Wycliffe was lucky to merely be arrested and excommunicated. The church did eventually dig him up and burn his bones, however.

    In 2001, cryptography and computer code have replaced latin, while eBooks take the role of the Bible. The "Copyright Industry" and the government agencies like the FBI that march to their drum have replaced the pre-reform Catholic Church as the organization that uses secret languages to control the thoughts of their "audience". After John Wycliffe asserted the right of the people to read, this principle became a central tenent of all church reformers and was strong in the protestant groups that eventually formed the United States of America.

    Today, as then, the right of the people to access the thoughts contained in the media they obtain legally, without regard to "technological protection measures", such as latin, object code, cryptography or obfuscation, is inherent in the First Amendment and the fundamental human rights which transcend government.

    Conversely, the supposed right to control access to copyrighted works against circumvention, asserted by the DMCA is a false right, and it must be facially rejected because it conflicts inescapably with the right to read. This "right" is completely distinct from the one it was supposedly created to protect, which is the right of authors to authorize the first sale of their works.

    Citations: if fe.htm ib le.htm
  • by pcx ( 72024 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:40AM (#2179865)
    The major news outlets are all owned by the big media companies. CNN is time/warner, ABC is disney, yada yada yada. The big media companies all have their fingers in the news outlets in one way or another and they'll gladly sacrifice their news divisions freedom a little if they can force you to shell over an extra $20.00 to listen to what they're calling music these days.

    That's why most of the useful news I get these days comes from Slashdot and not CNN.

  • but in using your example its not the fact that he was selling xeroxed copies of a stephen king book that got him arested. Its because he designed and built a xerox machine.
  • by geomon ( 78680 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:41AM (#2179880) Homepage Journal
    Face it, this guy will rot in jail before the public has any idea that he even exists. Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that the public does find out that a 26-year-old Russian citizen is being held without bond in a US jail. American public opinion will not be swayed to express outrage because he isn't a US citizen held in a foreign jail.

    The State of Texas executed a foreign national without giving him right to meet with his embassy. This is a right guaranteed to foreign nationals by treaty. The fact that someone could be held without access to their national ambassadorial staff is pitiful enough. The fact that they can be held without due process guaranteed under the Constitution is scandalous.

    But the public just doesn't care....

    It is fucking depressing.

  • by geomon ( 78680 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @08:12AM (#2179881) Homepage Journal
    Why should a non citizen of the U.S. be afforded the same rights as a citizen.

    1) He has the right to meet with representatives of the Russian Embassy. That has not happened. This is a right guaranteed by treaty.

    2) It doesn't matter whether he is a US citizen or not, he has a right to due process.

    Look at the hell the U.S. had to go through to get a convicted murderer(Ira Einhorn) extradited from France.

    Not exactly apples to apples comparison, is it?

    But the Einhorn case could have been sped up if it hadn't been for the idiots in Pennsylvania trying him in absentia. That was a screw up on their part, not France's.

    Do you see the difference?

    Why should the U.S. afford a foreign national the opportunity to escape?

    Why have bail at all then? Anyone could flee from the jurisdiction they are indicted in, can't they? Take his passport.

    Sorry, but the constitution just doesn't come into play in this instance.

    Why, just because you've said so?

    The Supreme Court has said otherwise. They still gave Cuban's the right to due process (it took forever, but they got their day in court) when Castro emptied his jails and sent the felons north. The Supreme Court just told the Immigration Service that they cannot hold foreign nationals without charging them - even when they have served their sentences.

    Sounds like due process to me (derived, my dear colleage, from the Constitution).

    Foreign nationals should behave themselves in any country they visit.

    That is a given, isn't it?

    Are you saying that we shouldn't assume he is innocent until proven guilty?

    Just because the the U.S. appears to be more liberal with accused criminals than many other countries does not mean that the same liberal treatment can or should be extended to a foreign national.

    Right; let's just jettison the Constitution when it becomes a problem.

    I hope you're not running for an elected office.

    Non citizens should be made fully aware that they neither deserve nor get the same priviledges as a citizen.

    And on that point, as with so many others in this thread, you are just dead wrong.

  • There's a space in the URL that prevented it from working. Take it out and it works. The story is here [].
  • ...let's protest the lack of media coverage!

    Everyone get down to your local news affiliate and start protesting the lack of attention.

    If enough people do that...the story of the media being protesting the lack of news will itself become news...and thus draw attention to the core issue about which we are protesting a lack of news!

