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Princeton Student Sued Over Paper on CD Copying


— October 9, 2003

Three days after a Princeton graduate student posted a paper on his Web site detailing how to defeat the copy-protection software on a new music CD by pressing a single computer key, the maker of the software said on Thursday it would sue him.

In a statement, SunnComm Technologies Inc. said it would sue Alex Halderman over the paper, which said SunnComm’s MediaMax CD-3 software could be blocked by holding down the “Shift” key on a computer keyboard as a CD using the software was inserted into a disc drive. . . .

[H]alderman — who received an undergraduate degree from Princeton earlier this year and is now pursuing a doctorate in computer science with an emphasis on computer security — said he had not yet heard directly from SunnComm in regards to litigation but was unconcerned.

“I’m still not very worried about litigation under the DMCA, I don’t think there’s any case,” he told Reuters. “I don’t think telling people to press the ‘Shift’ key is a violation of the DMCA.”

Sounds to me like SunnComm might be better off suing itself for releasing ridiculously ineffective software. Reuters has the details here.


Three days after a Princeton graduate student posted a paper on his Web site detailing how to defeat the copy-protection software on a new music CD by pressing a single computer key, the maker of the software said on Thursday it would sue him.

In a statement, SunnComm Technologies Inc. said it would sue Alex Halderman over the paper, which said SunnComm’s MediaMax CD-3 software could be blocked by holding down the “Shift” key on a computer keyboard as a CD using the software was inserted into a disc drive. . . .

[H]alderman — who received an undergraduate degree from Princeton earlier this year and is now pursuing a doctorate in computer science with an emphasis on computer security — said he had not yet heard directly from SunnComm in regards to litigation but was unconcerned.

“I’m still not very worried about litigation under the DMCA, I don’t think there’s any case,” he told Reuters. “I don’t think telling people to press the ‘Shift’ key is a violation of the DMCA.”

Sounds to me like SunnComm might be better off suing itself for releasing ridiculously ineffective software. Reuters has the details here.

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