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Russian Arrested at Hacker Meeting

July 18, 2001

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ A Russian computer programer is accused of distributing software that allows users to copy electronic books, a violation of federal anti-piracy law.

Dmitry Sklyarov was arrested Monday after attending a Las Vegas hacker convention, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

Sklyarov is believed to be the first person arrested under the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act _ a law that prohibits attempts to circumvent technology intended to protect copyrighted works.

Sklyarov was being held without bail in the custody of U.S. marshals and awaits extradition to California, where he has been indicted. He faces up to five years in prison and a $500,000 fine if convicted.

Sklyarov, who works for Moscow-based ElcomSoft Co., is accused of distributing the company’s copying tools that crack the encryption used on some electronic books in Adobe Acrobat format.

Executives at Adobe Systems Inc., which produces the Acrobat format, asked the government to investigate ElcomSoft’s activities.

ElcomSoft’s president, Alexander Katalov, said the software was developed to let users copy electronic books onto multiple computers.

``Dmitry was one of three programmers who worked on this,″ said Katalov. ``The corporation holds the copyright. I am very surprised that he was arrested.″

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