Victor Piterbarg free-sklyarov at happycool.com
Thu Aug 16 15:29:21 PDT 2001

sent this to him:

Dear Mr. Gable,

I read your article at
http://www.seyboldreports.com/ebooks/010816-gene.html. I would like to point
out that your commentary seems misinformed on several key points.

First of all, Mr. Sklyarov is not accused of "stealing." He was arrested
under the anti-trafficking provision of the DMCA, which prohibits the
distribution of "circumvention devices." He has done no such distribution.
Mr. Sklyarov's efforts were academic in nature. The research he presented at
the Defcon conference was the basis of his Master thesis.

Hence, your burglary anaolgy is flawed. A more fitting analogy would present
the following scenario. You are walking out of the house, and fumbling with
your keys while locking the door. Mr. Sklyarov walks up behind you and says,
"I couldn't help but notice that a window on the other side of your house is
wide open!" Now you probably would walk back into the house, and close the
window, rather than calling the police and having Mr. Sklyarov arrested for
burglarizing your house. In any case, you must understand that creating any
parallels between intellectual propery in the digital format and physical
property is rather dangerous.

You also say, "...we all know that the majority of people downloading and
using Mr. Sklyarov's program expect to get something for nothing." That is
just not true, the program was sold by Elcomsoft for $99, compared to an
average cost of an e-book of about $5. That is hardly getting something for
nothing. The only thing that I expect to get for nothing is my fair use
rights, which are unfortunately not included in an e-book download.

Nobody is arguing that intellectual property has no value. Indeed, it may
have great value. This case is about the DMCA awarding UNLIMITED copyright
protection to the publishers, while chilling research efforts and trampling
free speech.

If you would like more information, please visit www.anti-dmca.org.
Additionally, you may consider joining the free-sklyarov mailing list at
http://www.zork.net/mailman/listinfo/free-sklyarov. I hope that you alter
your stance on this issue.


Victor Piterbarg
Senior VP, Programming

Black Sheep, Inc.
1660 Ocean Ave.
Santa Monica, CA
310-395-9215 (tel)
310-395-9275 (fax)

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