    I'm serious! If we tell reporters they are being negligent in hiding the truth that's a challenge I doubt they could resist. As soon as one news organization posts a story, they will all have to me-too or look like toadies to corporate interestes (which they are but they hate it being shown true).

    - JoeShmoe
  • Instead of writing to your congressman / senator, why doesn't someone try running for that office?

    We do a lot of whining and there are a lot of calls for letters to be written but is anyone truly making the sacrafice of public office?

    Why isn't there a well spoken geek that could run for either congressman / senator and address these issues as the voice of our demographic?

    We could have a geek get out the vote.

    I would like to hear what the /. populous thinks. Can we send one of our own to the seat of power where real change can be effected?
  • I believe that there is a common set of ideas that "we" support.

    These include but are not limited to:


    Note that I'm not including much else as this is a very diverse group.

    I am of the opinion that a representative should listen to their district or in this case, group (geeks) and properly provide them with a voice.

    This person should be one that is charismatic enough to sway opinion yet technical enough to understand issues important to their represented base.

    It is not for me to decide what "we" believe, just as it is not up to the representative. It is the represented's responsibility to inform their representative what they believe.

    This is much different than the deaf ear our pleas fall on now.
  • I am responding because this is something I feel quite strongly about.

    You are quite correct that most politicians do have a lot of personality and charisma. I have none of this, but there are geeks who do. We find them and call them to the plate. If they run, good, if not, we find someone else.

    Political Science and Law are fine backgrounds, but it is not a requirement to run. To risk overgeneralization, geeks like to identify and solve problems and learn new things.

    To win office it takes money in order to swing popular opinion. Geeks as a general rule tend to be middle class or above (read as disposable income) and tend to devote themselves to some form of evangelism (OS wars, editor wars, desktop wars, etc.).

    Lastly, yes geeks and intelligent people in general are a minority. History shows that minority groups can dramatically influence elections if they vote in significant numbers.

    I believe this can be done. Will it be easy. No but it is not impossible.

    A geek in a real office will give these issues a place they can be heard and fairly weighed. It will require support from the community as well as the right candidate.

  • by Zaphod B ( 94313 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:50AM (#2179902) Journal

    Are you sure he's been in jail for two weeks? I'm a little confused on that point.

    To paraphrase Scott Adams, you've had a BLINDING FLASH OF THE OBVIOUS!

    I don't know how to tell you this... but maybe if I shout way up into your ivory tower...the popular media aren't going to go running to Vegas and San Jose because this isn't the kind of news story that Joe AOL cares about.

    Now quit ranting, strap your soapbox to your back, and go do something about it instead of ranting impotently. You're preaching to the choir here.

    Zaphod B
  • OK, I wrote 'ole Dennis. If you did too, sound off below!!!
  • by cybrpnk ( 94636 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:57AM (#2179905)

    I agree media coverage of the Sklyarov arrest has been a (non-existant) travesty. I have an idea, bear with me for a paragraph here. I noticed over the past few days that a USA Today reporter named Dennis Cauchon has written two stories on First Amendment arrests (although they were buried on the inside pages) here [] and here []. To quote his story, "At the Justice Department's request, a federal judge jailed freelance writer Vanessa Leggett on July 20 on contempt of court charges after she refused to turn over notes, tape recordings and other material she collected while researching a book on the slaying of Doris Angleton in 1997. Angleton was the wife of Robert Angleton, a millionaire ex-bookie who was acquitted in 1998 of hiring his brother to commit the murder."

    Seems to me 'ole Dennis might be interested in the current party going on in Dimitri's Las Vegas cell, if only he knew about it. And USA Today might print what 'ole Dennis dug up on the story. So I'm gonna email 'ole Dennis at and give him an earful of URLs. Why don't ya'll email 'ole Dennis, too, and show him what the Slashdot Effect is all about?

  • Oh please that's a bunch of FUD.

    Again, I say: Show me evidence to the contrary, or show me something that discounts my evidence. You say it's a bunch of FUD, but that's it. If you want to argue with someone, you need to learn to back up your points. You clearly haven't learned that.

  • Why isn't there a well spoken geek that could run for either congressman / senator and address these issues as the voice of our demographic?

    We could have a geek get out the vote.

    I would like to hear what the /. populous thinks. Can we send one of our own to the seat of power where real change can be effected?

    I think there are several reasons for this, and I'm sure most people will agree with me on at least some of these.

