Adobe: ElcomSoft Outside U.S. Law

Friday, 6 December 2002, 10:52 AM EST

A former Adobe Systems piracy investigator testified Wednesday that it was impractical to expect a foreign firm to comply directly with a U.S. law protecting rights of digital copyright owners.

Speaking as a witness for federal prosecutors, former investigator Daryl Spano said he chose not to inform ElcomSoft, a Russian software company on trial here for violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that it had breached the statute.

Instead, Spano asked the company in an e-mail to remove one of its software products -- Adobe eBook Processor -- from its website because the program could abet copyright infringement.

"I probably would not have sent, to an overseas location such as Russia, a citation of U.S. code," Spano said. "My thought is they would just balk at it."

Spano's testimony rounded out day two of proceedings in the ElcomSoft trial, which is being heard in U.S. District Court. Federal prosecutors are charging the company with illegally creating and selling a program that disables encryption on Adobe eBooks.

The proceedings have drawn scrutiny from followers of digital rights issues, who see it as an important test case for the controversial DMCA (PDF). The act, drafted in 1998 as a measure to protect copyrights on digital content, has drawn criticism from some for placing too many limitations on how people can use material they purchase in electronic format.

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