The "Chilling Effect" on Digital Development: US vs. ElcomSoft Presentation Transcript
The "Chilling Effect" on Digital Development: US vs. ElcomSoft 2006 AEJMC Midwinter Conference 25 February 2006Bowling Green State University Bowling Green, Ohio.
Dmitry Sklyarov• 27-year-old Russian computer programmer for ElcomSoft Co. Ltd.• Ph.D. doctoral student in cryptanalysis, which is the study of electronic security.
Advanced eBook Inscriber (AEBIN)• eBook allowed a user to download and “read” electronic books from the Internet.• AEBIN was designed to convert “sealed” ﬁles into “inscribed” ﬁles (Elcomsoft, N.D.).• Another use that has been described for this program would allow for the transfer of ﬁles between computers (EFF, 2002A).• Under Russian law, developing and distributing of this program is legal.
Adobe Response to AEBIN• Adobe noted that the threaten the protective nature of the eBook format.• AEBIN could also have allowed illegal copy of protected materials.• AEBIN could be used in the peer-to-peer transfer of unprotected ﬁles.
Digital Millennium Copyright Act• A bill designed to bring copyright law up to date with digital media.• Criminalizes production and dissemination of technology that can circumvent copyright protection measures.• Heightens the penalties for copyright infringement on the Internet.
What is the significance of U.S. v Elcomsoft?• It was the ﬁrst direct challenge to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.• It questioned the need for accessibility to produced goods.• It examined who could ask for the right for protection under copyright laws (government control v corporate interest).
What is the significance of U.S. v Elcomsoft?• It brought in the concept of computer programs being a “language”.• It called into question the impact and affect of the DMCA on international copyright and media law.
The "Chilling Effect" on Digital Development• The DMCA could prevent “fair use” through the criminalization of copying software.• It also prevent the analysis of software and hardware for academic purposes.• It could lead to the suppression of academic security research through the jailing security researchers.
Weaknesses of DMCA• DMCA contains no provision for Fair Use.• You can no longer "buy" any kind of intellectual property.• The cost of licensing the DRM technology is prohibitive for "independents".
Adobe v ElcomSoft• Adobe could not prove that the AEBIN was used for illegal activities.• ElcomSoft pulled all of the AEBIN software off of their website and prevent further sale.• Adobe removes themselves as the plaintiff from the case after ElcomSoft …then
U.S. v ElcomSoft• The Department of Justice takes over as the plaintiff.• “There isnt any law in this area” - Assistant US Attorney Scott Frewing• ElcomSoft felt that the broad protection of the DMCA could prevent future research on security and other digital matters.
During the Trial• There were First Amendment issues with DMCA.• DMCA, according to the motion ﬁled, is overly broad and “burdens more speech than is necessary to serve the government’s interest” (EFF, 2002).• The Department of Justice argued that DMCA does not remove fair use, but it does put limitations on digital transferability.
Verdict of the Trial• On December 17, 2002, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on all counts.• The jurors agreed ElcomSofts product was illegal but acquitted the company because they believed the company didnt mean to violate the law.• The panel found the DMCA itself confusing, making it easy for jurors to believe that executives from Russia might not fully understand it.
By-Products of the DMCA• "Super DMCA" (S-DMCA) legislation passed in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, Illinois and Michigan.• The Digital Media Consumers’ Rights Act (DMCRA) seeks to protect the rights of the consumer.• The Consumer Broadband and Digital Television Promotion Act (CBDTPA) which is more restrictive than the DMCA.