    1: Public officials tend to have an outgoing personality and a lot of charisma. Most geeks, unfortunately (and this inclues me), don't.

    2: Most public officials have political science or law backgrounds. Few geeks do.

    I'd love to see a geek in office, and hey, I'm not a fan of Dubya, but he's about as close as we have come. He's a big computer game fan. I don't know if that's a good or bad thing, but I don't care for him either way.

    I don't think it'll be long before a geek does take office, but it will be only one. Remember, as much as we like to think to the contrary, WE ARE THE MINORITY. The general public is stupid. I don't mean that as an insult, but it's just the fact. If you're on this web site, it's unlikely you're part of the "majority" in a lot of ways, and it's unlikely that the "majority" will relate to you.

    Interesting, my first experience with, really being part of the minority was when I moved to Mexico. It gives you a great perspective of what blacks and other minorities go through when you move to a country like that. All of a sudden, you're the minority, and people look down on you because of it. I think everyone should have to experience it. It could go a long way to fixing race problems in this country. Sorry, I'm digressing about 180 degrees from the topic, aren't I? Oh well, I hate hitting the backspace key. Live with it.

  • Computers are only objective if they're programmed to be objective. I can program a computer to be biased however I want.

    Not really. You're just making an objective machine as subjective as yourself. It's still objective. The computer doesn't care, hence its subjectivity.

  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @08:07AM (#2179909)
    actually it's very rare that someone gets fucked in the ass in prison. Well except for the gay dudes who like it and do it by choice. Most prisoners are very homophobic and would never do it. Most likely Dmitri is playing cards, lifting weights, or watching cable tv right now...

    Really? Do you have experience in this area? I do. My company does a lot of work with prisons, and I guarantee that this does actually happen a great deal. I also have a family member who has a pretty checkered past and has done quite a few years in prison, and though he won't speak about it directly, he made it pretty clear that that stuff still happens. So, I'd like to see your evidence to support your case.

    I have evidence. Check here [] and here [] if you want a lot of references. Or, try this on Google [].

    Then tell me that this is a thing of the past.

  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @08:28AM (#2179910)
    The major news outlets are all owned by the big media companies. CNN is time/warner, ABC is disney, yada yada yada. The big media companies all have their fingers in the news outlets in one way or another and they'll gladly sacrifice their news divisions freedom a little if they can force you to shell over an extra $20.00 to listen to what they're calling music these days.

    That's why most of the useful news I get these days comes from Slashdot and not CNN.

    Not my experience at all. My father is an editor for a major newpaper owned by a major media company. Does that mean they avoid stories that put their parent companies in a bad light? Nope. Check out CNN's web site. I've seen plenty of negative coverage of AOL/Time-Warner. They always have the disclaimer at the bottom saying that CNN's parent company is AOL/Time-Warner, but they are happy to report anything negative about it.

    Are they objective? No, nobody is objective. Computers are objective. Humans, by definition, are subjective, regardless of what some may say. Still reporters go to where the news is. They're salesmen/saleswomen. They report on what gets read. Remember, it's still a business, and if it's not getting them readership, then it's not worth printing. It has nothing to do with the ties of the parent company.

    What does the average American know or care about the DMCA. Pracically none. We are in the minority. A very, very small minority. Unfortunately, people these days are more concerned with who the President is boffing, or who Condit is having an affair with, or misinterpreting the results of studies on children and the media. These are things that sell. Some Russian gets thrown in jail for breaking an American law? Not really big news. There's still a lot of cold-war anger. Russians are still seen as the "bad guys". One of them gets thrown in jail? Who cares? I do, you do, but honestly, are we part of the majority? Nope. That's why we come to Slashdot. When Slashdot becomes the voice of the majority (Warning: About 1 million years of evolution of the human species required), then maybe some of this will change.

  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:58AM (#2179911)
    Why don't people here do what people have been doing for years. Something that, in the information age, is easier than ever. Write your representatives. Your congressman, your senators. They all have web sites and e-mail. E-mail them and tell them what you think about the arrest. Tell them what you think of the DMCA. That's how you influence the laws they make.

    Despite what many people think, your representatives aren't just there to serve the interests of lobbyists, though they make a lot of progress because they're persistant. They WANT to get re-elected, and you're the ones that elect them. They know that, and if enough people complain, they're going to do what you want because if enough of us complain, they're going to know their job is in jeapordy.

