A programmer for a Russian software company was arrested in Las Vegas on charges that he violated US copyright law, shortly after he gave a presentation at the Def Con conference.
This would be the second prosecution under the criminal section of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which makes it a crime to manufacture products that circumvent copyright protection safeguards. The Act took effect last year.
Dmitry Sklyarov, an employee of ElmcomSoft in Moscow, and author of the Advanced eBook Processor software program that Adobe Systems has alleged is in violation of US Copyright Law, was detained as he was attempting to return home.
He is waiting to be transferred to San Francisco where he has been indicted on the copyright charges.
Vladimir Katalov, managing director of ElcomSoft, told Planet PDF and Planet eBook that the reason for Sklyarov's arrest has been cited as distributing the Advanced eBook Processor and for his speech at DefCon.
ElcomSoft publishes a program that allows users to view encrypted Adobe Systems Portable Document Format (PDF) files and e-book files.
A statement on the company's website reads: "We would like to state our intention to publish the sources of our software on the internet and do our best to make them available to everyone all over the world if Adobe Systems continues to pursue us."
Meanwhile, FileOpen Systems, an Adobe Acrobat 5 security partner that provides tools to protect digital documents for distribution, applauded Adobe Systems' legal efforts.
In a letter from Sanford Bingham, president and chief executive of FileOpen Systems, the company condemns the actions of ElcomSoft in releasing software to remove encryption from PDF files.
"The mere fact that such software can be created is no justification for doing so, still less for releasing the cracking tools as a commercial product," said Bingham.
He added that, once the document has been encrypted, ElcomSoft's software steals the key. "This is the equivalent of a burglar waiting for the owner to unlock the front door to his house and then sneaking in behind," he said.
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