[free-sklyarov] Re: Continuing the fight

Seth Finkelstein sethf at sethf.com
Sun Dec 16 22:30:29 PST 2001

On Sun, Dec 16, 2001 at 10:49:11PM -0700, Richard Stallman wrote:
> I did not know that this was a plea bargain--I heard that charges
> had been dropped.

	If you haven't already, I recommend reading the full DOJ statement
at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/can/press/html/2001_12_13_sklyarov.html

> That puts it in a very different light: he has done
> harm to others that far exceeds the harm he has avoided for himself.
> I won't claim I would have done better, since I have never been in
> that situation--but the question of how strong I am is beside the
> point.  Sklyarov had a duty to resist, and he failed in his duty.

	No one should be personally criticized for not wanting to be
a martyr for years in a foreign land. It's unproductive criticism.

	My favorite statement on this general subject comes from
Matthew Skala, who wrote in his "Cyber Patrol break FAQ" about being
sued for his CyberPatrol reverse-engineering and then settling:


  "Of course I was disappointed by this state of affairs.  When we
   published the essay I didn't expect a lawsuit, but I had also thought,
   "Well, if there is a lawsuit it won't be a problem, because there are
   organizations that take care of things like that." I fondly imagined
   that in case of legal silliness, someone would just step in and say
   "We'll take it from here." What I found out was that those
   organizations, through no fault of their own, were able to give me a
   lot of sympathy and not enough of anything else, particularly money,
   to bring my personal risk of tragic consequences down to an acceptable
   level, despite, incredibly, the fact that what I had done was legal.
   Ultimately, I couldn't rely on anybody to deal with my problems but
   Some people learn that lesson a bit less impressively than I had to."

> It appears that another consequence is that he will be unable to help
> our movement by speaking.  In effect, he has defected.

	Well, I don't think he ever actually enlisted. More like was
captured as a civilian and then held as a prisoner of war.

> At this point, the only thing left for us to do is to push hard to
> punish Adobe--so hard that anyone will think twice before daring to do
> this again.  Sklyarov is no longer a cause celebre, but we can make
> Adobe a cause celebre if we work at it.

	Can we? Not to be too cynical, but I think the major
rallying-point is now gone.

> So who is for a loud boycott and picketing of Adobe?  Will the EFF
> spearhead it?  The EFF has concentrated on action in court, and that
> approach was worth trying--but it has been almost exhausted, and has
> failed.  I hope they will not shrink from joining a different kind of
> action now.

	There's *plenty* of DMCA court action yet to be done.

Seth Finkelstein  Consulting Programmer  sethf at sethf.com  http://sethf.com
BESS's Secret LOOPHOLE: http://sethf.com/anticensorware/bess/loophole.php
BESS vs Google: http://sethf.com/anticensorware/bess/google.php

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