DMCA Criminal Law Provisions – Circumvention of Access Control Protection Measures
Software company ElcomSoft sold a piece of software known as the Advanced eBook Processor.
The tool as marketed a “password retriever” but Adobe claimed it was a tool for circumventing password protection of eBooks, and therefore was a CRIMINAL violation of copyright access controls (we have talked about civil liability under the DMCA section 1201). The software allowed users to open Adobe eBooks for free. Adobe alleged this was willful prosecution a a case was filed seeking a jury trial in San Jose, California. Some free speech proponents did not like the case bering filed in the first place arguing that the government was doing Adobe's work for them (which if at all should have been a case limited to civil liability and not criminal). The jury ultimately found the Defendant NOT GUILTY and that there was no willful infringement of the DMCA. Many heralded this as a big win for companies and programmers who design cutting edge product that can serve legitimate purposes.