Dmitri gets breathing space

Are the Feds playing for time?

Are the Feds playing for time?

The trial of Russian programmer Dmitri Sklyarov has been postponed amid speculation that prosecution lawyers are battling to make their case watertight. Sklyarov was due to appear before a Californian court tomorrow on charges of trafficking illegal software. The defence counsel for Sklyarov has not explained why the trial has been postponed and a new date has not been set, but the word among Sklyarov supporters is that prosecutors have asked for extra time to form their arguments. Julian Midgeley, a computer programmer leading the UK Sklyarov support campaign, said the speculation had not been confirmed, but added that supporters of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) - the new US law under which Sklyarov was charged - are aware of the cracks in their case. Sklyarov has been charged with selling illegal software, which enables users to hack through Adobe software and download digital books for free. The defence claims that Sklyarov simply wrote the program, while his employer ElcomSoft sold the software. Midgeley said: "The pro-DMCA crowd are keeping quiet about Dmitri. I think they don't want to see this legislation weakened with a first test-case. If it sets a precedent that can be questioned in the future on points of law, it could undermine the DMCA. It's not an open and shut case and they are having to tread very carefully." Yesterday, Sklyarov issued a statement thanking supporters for protesting against his arrest. The UK support group says it will continue to back the case with a leaflet campaign in Cambridge and a second US embassy protest, both planned for next week.