Russian software engineer Sklyarov was arrested by the FBI on July 16 after delivering a paper on e-book security at the Def Con hackers' convention. He stands accused of creating a program that circumvents the security of an Adobe Systems e-book program.
Adobe complained to the FBI and alerted agents that Sklyarov would be in Las Vegas. In the face of public protest, Adobe was persuaded to call for Sklyarov's release and withdraw its criminal charges. He has agreed to stay in Northern California pending trial. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $500,000 fine.
Sklyarov's arrest and detention has sparked an international protest movement among those who believe that aspects of the DMCA suppress intellectual freedom. Signs reading: "1984 here at last," "Code is not a crime" and "Don't make crypto a crime" were hoisted by sympathizers as they rallied outside the Federal building.
The DMCA outlaws the creation of decryption tools that can be used to facilitate copyright violations. The Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the DMCA effectively criminalizes many common practices of programmers, such as reverse engineering.
The programmer's actions are legal in Russia, the EFF states that ElcomSoft executives, not the company's programmer should face charges.