[free-sklyarov] Re: Continuing the fight

Len Sassaman rabbi at quickie.net
Sun Dec 16 23:12:49 PST 2001

On Sun, 16 Dec 2001, Richard Stallman wrote:

> I did not know that this was a plea bargain--I heard that charges had
> been dropped.  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.
> It appears that another consequence is that he will be unable to help
> our movement by speaking.  In effect, he has defected.

That's absolute nonsense. First of all, he has conceded nothing to the
other side, other than his testimony of the facts -- testimony that would
be identical to that given for the defense. There's never been any
question about *what* Dmitry Sklyarov did -- only whether or not it
violated the DMCA, and whether or not the DMCA is legal itself.

Nothing he said in his statement was any different than what we all have
been saying all along. Calling him a "traitor" is absurd. With concern for
Dmitry's personal welfare out of the way, Elcomsoft has one less thing to
worry about while preparing its defense.

And besides, I always wondered by Dmitry didn't plea bargain from the
start in exchange for his freedom to return to Russia. As Americans, the
DMCA is our mess, and we are the ones who have to fight it. Expecting a
foreign citizen to risk jail time and huge fines so that we might get an
unjust law of ours overturned is quite selfish, is it not? Would you risk
your ass in a test case of an unjust law in Russia? Would you spend 25
years away from your family in a Russian gulag because some native
programmers felt it was your duty to do so? I doubt it very much.

> 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.

This was my logic when I originally proposed that we picket Adobe the
first time around. We must make being involved with any DMCA litigation
such a PR nightmare that no company will look to the DMCA as an
alternative to writing secure programs.

However, I think we have done that fairly well in this case. If Adobe
backs out of its agreement, and supports this case again, I do think
further action is in order. But until then, we should focus on the DOJ's
senseless prosecution of an action that is not a crime.

> 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.

Whether or not the EFF spearheads such an action, if there are enough
people interested in speaking out against the enemies in this case, it
will occur. If you recall, the EFF distanced itself from the first protest
in order to attempt a negotiation with Adobe, yet multiple simultaneous
protests occurred in force. Do not trifle with angry slashdot-reading


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