FC: EFF calls it quits for Felten DMCA case after loss in district court

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Wed Feb 06 2002 - 01:31:49 PST

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    Politech Felten archive:
    From: Will Doherty <wildat_private>
    Subject: EFF: Security Researchers Drop Scientific Censorship Case
    Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 00:53:27 -0800
    Electronic Frontier Foundation Media Release
    For Immediate Release: Wednesday, February 6, 2002
    Cindy Cohn
       Legal Director
       Electronic Frontier Foundation
       +1 415 436-9333 x108 (office), +1 415 823-2148 (cell)
    Ed Felten
       +1 650 723-0366 (currently at Stanford University)
    Security Researchers Drop Scientific Censorship Case
    Government, Industry Claim DMCA Not a Threat to Science
    San Francisco - Citing assurances from the government, the
    recording industry, and a federal court that the threats
    against his research team were ill-conceived and will not
    be repeated, Professor Edward Felten and his research team
    decided not to appeal the November dismissal of their case
    by a New Jersey Federal Court.
    The government stated in documents filed with the court in
    November 2001 that "scientists attempting to study access
    control technologies" are not subject to the Digital
    Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The Recording Industry
    Association of America echoed this, stating "we felt Felten
    should publish his findings, because everyone benefits from
    research into the vulnerabilities of security mechanisms."
    "Based on these and other statements from the government
    and the recording industry, the judge dismissed our case,"
    noted Princeton Professor Ed Felten. "Although we would
    have preferred an enforceable court ruling, our research
    team decided to take the government and industry at their
    word that they will never again threaten publishers of
    scientific research that exposes vulnerabilities in
    security systems for copyrighted works."
    The research team led by Professor Felten included
    professors Bede Liu and Daniel Wallach and researchers
    Scott Craver, Min Wu, Ben Swartzlander, Adam Stubblefield,
    and Richard Drews Dean.
    Together with USENIX, an association of over 10,000
    technologists that publishes such scientific research,
    Princeton Professor Edward Felten and his research team
    had asked the court to declare that they have a First
    Amendment right to discuss and publish their work, even if
    it may discuss weaknesses in the technological systems used
    to control digital music. The DMCA, passed in 1998, outlaws
    providing technology and information that can be used to
    gain access to a copyrighted work.
    The recording industry threatened the researchers under the
    DMCA for their planned release of a research paper
    describing the defects in the proposed Secure Digital Music
    Initiative (SDMI) lock-down schemes for audio CDs. The
    original threats led the researchers to withdraw the paper
    from a planned conference. In response to the lawsuit, the
    recording industry promised not to sue the research team or
    USENIX for presenting the research at a USENIX security
    conference in August 2001.
    "The statements by the government and the recording
    industry indicate that they now recognize they can't use
    the DMCA to squelch science," added EFF Legal Director
    Cindy Cohn. "If they are as good as their word, science
    can continue unabated. Should they backslide, EFF will be
    Documents related to the case:
    This media release:
    About EFF:
    The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading civil
    liberties organization working to protect rights in the
    digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF actively encourages and
    challenges industry and government to support free
    expression, privacy, and openness in the information
    society. EFF is a member-supported organization and
    maintains one of the most-linked-to websites in the world at
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