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Sklyarov indicted by grand jury

A US grand jury has indicted the Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov and his employer on charges of trafficking and conspiring to traffic a copyright circumvention device.

Sklyarov, who has been released on bail of $50,000 (£34,000), faces up to 25 years in prison and a $2.25m (£1.54m) fine if he is found guilty of the charges contained in the five-count indictment. His employer, the Russian company ElcomSoft, could be liable for a fine of $25m (£17.2m) if found guilty.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a prominent civil liberties organisation which has been campaigning on Sklyarov' s behalf, the indictment can only add to the controversy surrounding the case, which hinges on the 1998 US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

Sklyarov was arrested in Las Vegas last month after presenting material on eBook encryption at the Def Con hacker conference. The DMCA makes it a crime to traffic information, tools or software designed to circumvent copyright controls.

Confirming that Sklyarov and his team intended to "vigorously contest" the charges, Sklyarov's attorney, Joseph M Burton, said: "Even if one were to ignore the serious legal questions involving the DMCA, this case hardly cries out for criminal prosecution. The activities of Sklyarov and ElcomSoft are not the actions that Congress intended to criminalise."

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