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Setback for ElcomSoft

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A Federal judge has turned down a motion to dismiss the prosecution of ElcomSoft in the first case brought under America's controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

During a pre-trial hearing on Monday, lawyers argued that since ElcomSoft's Advanced eBook Processor, which can circumvent the weak copyright protection in electronic books, was legal in Russia and distributed over the Internet - a US court had no right to adjudicate on the matter.

This argument failed to impress US District Court Judge Ronald Whyte.

"The conduct which underlies the indictment includes ElcomSoft's offering its AEBPR program for sale over the Internet, from a computer server physically located in the United States," he wrote in a ruling, Reuters reports.
"Purchasers obtained copies of the program in the United States. Payments were directed to, and received by, an entity in the United States."

The judge is yet to rule on two more significant motions. It's argued that charges brought against Moscow-based ElcomSoft under the DMCA should be dismissed because the law is "too broad and vague", and that the criminal charges against ElcomSoft are likely to prove "unconstitutional", attacking its rights to free speech.

The prosecution opposes these motions and contends that Elcomsoft's tool could be used to illegally circumvent the copy protection in Adobe eBooks, and was sold as such, in violation of the DMCA.

It's unclear when the judge will rule on the two remaining motions to dismiss. The case is scheduled to return to court April 15, at which time (providing the case is not dismissed) a trial date may be set. ®

External links

Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA): "US v. Sklyarov" archive

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