Adobe has buckled under pressure from protestors and is to drop its case against Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov.
The cryptographer was arrested by the FBI at the DefCon conference last week under charges of copyright infringement after demonstrating inherent weaknesses in Adobe's eBook encryption software. But other DefCon attendees rallied to protest about Sklyarov's arrest, setting up a website calling for the boycott of Adobe products and holding demonstrations to spur his release.
The overwhelming support of the internet community seems to have made Adobe think twice about pressing forward with its allegations. A number of media reports, chronicled on Sklyarov's company website Elcomsoft predicted that Adobe would suffer damage to its reputation if Sklyarov had made a court appearance.
Under the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the programmer could have faced a five-year prison sentence for his actions.
But after a meeting yesterday with internet watch group the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Adobe had changed its tune. A joint statement issued late yesterday called for Sklyarov's release, and Adobe is withdrawing its support for the criminal complaint against him.
Colleen Pouliot, senior vice president at Adobe, said: "The prosecution of this individual in this particular case is not conducive to the best interests of any of the parties involved or the industry."
EFF executive director Shari Steele added: "We are pleased to see that Adobe has lived up to the high standard of integrity that has made the company successful. While we don't agree on every detail of the DMCA, we look forward to working together with Adobe to secure [Sklyarov's] immediate release."
Although it looks like the programmer is home free, there has been one casualty of this legal skirmish. The Advance eBook Processor software, which he helped develop to reveal the weakness in Adobe's encryption schemes, has been withdrawn. It will no longer be available from Elcomsoft, presumably as part of the agreement between the parties involved.
And now that the controversial decryption software is off the scene, online book sellers such as Barnes & Noble, which pulled the eBook format when the whole incident kicked off, has started restocking its virtual shelves with Adobe products.
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