Russian programmer's hearing likely to be postponed

Defence lawyers are expected to ask a US federal judge for a one-week delay of today's scheduled arraignment of Dmitry Sklyarov, the Russian programmer jailed for alleged software copyright violations.

          Defence lawyers are expected to ask a US federal judge for a one-week delay of today's scheduled arraignment of Dmitry Sklyarov, the Russian programmer jailed for alleged software copyright violations.

          Sklyarov, free on $US50,000 bail since August 6, is accused of trafficking in a copyright circumvention device.

          The programmer faces up to five years' jail and a $US500,000 fine if convicted of violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. He was arrested at the behest of Adobe on June 16 after the Def Con security conference in Las Vegas. At the event, Sklyarov gave a presentation and sold copies of Advanced eBook Processor. His program, which is legal in Russia, removes some of the more restrictive aspects of Adobe's eBook Reader format.

          Attorneys for both sides have apparently agreed to request a continuance, delaying the programmer's arraignment proceeding in San Jose until August 30.

          Sklyarov is represented by attorneys from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a civil liberties organisation focused on digital copyright issues.

          A spokesperson says they expect the request will be granted by US Magistrate Judge Richard Seeborg without incident. A spokesperson for the US Attorney General's office in San Francisco would not comment on the matter. However, a spokesperson in the magistrate's office says such requests, if agreed to by attorneys on both sides, are routinely granted.

          In addition to handling the legal case, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is coordinating nonviolent protests against Sklyarov's prosecution in London and Moscow as well as San Jose and several other US cities.

          Sklyarov, who spent three weeks in jail, has issued a statement, via the EFF, thanking the activists for their support. He writes:

          "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."

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