Timeline: US Government v. Dmitry Sklyarov and/or Elcomsoft
Here's our timeline of some of the key events that have occurred in the case between Dmitry Sklyarov, Elcomsoft and the US Department of Justice (DOJ). For the full media coverage, see our index page.
April 1, 2002
A California district court judge offered no ruling today on motions to dismiss the criminal charges against Russian software company ElcomSoft, charged with violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The charges stem from the company's development of a software program capable of removing security from Adobe PDF-based eBooks. If the judge does not dismiss the case on any of three motions filed, it is expected to go to trial in June.
March 22, 2002
Attorneys for ElcomSoft Co. Ltd. have filed another motion
seeking dismissal of all charges in its DMCA case involving
decryption of Adobe PDF-based eBooks. With its next
pre-trial hearing set for April 1, lawyers for the Russian
software company argue (among other things) that Section
1201(b) of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is
fundamentally flawed. The criminal case is scheduled to go
to trial on April 15 unless the U. S. District Court judge
rules to dismiss charges.
February 6, 2002
In a recent interview with The Moscow Times, Dmitry Sklyarov reflects
on his recent return to Russia and some of his experiences while
being detained in the U.S. for five months on criminal charges of
violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). He hopes to
see stronger copyright laws in Russia so he can earn a living as a
February 4, 2002
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed an amicus brief in
federal court asking that the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA)
be found unconstitutional because it impinges on protected speech and
stifles technological innovation.
January 28, 2002
Attorneys for ElcomSoft, a Russian software company facing
criminal charges in California for allegedly violating the
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), have filed motions
seeking that the charges be dismissed. They argue that the
DMCA is "vague, overly broad and has been misapplied in this
case." The next court date in the case -- involving
decryption of protected, Adobe PDF-based eBooks -- is March 4.
December 18, 2001
Soon back home in Moscow, the recently freed software programmer
plans to continue working for ElcomSoft and on his Ph. D.
dissertation -- and to assume a lower profile. A reluctant celebrity
of sorts following his July 16 arrest by the FBI and subsequent
global protests while being detained in the U.S. for five months
awaiting trial, Sklyarov told Planet PDF he is eager to start
appreciating some of the simple things in life -- such as "how snow
squeaks under my steps."
November 26, 2001
Court sets new hearing date for April 15 to schedule a trial date for a Russian software programmer charged with violating a new U.S. copyright law.
September 26, 2001
Court hearings for ElcomSoft Co. Ltd. and Dmitry Sklyarov, indicted
on five counts of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act,
have been postponed until Nov. 26. In an expansion of the legal
defense team, John W. Keker, selected in a recent survey as the
most-often named California 'lawyer other lawyers would hire' and
former Iran-Contra special prosecutor of Oliver North, is now
representing Sklyarov. Joseph Burton continues to represent ElcomSoft.
September 10, 2001
Based on accusations of copyright infringement involving an allegedly cracked PDF version of a recently released book, police in Munich, Germany have reportedly seized the computer and peripheral equipment of a Web site owner. Purchase of the book apparently included a CD-ROM of the contents; according to reports, the protected PDF's security permissions were removed using software from ElcomSoft Co. Ltd -- but not the same controversial application which led to recent indictments for ElcomSoft and employee Dmitry Sklyarov on violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
September 05, 2001
Sklyarov family together in California -- Since Dmitry Sklyarov has not been able to leave the United States and return to Russia since his July 16 arrest in Las Vegas, his wife and two young children are scheduled to travel to California today to visit him and to lend him moral support. The family hopes Dmitry will be allowed to go home to Russia later this month, and then return to the U.S. as needed by his legal team for future court appearances.
September 03, 2001
Adobe has published a FAQ on the events surrounding the U.S. government's arrest of ElcomSoft employee Dmitry Sklyarov and the subsequent indictment of Sklyarov and ElcomSoft. The FAQ is Adobe's attempt to clarify areas it believes have been misrepresented, including its position on the indictments, its point of view on the DMCA and copyright infringement, and its involvement in the events leading up to Dmitry Sklyarov's arrest.
August 28, 2001
Reports last week of a possible plea bargain in the case involving ElcomSoft Ltd. software programmer Dmitry Sklyarov seem to have been premature. Five days after his initial arraignment date was postponed to allow for a potential compromise of sorts, Sklyarov -- and his company -- were indicted today by a U.S. Grand Jury on five counts of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
August 22, 2001
Sklyarov's arraignment is postponed from July 23 to July 30. According to the lead defense attorney Joseph Burton, "We're talking about whether or not there are any potential ways to dispose of the case."
August 6, 2001
After being in jail for about three weeks Sklyarov is released on bail of $50,000 and relinquishes his passport.
July 23, 2001
After much public outcry over the arrest and detainment Adobe meets with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and reverses its position by requesting Sklyarov's release.
July 19, 2001
American Associtation of Publishers (AAP) announces support for arrest Sklyarov.
July 17, 2001
The affadavit states that the FBI arrested Sklyarov because he is the copyright holder of a copyright circumvention software program that was sold in the United States. Sklyarov faces up to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted.
Groups like the Free Dmity and Boycott Adobe Web spring up overnight, immediately calling for Sklyarov's release.
July 16, 2001
As Sklyarov is preparing to leave his hotel and return to Moscow (after speaking at the DEF CON convention) he is arrested by FBI officials. The news quickly spreads after Planet eBook posts the news at Slashdot and The eBook Community (TeBC).
July 3, 2001
Adobe soon requests that ElcomSoft stops the sale of its AEBPR program. Adobe purchases a copy of the program to test it and begins collecting information, which is eventually shown to the FBI [see affadavit]. ElcomSoft agrees to the request to stop selling it and continues to distribute a free, demonstration version.
June 28, 2001
Adobe releases a fix to stop AEBPR working. ElcomSoft updates its software so it works again, claiming that it took half an hour to do so.
June 22, 2001
The case between US and Sklyarov begins on June 22 when ElcomSoft posted a press release on the Planet eBook Forum and other locations around the Web. The company announces that it was selling a program, Advanced eBook Processor (AEBPR), which can remove the encryption from Adobe Acrobat PDF files and eBooks. Sklyarov works for the Russian company ElcomSoft and was involved in developing the AEBPR program.