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Thread: ElcomSoft verdict: Not guilty

  1. #1
    AO übergeek phishphreek's Avatar
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    Jan 2002

    ElcomSoft verdict: Not guilty


    ElcomSoft verdict: Not guilty

    By Lisa M. Bowman
    Staff Writer, CNET News.com
    December 17, 2002, 10:22 AM PT

    just in SAN JOSE, Calif.--A jury on Tuesday found a Russian software company not guilty of criminal copyright charges for producing a program that can crack antipiracy protections on electronic books.
    The case against ElcomSoft is considered a crucial test of the criminal provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), a controversial law designed to extend copyright protections into the digital age.

    The company faced four charges related to directly designing and marketing software that could be used to crack eBook copyright protections, plus an additional charge related to conspiring to do so.

    The case was launched in July 2001, when ElcomSoft employee Dmitry Sklyarov was arrested during the Las Vegas Defcon hackers conference after giving a speech about his company's software, which is designed to crack protections on Adobe Systems' eBooks. Prosecutors, working with Adobe, said ElcomSoft's Advanced eBook Processor violated the DMCA.

    But after protests from programmers, Adobe backed away from its support of the case against Sklyarov, and prosecutors set aside charges against Sklyarov in exchange for his testimony in the case against his employers.

    During the trial, which lasted two weeks, the government said ElcomSoft created a tool for burglars and characterized the company as an affiliate of hacker networks that was determined to sell the Advanced eBook Processor despite its questionable legality. U.S. Assistant Attorney Scott Frewing charged that company representatives knew all along that they were violating the DMCA by designing and offering the software to the public.

    The defense, in turn, argued that ElcomSoft acted responsibly, removing the software from the Web just days after learning of Adobe's concerns. Both Sklyarov and ElcomSoft president Alexander Katalov testified that they did not think their software was illicit and did not intend for it to be used on books that had not been legally purchased. Under cross- examination by the defense, an Adobe engineer acknowledged that his company did not find any illegal eBooks even after hiring two firms to search the Web for unauthorized copies.

    Because both the defense and prosecution agreed that ElcomSoft sold software designed to crack copyright protections, the case essentially turned on ElcomSoft's state of mind during the period it was offering the software.

    After much wrangling among attorneys over the definition of the word "willful," the judge told jurors that in order to find the company guilty, they must agree that company representatives knew their actions were illegal and intended to violate the law. Merely offering a product that could violate copyrights was not enough to warrant a conviction, the jury instructions said.
    Who would have thunk?!?! I thought they hadn't a snowballs chance in hell...

    Good lawyers!
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  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    Nov 2001
    now thats what i call a political decision. All of adobes copyright claims on their encyption hold firm and an international sceen is avoided.

    imagine that...no illegal ebooks on kazaa!?!...maybe they didn't look their?
    Bukhari:V3B48N826 “The Prophet said, ‘Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?’ The women said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘This is because of the deficiency of a woman’s mind.’”

  3. #3
    Leftie Linux Lover the_JinX's Avatar
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    Nov 2001
    Beverwijk Netherlands

    just my EURO 0.2
    ASCII stupid question, get a stupid ANSI.
    When in Russia, pet a PETSCII.

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  4. #4
    Senior Member The Old Man's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
    Where this affects the eBook in PDF format is this: When you produce a book using the Adobe products, Distiller and Acrobat, you can specify various tweaks on it, one includes not being able to print it, just read it in the "Adobe eBook Reader". You download the eBook into your Adobe Reader where it stays. Great for long plane trips. Not so great if your eyes don't like to read the on-screen print for a whole novel, because as you try to increase the size of the font for easier reading you get into the horizontal-page-scroll thingy that is tiresome for most people. There is yet another version of eBook reader, this one by Microsoft, where the author can set the font size and it stays that size, just makes more pages with fewer words on each page and turns like a book. I probably like the MS version, as it preserves your font faces and size which makes it easier for your readers. Many authors like the Acrobat version better because they can "protect" their book from being shared, although it seems to me that any author would be at least marginally pleased to know people were sharing his story. Now, comes the Russians: If I remember correctly, they said at the first that their purpose was for people to be able to print the eBooks they bought (usually for a couple bucks online for download) so they could adjust the print and read the story more comfortably. Now, whether that was *really* their purpose, only they know, but apparently their opponents could not persuade otherwise. BTW, Stephen King gave away free eBook versions of his "The Hitchiker" for several weeks, then sold copies of his next "Novella" for a buck apiece, as i recall.
    Both sides of a related argument go something like this: If you buy a hardcopy, you can copy it on the xerox machine and give it to your friend, can't you? ... Yes, you can, but with an eBook you can turn it into a file and send it to everyone on the planet.
    The fact is, if you download an average eBook, then print it in a font you like to read, it may cost you more for printer ink and paper than it would have cost you to just go buy the hardcopy! That's why i prefer the MS eBook Reader
    Anyway, that's just one phase of this situation, there are other considerations on both sides of the discussion. Glad they got that one over with, now everyone can go back to work, the Russians doing their thing and the Adobe's doing their thing!

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