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Re: [dvd-discuss] [OT] elcomsoft/sklyarov jury denied text of law?

This issue may appear to have been blown out of proportion, but if so it 
is most likely because the actions of the state seemed rather arbitrary 
in this case.  To arrest a programmer who was giving a presentation at 
an international conference would in most cases be seen as bad PR for 
Adobe.  But to make matters worse, Skylarov was in the process of 
sharing valuable information which, had Adobe seized the initiative, 
could have been used to improve the quality of e-books and their security.

Instead, the man was arrested and imprisoned in a foreign country, in a 
manner reminiscent of something that one would think might have happened 
under Stalin or Kruschev, but I wouldn't have expected it to happen in 
the United States.  Up until now we have been a country that professed 
to champion intellectual freedom.

The precident that foreign programmers can be arrested merely because 
they have unwittingly violated a U.S. law as obscure as the DMCA is not 
a good one for the United States, I am forced to conclude. This is all 
the more clear if we acknowlege that the text of the law might even 
confuse our own jury of American citizens.

But when you add to that the fact that those who are involved with 
making the decision can't even view the law that affects the decision 
they are making, it really makes a mockery, in my opinion, of everything 
our judicial system is supposed to stand for. It also causes me to 
believe that those who charge that corporations are now buying bad laws 
are not far from the truth.


Glendon Gross

James S. Tyre wrote:
> At 04:45 PM 12/16/2002 -0500, Ole Craig wrote:
>>         The premier IT fishwra^Wrags report that the jury in the
>> Elcomsoft case wanted a copy of the DMCA text, and the judge denied
>> the request. WTF?
>> http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,56853,00.html
>> http://www.theregister.co.uk/content/6/28587.html
>>     Wired reports that since retiring the jury has requested
>>     clarification on the DMCA from the trial judge. Initially, the
>>     jury requested a copy of the 100+ page Act to assist in their
>>     deliberations. U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte declined
>>     this request, instead offering to answer questions on parts of the
>>     law they need to consider in order to reach a verdict in the case.
>>         How in hell are the jurors supposed to understand the law and
>> whether it applies if they're not allowed to READ it?
>>                 Ole, in complete disbelief
> Folks, you know I'm not exactly a DMCA apologist, but as far as I can 
> tell, this is being blown way out of proportion.  Here's what I wrote 
> elsewhere (easier than retyping):
> My guess (and it is only that, I have no special info) is that there is
> more to the story than the blurb in the Wired piece, "The jury asked U.S.
> District Court Judge Ronald Whyte for a full copy of the DMCA to assist in
> their decision-making. But he declined to provide a copy of the document,
> which is over 100 pages long.  Instead, Whyte said he would answer specific
> questions jurors had about portions of the law they must consider in
> determining ElcomSoft's guilt or
> innocence."  http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,56853,00.html
> The DMCA is a fairly large law, most of which has no relevance to the
> Elcomsoft trial.  First, there are a number of conforming amendments to
> other sections of the U.S. Code which have no particular
> applicability.  Second, if one focuses on the "guts" of the DMCA, 17 USC
> sections 512 and 1201-1205, most of those have no applicability either.
> Section 512 primarily concerns the notice and takedown provisions, not at
> issue here.  Then, if memory serves, the indictment only is under section
> 1201(b) - and, necessarily, section 1204, the criminal provisions of
> DMCA.  There is no charge under 1202 (copyright management information);
> necessarily, the criminal trial does not invoke 1203, the civil
> liability/remedies section of the DMCA.
> If I were the judge, I'm not sure that I would give the jury "a full copy
> of the DMCA", if, in fact, that is what the jury really requested.  Using
> an extreme analogy, it would be akin to giving the jury a full copy of the
> Internal Revenue Code when the sole charge against the hypothetical
> defendant is tax fraud by virtue of claiming non-existent charitable
> deductions.
> The question, to which I do not know the answer, is what portions of the
> DMCA the jury already had by way of the jury instructions.
> --------------------------------------------------------------------
> James S. Tyre                               mailto:jstyre@jstyre.com
> Law Offices of James S. Tyre          310-839-4114/310-839-4602(fax)
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