    Remember, we live in a Republic (not a Democracy as everyone is fond of saying, read about the difference). You representatives are elected by YOU. That means that YOU can tell them they suck and if they don't straighten up and fly right, you won't vote for them the next time they're up for re-election.

    Just my personal opinion, but I've written my representatives. I've e-mailed the president. They know my view. If enough people do the same, I guarantee you that this stuff, while not responded to personally, goes into a statistics sheet that tells them, at the end of the day, where their supporters stand.

    I don't say this unknowing. I have an uncle who was a U.S. senator up untila couple of years ago, and e-mail was used heavily to gauge the opinions of the people in his office, and I'm pretty sure that he was the rule, not the exception. They all have software that makes this stuff (e-mailed opinions) pretty easy to quantify without having to read each and every e-mail in detail.

  • Doesn't anyone remember how computer geeks were treated in high school? From total disdain to outright hostility?

    This is just the same thing, with everyone a few years older.

  • OK, I wish Sklyarov got more press. But I'm reluctant to blame the alleged biases of the media. I'm afraid the story is actually not as newsworthy as geeks think it is. In the time that Sklyarov has been in jail, how many people were arrested in America? Does anyone know or care? Do you care about Joe Shmoe who was arrested for falsifying meat inspection forms in North Carolina? Maybe it's a big deal to the meat industry, maybe it's unjust, but you don't care. You don't have the bandwidth to know and care about all the people arrested in the US in the last couple of weeks.
    Conspiracy theories aside, the media sells to Joe Sixpack. He wants to see the president fucking interns, Tim McVeigh, the Unabomber, riots, wars. And if the media were willing to go all "high-minded" and ignore what their customers want, they still wouldn't show much of Sklyarov. They'd talk about hungry people hurt by welfare reform, medicare, and other issues that seem important to them.
    You'd like to make the media show Sklyarov, which would bore the hell out of normal people. Meanwhile, there are a million crackpots with different agendas they'd like the media to cover. None of them are what the consumers want.
  • Why should a non citizen of the U.S. be afforded the same rights as a citizen.

    Because Human rights are Universal, that is why they are called 'Human Rights' and not 'American rights'.

    Article 11 of the UN Charter on Human Rights' says

    (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

    (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the time the penal offence was committed.

  • I request that you put pressure on FBI and other Department of Justice authorities to free Dmitry Sklyarov from prison. He has been in prison for over two weeks now, has not been formally charged and to the best of my knowledge hasn't even had his first day in court. He is a Russian national that was arrested for doing the following:

    1. The company he works for in Russia Elcomsoft made him create a program that disables the protection on the Adobe eBook file format so that it can be read or printed by legitimate users on their home computers without special Adobe software. Adobe complained to the FBI saying that he violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by creating this software, however that is irrelevant as this act took place in Russia where the creation of such software is perfectly legal under the legal code of the Russian Federation.

    2. He gave a scholarly dissertation to an audience at a security conference in the United States about the claims that Adobe makes about their eBook product and the actual capabilities of it that he discovered in the creation of his software.

    I highly disapprove of the government's involvement in this case and its actions so far. Dmitry Sklyarov has a young wife and two small children that he must provide for back in Russia. He is being treated in a way that the government should never treat a legal visitor, resident alien or citizen of the United States of America. As an American citizen and voter I do not appreciate my government taking such actions which tarnish our country's record on civil liberties and blatantly violate both the text and the spirit of the United States Constitution.

    Thank you for your time.

  • My bet is the EFF sues it all the way up to the supreme court, where they do one of two things.

    They have a third option: to simply decline to hear the case, and let lower court rulings stand. This is what has happened with all Second Amendment cases for decades: the Supremes, without comment, decline to review the appeal.

    But I don't think they would do that for the DMCA; I think they would cheerfully grab the DMCA and rip it up, given a chance, so let's get this to them now.


  • by 11thangel ( 103409 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:47AM (#2179925) Homepage
    Everyone knows this is only gonna end in court. My bet is the EFF sues it all the way up to the supreme court, where they do one of two things.

    1. Declare the DMCA unconstitutional
    2. Declare the 1st ammendment unconstitutional

    Any bets onto which one?
  • And remember to vote at the bottom. The more votes the better. The more people that see this and read it, the more chance that this won't just get 'lost' in the media. The sooner he gets home to his family the better.
  • CBS is owned by Viacom who are not necesarily our friends [] on copyright issues. Your local affiliate did well to give coverage, but as an entity I wouldn't trust CBS farther than I can throw it.

