The trial of a Russian software company accused of breaching strict new US copyright laws begins today.
Moscow-based ElcomSoft is at the centre of the first legal test of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) which is designed to prevent digital piracy.
ElcomSoft is accused of selling a program that allowed users to copy and distribute electronic books.
The case has attracted widespread attention since July 2001, when the FBI arrested an ElcomSoft programmer, Dmitry Sklyarov, during a Las Vegas hackers' conference.
The arrest led to protests and a 'Free Dmitry' campaign. The charges were dropped in exchange for Sklyarov testifying against his employers.
The DMCA makes it a crime to distribute tools that can be used to circumvent copyright controls on digital products such as electronic books, encrypted music files and DVDs.
ElcomSoft's lawyers have maintained that the company did not intend to breach the Act, arguing that the US was stretching the meaning of the law.
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