Hearing dates for the case of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov – charged by the US government of copyright crimes – have been set.

Sklyarov, from Moscow, was arrested in July at the Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas, after giving a presentation on e-book security. Following initial moves by Adobe, he was charged with violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which makes it a crime to traffic in tools or information designed to circumvent copy control schemes for encrypted content. Although Adobe withdrew its complaint, the US government decided to push ahead with the charges.

Sklyarov is the author of Advanced eBook Processor, an application that strips copy- and use-restrictions out of Adobe Systems e-books, and allows them to be printed, backed-up and read aloud by a computer, things that do not feature in the standard Adobe e-book. The same activity is legal in Russia, where users are allowed to make backup copies of such material.

Judge Ronald Whyte of the San Jose court, scheduled a March 4 hearing on Sklyarov's appeal against US jurisdiction over the case. On April 1, Whyte will hear another appeal, challenging the constitutionality of the DMCA.

Plaintiff's attorneys will argue at the first hearing that the US government's extraterritorial jurisdiction does not extend to the circumstances in this case. The DMCA appeal will involve references to the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which protects freedom of expression.

If convicted, Sklyarov could face up to 25 years in prison and a $2.25 million fine. He was released on $50,000 bail in early August.