    Viacom does however own the network that runs the best news program in America, the Peabody Award [] winning Daily Show [] on Comedy Central. []

  • If you want to see free reporting, look to the BBC.
    Oh, that's crap. Every news source has its biases. I will agree that some are a lot less sensationalistic than others, but none of them are "free."

    Big media in fact criticize big advertizers a lot. A few years ago, NBC _faked_ a report on GM trucks catching fire in crashes, despite the fact that GM is the second biggest advertizer. Nor did the fact that Ford is a huge advertizer result in any lack of coverage of the huge Firestone-Ford tire debacle.

    By the way, we have non-profit news sources here, too, including PBS (dull) and NPR (very good). The get most of their money by asking, though, instead of using the gun, as the BBC does.

  • by Mr. Sketch ( 111112 ) <mister.sketch@gm ... om minus painter> on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:57AM (#2179931)
    how to copy and paste. I knew I had read all of this before []. Most of the paragraphs look like they were directly copy and pasted out of that new york times article.

    Or maybe they just ran the KatzBot on that NYT article. In which case I'm very disappointed in the KatzBot, I didn't see 'Corporate Republic' mentioned or even post-Columbine, maybe the KatzBot is broken.

    I'd rather be trolling for [].
  • by anonimato ( 122087 ) <sfmoe@hotm a i l .com> on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:42AM (#2179948)
    msnbc has a story on it here []
  • by gowen ( 141411 ) <> on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:39AM (#2179968) Homepage Journal
    When reporters were threatened with law enforcement pressure and jail during the Watergate and Pentagon Papers cases, whole forests were felled in the pre-digital age with stories, books, even movies about courageous reporters fighting for the First Amendment
    You've stumbled on a truth here. There is literally nothing that reporters like better than a story about reporters. Especially if the story makes them, or their profession, out to be noble, honest and all those other things they're largely not. Bet your life that if Dmitry had been a Russian journalist, the press outcry would've been so great he'd be home with his family by now.
  • by Sonicboom ( 141577 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:40AM (#2179970) Journal
    The MEDIA lobbied to get DMCA passed through congress... they know it's a shady law.

    After the whole DeCSS thing, the public opinion swayed against the DMCA...

    So it makes sense that the media isn't giving a nanosecond towards Dmitri.... they don't want any more bad press about their DMCA.

    Once people realize that the DMCA is a violation of our US constitution - people will fight to get rid of it! The media doesn't want to lose their golden sword!
  • by sulli ( 195030 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:43AM (#2180014) Journal
    yesterday's Times op-ed by Lessig? [] Pretty good, I thought. It was in Slashback too.

    KQED radio (San Francisco) had a bit on the Dmitry protests today also. Are stations in other markets covering this?

  • by maddogsparky ( 202296 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:46AM (#2180022)
    Editors worry about market share, to satisfy their bosses who worry about shareholder value, who don't really matter because the company execs have all the stock options and decision power.

    Since the big news agencies answer to the same corporate masters that produce (other) copyrighted material, why would it be in their best interest to overturn a law that guarantees them more profit at the expence of the common good?

    Let me say that again. Big news media is owned by big business - they don't want the DMCA overturned, so why should they report on how it is abusing the Constitution?

  • by smagruder ( 207953 ) <> on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @08:47AM (#2180026) Homepage
    The San Francisco CBS affiliate carried yesterday's Free Sklyarov protest in its 6:30 and 11:00 newscasts. Perhaps CBS is the US network to trust in these matters.

    Steve Magruder

  • by Rosco P. Coltrane ( 209368 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:45AM (#2180027)
    Think about it : with years of brain-washing from well thinking press people and government, most computer illiterate people form the following associations in their heads nowadays :

    computer savvy person == suspicious

    encryption expert == suspicious

    person who wrote a decryption program without governmental or corporate blessing == hacker

    hacker == evil

    hacker arrested by FBI == no smoke without fire, therefore the hacker must be guilty

    and for many in the US :

    russian == communist

    communist == evil

    russian hacker == evil evil

    russian hacker arrested by FBI == hooray FBI for saving the free world !!!

    Most likely, if Dmitri's case receives press coverage, it'll probably be something like "Evil russian hacker arrested for attacking good US corporation Adobe's interests", not "Poor bastard in jail for 2 weeks without bail hearing". So maybe it's just as well if the press doesn't talk about it (the word you're looking for by the way is "biased").

