Yesterday the U.S. busted a Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov for breaking the infamous
DMCA act. It is not really clear to me if Dmitry was jailed (and he is currently sitting
in a Las Vegas jail) for writing a piece of code that defeats Adobe's PDF file encryption
schema or for talking about it at the notorious hacker convention, Defcon, held this year
in Las Vegas.
Both acts violate the DMCA.
And in both cases, I'm appalled.
That, one, the U.S. has jailed someone for creating content it disagrees with while they
were outside the United States. This is horrible and sets a precedent that is truly
frightening. How would you like to be responsible for anything and everything that
you've ever created in every jurisdiction in the world? That scares the hell out of me,
as after some of the crap I've written, I probably qualify for the death sentence in
several dozen Middle Eastern countries.
Or, two, the absolute irony that a former Soviet citizen was arrested for speaking his
mind while in the United States. Whatever happened to free speech? I thought WE won the
While I do love the theory that America was founded on, I have to say that I'm becoming
less and less enamored with the way in which the ideals of our founding fathers are being
implemented and put into practice. That people in our government even remotely think
that the DMCA doesn't violate the First Amendment is truly an indictment of the absolute
corruption that corporate soft money has wrought on this once fine system.
It should be pointed out that because Adobe's encryption scheme doesn't permit the user
to make at least one copy, it is currently breaking Russian copyright law. Horrors. A
U.S. company breaking the law? We can't have that.
So I urge the Russian government to immediately begin legal proceedings to extradite the
entire management team at Abode and then send them all to Siberia to count trees. Not
because I feel that people should be imprisoned for breaking copyright law, but because I
believe in poetic justice.