Free Dmitry Sklyarov

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The Story

photo of dmitry Dmitry Sklyarov is a Russian Ph.D. student who was arrested at DefCon 9, a security convention in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on July 17.

Dmitry authored software that allows legitimate purchasers of eBooks to convert those eBooks into a more Portable Document Format (PDF). The software enables eBook owners to print their ebooks, and to view them on other computers. The software also makes it possible to use text to speech software so the visually impaired can have their eBook read aloud.

In fact fair use rights to obtain and use a wide array of information are essential to the exercise of First Amendment rights. The very vibrancy of our democracy is dependent on the information availability and use facilitated by the Fair Use Doctrine.

The time, in my view, has come for the Congress to reaffirm the Fair Use Doctrine and to bolster specific fair use rights which are now at risk.

Congressman Rick Boucher (D Virginia) --link to full article)

Recently, Dmitry presented what he had learned about the Adobe eBook format at the DefCon security conference in Las Vegas.

Unfortunately for Dmitry, his presentation embarrassed Adobe Systems by pointing out the week security used in the eBook format. Dmitry was probably unaware that his software and presentation violated the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Adobe Systems filed a complaint with the FBI and alerted them of his attendance at the Las Vegas Convention. The FBI arrested Dmitry the day after his presentation on charges that he violated the DMCA.

Although Adobe Systems has withdrawn their complaint and asked for the release of Dmitry, he is still being detained in the U.S., and unable to return to his family in Russia. He faces 5 YEARS in prison and a $500,000 fine for his software and presentation.

Local Events/Updates

Recent Press


To International Calendar


petition table

Continuing Actions

Personal actions include continued petition signature gathering and day of letter writing. EFF alert and letter templates can be found here.

Saturday, September 24

Time: TBD

Location and event TBD.
Keep watching the web site for updated information when scheduled.


Wednesday, September 26

San Francisco, California
Time: 1:30-2:45 pm

"Steal This Session: The DMCA Great Debate"
Note: This is paid event part of Seybold (info). We're listing it because we think it's of potential interest to the community. This does not construe an endorsement of any kind.
At the Moscone Center

For more information please see the national calendar at International Calendar

protest picture
Los Angeles Times
August 29, 2001
by David Streitfeld
e-Book Software Writer Indicted
"Arresting a Russian for creating software that is legal in his country but illegal in the United States sets a bad precedent," Jackson said [Chuck Jackson, member of the Federal Communications Commission's technology advisory council]. "It seems to me an awful lot of Americans are going to be a risk in a lot of the world if we set that up as a standard.'"
New York Times
August 29, 2001
Associated Press
Russian Programmer Indicted
"We were hopeful that the government would see the wisdom and justice in not pursuing a case against Sklyarov," Burton said. "Even if one were to ignore the serious legal questions involving the (copyright protestions), this case hardly cries out for criminal prosecution. Sklyarov's and ElcomSoft's actions are not conduct that Congress intended to criminalize."
Washington Post
August 21, 2001
Jailed Under a Bad Law
"It seems wrong for Mr. Sklyarov to be subject to criminal penalties for writing a program that has potentially legal uses, without any obligation on the government's part to prove that he intended to aid piracy."
August 20, 2001
by Steven Levy
Busted by the Copyright Cops
"It would be nice to disabuse Sklyarov of that notion, but the evidence indicated that, indeed, commercial interests have led Congress to suspend free speech and fair use, and prosecutors have given us notice that we had better watch what we code, what we write and what we link to."
New York Times
August 13, 2001
by Amy Harmon
Software Double Bind
"While some users of digital media have wrestled with the 1998 copyright law's seeming contradictions, it is the Sklyarov case -- the risk criminal prosecution under the law -- that is exposing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act to greater public scrutiny."
Los Angeles Times
August 6, 2001
by David Streitfeld
E-Book Saga is full of Woe -- and a bit of Intrigue
"Arresting Sklyarov was insane, but there's an increasing tension between people who need and use information and those who want to control it," said Michael Mellin, a consultant who founded Random House's electronic publishing operation."
New York Times
July 30, 2001
by Lawrence Lessig
Jail Time in the Digital Age
"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."
more media coverage

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Mailing Lists

Join the Los Angeles Free Dmitry Announcement List to receive announcements of local LA events. (low volume).

Join the Los Angeles Free Dmitry planning list to actively participate in event planning and strategy discussions. (Healthy volume).

Join the International mailing list (EXTREMELY HIGH VOLUME).

Related Links

Electronic Frontier Foundation
The group who met with Adobe Systems and convinced/pressured them to drop their support for the prosecution of Dmitry.

The convention where Dmitry presented his findings, and where he was arrested by the FBI.

Free Dmitry

Get Involved

Contribute to the Dmitry Legal Defense Fund

How can YOU help

Basis for the uproar

Text of the DMCA itself from the Library of Congress (in PDF, how droll!)

Scanned image of the FBI criminal complaint

More Information

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Why Thomas Jefferson would love Napster By Siva Vaidhyanathan

Congressman Rick Boucher (D Virginia) urges reaffirmation of fair use rights.

Local Pictures/Multimedia

Local Resources/Documents

August 4th, 2001

Pictures from HackHawk

July 30th, 2001

Pictures from HackHawk

July 28th, 2001

Pictures from David Honig (Zip Archive)

July 23rd, 2001

Pictures from

Full Resource List

The complete local Los Angeles resource collection begun by Bob Smart and Mark Bilbo, is being temporarily hosted by because Bob and Mark's DSL provider died. Full collection can be found here.

Thanks for the help guys. It's quite a task to maintain this site while working a full time job.

Quick Resource Link



These are the versions that the whole Free Dmitry movement has adopted. One is intended for Congress members, and the other is for the Attorney General. Please send signed hardcopies to Don Marti, who will compile them. Keep copies for yourself and mail the originals: Don Marti, 900 High School Way #2125, Mountain View, California 94041

Bumper Stickers

Instructions for bumper stickers including where to buy materials and how to make them at home bumper stickers.



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