    Welcome to the politically corrected corporate America ...

  • Read practically any *political* book by Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, and you'll soon come to the realization of the futility of your proposal (for a taste from _Manufacturing Consent_, go here [].) Only ideological material that fits within the agenda of the given elite will get full play in the media--which is, of course, NOT free, but wholly owned by increasingly fewer groups of people whose interests coincide less and less with those of "the People"; that is why, surprise, surprise, this case is muted, if not completely unknown, because it challenges the tenets of issues the DMCA camp wants kept quiet.

    Sadly, writing to your editor solves nothing more than venting your spleen *here* does--actually, probably far less, as at least SOME people beyond the Gatekeepers see your opinions here, whereas at the Times and Post the most likely recipient of your words is the Round File.

    No, if you want to support Dimitry, send him and his lawyers money. If you want to stop the DMCA--and other repressive measures taken by the Elite, be prepared to help those on the front lines with your wallet. In this unjust society, money is the only force that can buy Justice.
  • by gergi ( 220700 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:42AM (#2180042)
    We interrupt this broadcast to bring you the latest in the Chandra Levy case... yep, she's still missing!!!

    Ok, now back to this thing about a russian in jail for breaking uh, the law i guess, i'm not really sure... i think the YMCA, er, DMV is involved.

  • by unformed ( 225214 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:40AM (#2180046)
    written anything about this in the major newspapers/news shows? (I don't mean news shows on the web, I mean CNN, NBC, ABC, FOXNews, on TV; I mean the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, and other local and national newspapers in print)

    Usually reporters are more than willing to be the first to post a story, why none here? I'm sure there are reporters who are reading Slashdot; if so, can you please reply on why your newspaper hasn't run any stories and/or if there has been any actiion by the Feds "convincing" you to not post any stories, or is it fear of gaining federal attention.

    I know in my case, I've considered writing a letter to the editor regarding the DMCA and the resulting issues. However, I am definitely -not- a model citizen, and am afraid to gain attention by the FBI, and so I've kept my mouth shut, though as sson as I have the money, I'm going to try giving out flyers and such.

    But regardless, if anybody out there has any *real* info on WHY the media isn't covering the case of Dmitry Skylarov or the DMCA, please inform us; I'm sure the /. community would like to know.

  • by Kengineer ( 246142 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:50AM (#2180059)
    woah, did you see the end of that article?

    That's a neat little scenario of abusing the DMCA the guy mentions:

    Virus writers can use the DMCA in a perverse way. Because computer viruses are programs, they can be copyrighted just like a book, song, or movie. If a virus writer were to use encryption to hide the code of a virus, an anti-virus company could be forbidden by the DMCA to see how the virus works without first getting the permission of the virus writer. If they didn't, a virus writer could sue the anti-virus company under the DMCA!

    Now THAT is a nifty idea. Someone's GOT to try this. Not me though, I have vacation time coming up and I'm not going to spend it in prison!

    -- Kengineer
  • by pjellis ( 312404 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:44AM (#2180092)
    Bizarro Earth: Where a talented engineer who has been imprisoned by a repressive USA government longs to return to Russia so he can be free. Could any of us imagined this scenario 15 years ago?
  • by jeffy124 ( 453342 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @07:46AM (#2180128) Homepage Journal
    Having Lessig's article in the New York Times was a step in the right direction. But question - major metropolitan newspapers receive numerous editorials, yet only a handful get published because they only dedicate a page or two toward EdOp. What newspaper publishes every editorial that comes their way?

    The best thing to do would be for people to send editorials en masse to very elite papers like the Washington Post, LA Times, NY Times, etc. By having the review boards receive hundreds if not thousands of similar-sounding editorials and commentaries, they would become inclined to select the better submissions and publish them, or possibly send out reporters to find out what the news is regarding Dimitry and DMCA.

  • by GeekWithGuns ( 466361 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @08:09AM (#2180155) Homepage

    It is simple why the media as a whole has not reported on this:

    • He did not use a handgun to mow down an Adobe office.
    • He did not write a Outlook email virus that will destroy your computer with one click.
    • He did not write an IIS worm that will end the internet as we know it.
    • He did not have sexual relations with a congressman/President/justice or an intern and then lie about it.

    Until he fits into one of these "popular" stories his story is never going to be seen on CNN. I think that Al Franken was right calling it "Infotainment".

"You must have an IQ of at least half a million." -- Popeye