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The “Free Dmitry” movement won a battle but not its war Monday, as Russian software engineer Dmitry Sklyarov was ordered released by a federal judge on a $50,000 bond after spending 21 days in U.S. custody for allegedly violating the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In a San Jose, Calif., courtroom packed with supporters, Sklyarov’s handcuffs were unlocked after Magistrate Judge Edward A. Infante of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California agreed to conditions of bail that had been negotiated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and defense attorney Joseph M. Burton. Sklyarov, who was arrested by the FBI on July 16 in Las Vegas after delivering a paper on e-book security at the Def Con hackers’ convention, agreed to stay in Northern California pending trial. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $500,000 fine. Sklyarov, who did not meet with the media or his supporters, is “ecstatic” to be released, according to his lawyer. “He’s feeling good,” Burton said. “Not having to wear an orange jumpsuit is a good thing.” A Russian national working for a Silicon Valley firm has agreed to provide lodging for Sklyarov as he awaits his next day in court. Sklyarov’s arrest and detention has sparked an international protest movement among techies who believe that aspects of the DMCA suppress intellectual freedom. Signs reading: “1984 Here at Last,” “Code Is Not a Crime” and “Don’t Make Crypto A Crime” were hoisted by Sklyarov’s sympathizers as they rallied outside the federal building. Strongly supported by the entertainment industry and some software companies, the DMCA outlaws the creation of decryption tools that can be used to facilitate copyright violations. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the DMCA effectively criminalizes many common practices of programmers, such as reverse engineering. Rep. Rick Boucher, a Virginia Democrat, says he plans to draft legislation that would amend the criminal aspects of the DMCA under which Sklyarov was arrested. Sklyarov is accused of creating a program that circumvents the security of an Adobe Systems e-book program. Frustrated in its attempts to persuade Sklyarov’s employer, Moscow-based ElcomSoft, from marketing that decryption program, Adobe took its complaints to the FBI and alerted agents that Sklyarov would be in Las Vegas. Faced with protests and the specter of a boycott, Adobe later was persuaded by the EFF to call for Sklyarov’s release and withdraw its support for the criminal charges against him. Now Burton, who as a federal prosecutor won the conviction of notorious hacker Kevin Poulsen, says he hopes to persuade the U.S. Attorney’s Office that charges against Sklyarov should be dropped. Although Burton declined to detail his arguments, Sklyarov’s supporters maintain that Sklyarov’s actions were legal in Russia and that ElcomSoft executives, not a programmer, are responsible for marketing the software in question. “This is not an appropriate case under the DMCA,” Burton said. EFF Chairman Brad Templeton says Sklyarov’s release was more important than prolonging his status as a DMCA martyr and was even more important than the legal challenge that may yet come. “We want to test the DMCA, but keeping a man in jail is too high a price,” Templeton said. “Keeping him away from his family is too high a price.” Supporters say it’s possible that Sklyarov’s wife and two children eventually might join him in the U.S. “It’s been offered,” Templeton said. “For some bizarre reason, they’ve been somewhat afraid of the United States.” Related Articles from The Industry Standard: Can Napster Change its Tune? Napster Will Remove Copyright-Protected Songs Napster’s Beat Goes On ? for the Moment Copyright � 2001 The Industry Standard

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