Drop that E-Book or I'll Shoot!

Monday, 9 December 2002, 1:39 PM EST

Last Thursday federal prosecutors wrapped up their direct case against Russian software company ElcomSoft for creating and distributing software that would "crack" Adobe's proprietary software designed to prevent copying of electronic books - the defense will argue their side this week.

ElcomSoft is a Russian company that has specialized in "password recovery" software. At issue in the case is a software program called the Advanced eBook Processor (AEBPR), a program that exploited insecurities in Adobe's E-book reader to allow a user to essentially convert encrypted and copy-protected E-book text to "naked" or unencrypted plain text. As described by the company, AEBPR "lets users make backup copies of eBooks that are protected with passwords, security plug-ins, various DRM (Digital Rights Management) schemes like EBX and WebBuy, enabling them to be readable with any PDF viewer, without additional plug-ins. In addition, the program makes it easy to decrypt eBooks and load them onto Palm Pilots and other small, portable devices. This gives users -- especially users who read on airplanes or in hotels -- a more convenient option than using larger notebooks with limited battery power to read their eBooks..."

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