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Programmer denies copyright violations

Programmer denies copyright violations

A Russian software programmer and his Moscow-based employer have pleaded not guilty of violating a controversial US copyright law. Dmitry Sklyarov and the Elcomsoft company are charged with selling and conspiring to sell technology that allowed readers to bypass certain restrictions imposed by electronic-book publishers. He was formally arraigned on Thursday after negotiations to reach a plea bargain broke down. He is free on $50,000 bail, but must stay in northern California.

The case has generated international protests and the programmer's cause has been taken up by freedom of speech advocates who have been holding protests against his arrest and indictment. It is the first case to be brought to court under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which bans the sale of technology that can allow people to thwart copyright protections in computer and electronic programs.

If convicted, Mr Sklyarov could face a total of 25 years in prison. The 26-year-old programmer was arrested in July after presenting a paper to a conference on the encryption methods used to protect electronic books. He wrote a program that allows people using Adobe's eBook Reader software to get around copyright protection controls and copy and print digital books, transfer them to other computers and have the computer read them aloud.

News source: BBC News

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