Russian Programmer to Appear in California Court
Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov will appear in a California federal court next week, for an arraignment on charges of trafficking in a copyright circumvention device. For programming a software application that appears to be legal in Moscow where he wrote it, Sklyarov -- who is out of custody on $50,000 bail -- faces a potential prison term of five years and a $500,000 fine.
The arraignment is scheduled for 9:30am PT, Thursday, August 30 (it was delayed one week for the originally announced date of Aug. 23). The hearing will be held with US Magistrate Judge Richard Seeborg presiding, in courtroom 4, 5th floor of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California, San Jose Branch, 280 South 1st Street, in San Jose, California.
Nonviolent protests will be scheduled outside the hearing in San Jose, and in Moscow (Russia), Cambridge (England), London (England), Minneapolis, Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Black Rock City, Nevada.
Dmitry Skylarov issued the following statement thanking the activists who have taken up his cause:
To everyone who spent their time helping me:
During the three weeks I spent in jail I learned that many people were protesting against my arrest. I also learned that Adobe withdrew its support of my arrest after meeting with EFF. But I was not able to see that or to read letters and articles about my case.
After being released from jail on August 6, I was really surprised and impressed by the scale of the action and the number of people involved in the protests. I'm not an IT superman. I'm just a programmer, like many others. It was unexpected by me that so many people would support a guy from another country that nobody heard about before.
Your support means a lot to me and my family and makes a difference for all.
This experience is going to change me in a profound way that I cannot even appreciate fully as yet. Thank you very much.
Directions and map to San Jose Federal Building:
Background on the Sklyarov case:
Calendar of protests related to the Sklyarov case:
Coincidentally, the same afternoon nearby in San Jose, a California state appellate court will hear oral arguments regarding whether dozens of Internet publishers can be ordered to "stop the presses" pending the outcome of a California trade secrets trial.
In January 2000, as part of a trade secrets case brought by the motion picture industry, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge William Elfving ordered that Andrew Bunner and numerous other defendants halt Internet publication of the source code for DeCSS pending the outcome of a trial. DeCSS is free software that allows people to play DVDs without technological restrictions, such as platform limitations and region codes, that are preferred by movie studios.
Bunner, represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the First Amendment Project, is appealing this prior restraint on his free speech rights. The case is In Re: DVD Copy Control Assoc., Inc. v. Bunner, case no. H021153. Oral arguments will begin at 1:30 PM before California's Sixth Appellate Court, located at 333 West Santa Clara Street, Suite 1060, San Jose, CA 95113.
Directions and map to San Jose Appellate Court Building:
Background on the DVD Copy Control Assoc., Inc. v. Bunner case: