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F & F


Judge in Elcomsoft Case Upholds DMCA
posted by md on Thursday May 09, @07:06AM
from the dept.
Copyright Fred von Lohmann writes "In San Jose, CA , a federal judge today denied a Russian software vendor's request to dismiss criminal charges against the company for violations of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Judge Ronald Whyte of the Federal District Court for the Northern District of California ruled that Elcomsoft, a company that markets eBook formatter software, must face criminal charges. Rejecting two legal challenges, the judge ruled that the DMCA's ban on copyright circumvention tools is constitutional even if the circumvention tools are used for legal purposes.

Despite acknowledging a lack of clarity in the Congressional record surrounding the adoption of the DMCA, Judge Whyte ruled that due process was not violated. He said the plain meaning of the DMCA statute was to ban circumvention tools completely because Congress had assumed that "most uses" of the tools would be for unlawful infringement rather than fair or noninfringing uses. On Elcomsoft's First Amendment argument, Judge Whyte ruled that the computer program qualifies as speech, rejecting the government's argument that software is not speech. The court then ruled that the First Amendment was satisfied because the government's purpose was to control the "function" of the software rather than its "content," and that the statute did not ban more speech than necessary to meet its goal of preventing piracy and promoting electronic commerce." See also, The Elcomsoft case archive.

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