Judge denies motion to dismiss Elcomsoft case

A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss the case against Moscow-based software company ElcomSoft for allegedly violating...

A federal judge has denied a motion to dismiss the case against Moscow-based software company ElcomSoft for allegedly violating the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).

The government is prosecuting ElcomSoft for allegedly creating and distributing software over the Internet that lets users circumvent the copyright protection in Adobe Systems's eBook format.

The attorney for ElcomSoft had argued that the activity at issue in the case took place outside the jurisdiction of the court.

"Our argument was that the offence occurred primarily on the Internet and not in the US," said attorney Joseph Burton, of Duane Morris LLP and Affiliates.

Judge Ronald Whyte of the US District Court for the Northern District of California denied the motion. He based his decision in part on the fact that the software was offered for sale on a Web server located in the US and was purchased by people in the US, Burton said.

On 15 April, the court will hold a status conference on two other motions for dismissal. One is based on an argument that the DMCA violates the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of expression, and the other claims the law is unconstitutional because it is too vague.

"The statute doesn't clearly define the tools that are prohibited, and it prohibits some that are [actually legal]," Burton said.

ElcomSoft is being prosecuted for distributing a program called Advanced eBook Processor. The company and a programmer, Dmitry Sklyarov, were charged with violating the DMCA after Sklyarov presented information about the product at the Def Con hacker conference in Las Vegas last July. The charges against Sklyarov were dropped after a wave of protests.

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