September 5, 2001

EFF: Russian programmer and company's case continued to Sept. 24

Author: JT Smith

Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov
and his employer Elcomsoft appeared briefly in court today
regarding charges of providing electronic book format
conversion software in the United States.

At the hearing -- described as "pretty routine" by defense
attorney Joseph Burton -- the case was continued to 9:00 AM
on September 24, 2001, in the same San Jose Federal court
building. The case was continued so that Elcomsoft will
have sufficient time to choose their legal representation
and so that both prosecution and defense teams may present
a joint schedule for motions and discovery in the case.

Last Thursday, the court heard a five-count grand jury
indictment against Elcomsoft and previously jailed
programmer Sklyarov on charges of trafficking and
conspiracy to traffic in a copyright circumvention device.

Sklyarov -- who is out of custody on US $50,000 bail --
could face a prison term of up to twenty-five years and a
US $2,250,000 fine. As a corporation, Elcomsoft faces a
potential US $2,500,000 fine.

"Dmitry has programmed a format converter which has many
legitimate uses including enabling the blind to hear
eBooks," explained Cindy Cohn, Electronic Frontier
Foundation Legal Director. "The idea that he faces prison
for this is outrageous. The EFF will support Dmitry through
the end of this ordeal."

"We were hoping that the government would see the wisdom
and justice in not pursuing a case against Sklyarov,"
said his attorney, Joseph M. Burton of Duane Morris in
San Francisco. "Even if one were to ignore the serious
legal questions involving the DMCA, this case hardly
cries out for criminal prosecution. Sklyarov's and
Elcomsoft's actions are not conduct that Congress
intended to criminalize. We will vigorously contest these

The next court appearance scheduled in the case is
9:00 AM Pacific on September 24 before Judge Ronald
Whyte in the San Jose Federal Court building.

Background on the Sklyarov case:

Calendar of protests related to the Sklyarov case:

Sklyarov Defense Fund:

About EFF:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
liberties organization working to protect rights in the
digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
challenges industry and government to support free
expression, privacy, and openness in the information
society. EFF is a member-supported organization and
maintains one of the most linked-to websites in the world:

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