U.S. vs. ElcomSoft - My Trial Coverage
December 14, 2002
Vladimir Katalov Takes The Stand In The ElcomSoft Trial (Part 2 of 2)

Here's part two of my account of Vladimir Katalov on the witness stand.

You'll notice that there are more links now within the text. I've decided to start integrating the various documents and evidence I've been collecting since last year (since July 17, 2001) about the dispute between Adobe and ElcomSoft.

Where the documents are still available in their original location online, I link to them there, with a link my version as a backup. However, some of the emails and message board postings have been removed since last year, so I'm really glad I saved my own copies of them.

I will sprinkle links to the evidence accordingly, as they come up. I'm also in the process of creating an "online evidence" page with everything itemized for easy reference.

I'll also be going back to my earlier posts and adding links to evidence wherever they fit in.

Two more witnesses (Alexander Katalov and the RegNow! employee) and then off to the Final Arguments...

Vladimir Katalov Takes The Stand In The ElcomSoft Trial: Part 2 of 2

Witness for the Defense
Vladimir Katalov, Managing Director, ElcomSoft
(Brother of Alexander Katalov, President, ElcomSoft)

This segment follows this post.

When I got to the courtroom at 8:30 am, Defense Attorney Joseph Burton had finished questioning Vladimir Katalov and the Prosecutor, U.S. Attorney Scott Frewing, was just starting his cross-examination.

"You did some marketing?" Frewing asked.

"Yes." Vladimir replied.

Frewing asked Vladimir a series of questions in order to establish some of the basic facts about the structure of ElcomSoft's online business. Frewing's questions gradually enabled Vladimir to explain how the actual content resides on the ElcomSoft website, although RegNow! handles the monetary transactions.

Next, Frewing moved on to ElcomSoft's PDF password recovery software (The Advanced PDF Password Recovery program or APDFPR).

"It doesn't really recover passwords, does it?" Frewing asked.

"No. It doesn't really recover passwords." Vladimir agreed.

What they are talking about is how ElcomSoft's "password recovery" products actually bypass the security altogether, rather than actually recovering a password is and providing it for the user to enter into the program to decrypt it.

Frewing used Vladimir's testimony to establish how Vladimir had arranged for the promotion and selling of the AEBPR program.

Frewing then asked Vladimir about his personal knowledge and understanding of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). According to Frewing, Adobe sent ElcomSoft a letter with some reference to the DMCA in September 2000 (10 months before the AEBPR e-book processor was released).

Sorry, I don't have a copy of the September 2000 letter.

"You said you looked at the statute?" Frewing asked, referring to the DMCA.

"Yes." Vladimir said.

"Carefully?" Frewing said.

"Not enough to understand it." Vladimir said.

Vladimir tried to explain his position better, acknowledging that he did research the DMCA after receiving the letter in September 2000.

"Do you understand it (the DMCA)?" Frewing asked.

"I'm not sure, but I think I do." Vladimir replied.

Frewing kept trying to establish that Vladimir had read the DMCA and understood it. Vladimir agreed that he had read it, but was pretty iffy on the "understood it" part. Vladimir was very adamant that, at that time (September 2000) he had thought that he understood it. However, when asked point blank if he now understands the DMCA, he could not seem to answer with complete certainty.

Frewing mentioned that there's no mention of "Fair Use" on the ElcomSoft website. Vladimir replied that language about fair use was included some of the company's press releases.

Frewing showed the Jury a marketing letter from ElcomSoft on the big screen and made the point that the AEBPR software was marketed as "a tool to decrypt ebooks."

Then Frewing moved on to an issue I'm still not sure what to make of: posting to bugtraq, and whether or not it is good or bad to do so. Earlier, when questioning Dmitry, Frewing seemed to be making the point that if ElcomSoft was really trying to use the AEBPR program as a demonstration program to make a point and improve PDF security in the long run, they would have published their information to a bug tracking mailing list to fuel the debate. (An ironic suggestion since publishing information about decrypting (circumventing) copy protected content can be a violation of the DMCA in itself. -- Interesting stance for the Prosecution to take.)

Frewing made the point that Vladimir didn't post the information to bugtraq, and Vladimir brought up that he wasn't a technician and wouldn't be the one to post information like that to a buglist anyway.

Despite Vladimir's comment above, for whatever reason, over a year after this dispute began with Adobe, on July 12, 2002, Vladimir posted to bugtraq about the AEBPR program. (If you have trouble accessing the bugtraq site, here's my own HTML version of the post .) Frewing ended his questions by bringing up this fairly recent bugtraq post.

"After you had already sold the (AEBPR) program, you posted to bugtraq?" Frewing asked.

"Yes." Vladimir said.

"After you heard about Adobe?" Frewing asked. (Meaning the dispute w/ Adobe, I presume.)

"Yes." Vladimir said.

"After you knew the FBI was involved?" Frewing asked.

"Yes." Vladimir said.

"No further questions." Frewing said.

Coming up next, ElcomSoft President Alexander Katalov takes the stand.

Posted by Lisa at December 14, 2002 08:07 PM | TrackBack
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