Press Release

Grand Jury Charges Russian Company and Programmer

Adds Conspiracy to Circumvention Trafficking Charge

August 28, 2001

San Jose, California - A United States grand jury this afternoon indicted Russian company Elcomsoft along with previously jailed programmer Dmitry Sklyarov on charges of trafficking and conspiracy to traffic in a copyright circumvention device.

Since the grand jury handed down a five-count indictment, Sklyarov -- who is out of custody on $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.

"We have been hearing from many people about lawful uses of Elcomsoft's computer program," explained Cindy Cohn, Electronic Frontier Foundation Legal Director. "It's outrageous that the unconstitutional Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) could put this young man away for much of the rest of his life."

"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 charges."

Sklyarov and his attorneys will appear at an arraignment scheduled for 9:30 AM Pacific time this Thursday, August 30, 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.

Well-dressed observers plan to attend the arraignment and nonviolent protests are scheduled in Moscow (Russia), London (England), Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Black Rock City, Nevada.

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: http://www.eff.org/

Contacts

Cindy Cohn, EFF Legal Director, cindy@eff.org,
+1 415 436-9333 x108 (office),
+1 415 823-2148 (cell)

Will Doherty, EFF Online Activist / Media Relations,
press@eff.org, +1 415 436-9333 x111 (office),
+1 415 794-6064 (cell)

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