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Jury Acquits Elcomsoft in eBook Copyright Case

December 16, 2002

Jury Acquits Elcomsoft in eBook Copyright Case

Dmitry Sklyarov Odyssey Leaves Prosecutor Empty-Handed

The highly publicized case that began with the arrest of Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov today came to a close. A federal jury in San Jose today returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts in the criminal trial of Sklyarov's employer, a Russian software company called Elcomsoft Ltd. The case was the one of the first criminal cases to be brought under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 ("DMCA").

"Today's jury verdict sends a strong message to federal prosecutors who believe that tool makers should be thrown in jail just because a copyright owner doesn't like the tools they build," said EFF Senior Intellectual Property Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "We have said from the beginning that Dmitry Sklyarov, Elcomsoft, and technologists like them are not pirates, and today a jury agreed."

The case began in July 16, 2001, when the FBI arrested Dmitry Sklyarov at the Defcon conference in Las Vegas. Sklyarov was the lead engineer on an Elcomsoft product known as the Advanced eBook Processor (AEBPR), which software giant Adobe Systems Inc. claimed was a "circumvention tool" prohibited by the DMCA.

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