ElcomSoft Case in Jurors' Hands

Friday, 13 December 2002, 10:23 AM EST

The legal fate of Russian software developer ElcomSoft is now up to an American jury, which began deliberating Thursday afternoon to determine whether the company is guilty of criminal violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

Jurors did not reach a verdict Thursday and will return Friday morning to continue deliberations in U.S. District Court here.

If convicted, ElcomSoft would be the first company to be found guilty by a jury of criminal violations of the DMCA, a controversial 1998 statute that prohibits the development and sale of technologies that undo protections placed on copyrighted works.

In ElcomSoft's case, the government is charging that a program the company began selling last year, the Adobe eBook Processor, violates the law by illegally disabling encryption on copyrighted works published in Adobe's eBook format.

Attorneys for both the government and ElcomSoft presented closing arguments Thursday morning, the sixth day of the trial. In both statements, lawyers focused on the question of "willfulness," one of the key issues that the jury must consider.

In order to return a guilty verdict, jurors must agree that not only did ElcomSoft create a product to decrypt e-books, but that it also did so willfully in violation of U.S. law.

[ Read more ]

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