PR: DMCA Motions Filed in ElcomSoft Case
Defense team claims DMCA is 'vague, overly broad and ... misapplied'

28 January 2002

San Jose, CA -- Joseph Burton, lead attorney for ElcomSoft, announced today the filing of a series of DMCA-related motions in the ongoing U.S. Federal case against the Russian Software Company. The motions, filed in Judge Ronald M. Whyte's court, are specific to the application and constitutionality of the DMCA and spell out the defense's arguments for ElcomSoft. The motions argue that the DMCA is vague, overly broad and has been misapplied in this case.

In July 2001, ElcomSoft was thrust into the media spotlight when their employee, Dmitry Sklyarov was arrested and charged under the DMCA. Sklyarov was detained in the U.S. from July until December 2001 when the charges were dropped and he was allowed to return to Russia. ElcomSoft remains under indictment.

Under current DMCA guidelines, all hardware and software development companies are potentially vulnerable to prosecution. By developing innovative technologies (interface, plug-in or bolt-on) which lawfully circumvent usage controls, companies may find themselves in the same predicament as ElcomSoft. Being caught-up in an ongoing court battle, forced to spend valuable R&D dollars defending themselves and their employees. This ground-breaking case will serve to clarify the boundaries of the DMCA.

When asked why ElcomSoft developed and sold their AEBPR tool, Alex Katalov, ElcomSoft's CEO, stated "This tool allows the legitimate owner of the Adobe eBook the same rights they would naturally have with a book they purchase, and this is called 'fair use' rights. In the offline world, we purchase a book and can give it away, tear pages out, send to a loved one, read it to our children and so forth. The AEBPR tool enables 'fair use' by allowing the owner of the Adobe ebook to copy or transfer their book to other technologies. For example, if I wanted to transfer a novel to my PDA for convenience, I could do that. If I were blind, I could use this tool to copy my content from Adobe's eBook to an audio player so I could hear and enjoy it."

Katalov continues on the subject of why the company sold AEBPR: "We had an effective software tool and naturally we sold it; ElcomSoft is a software business."

Joseph Burton, lead attorney stated "When developing the AEBPR application, ElcomSoft did what it does best. They created this innovative tool to enable the 'fair use' rights of the technology purchaser. This is a lawful goal."

"The U.S. Attorney's office would have us believe that ElcomSoft did something wrong and infringed upon the copyright of the author and this is quite simply incorrect," Burton explained.

Burton continues, "This is not a remote or isolated case -- every technology company around the world should follow this case intently. Each of them has a stake in the outcome of the ElcomSoft case. This case represents the entire technology industry and its outcome will have far reaching ramifications that could impact technology R&D for years to come."

The next court date is scheduled for March 4, 2002.

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