FC: David Wagner on Princeton student worried about DMCA

From: Declan McCullagh (declanat_private)
Date: Wed Nov 27 2002 - 16:55:10 PST

Alex Halderman did not reply to Politech. Previous messages:



From: David Wagner <dawat_private>
Subject: FC: Princeton student is latest to say he could be sued under DMCA
To: declanat_private
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 21:56:13 -0800 (PST)


This might not be as far-fetched as you might think.

Princeton can only guarantee a legal defense against civil suits; they
can't indemnify against a possible criminal prosecution.  The DMCA
comes with felony prohibitions on violations.  Having looked at this
issue in the past (due to concerns that I or my students might be sued),
I couldn't fault anyone for being concerned enough about the criminal
provisions of the DMCA to censor themselves.

After spending many hours with lawyers examining the implications of
the DMCA, I personally have stopped doing work on copyright protection
systems due to the legal overhead and uncertainties.  I consider this
a cautious, but not irrational, response to the DMCA.

Feel free to print this comment in politech if you like.

-- David Wagner


From: "Robert Killingsworth" <rkillingsworthat_private>
To: <declanat_private>
Subject: Re: Princeton student is latest to say he could be sued under DMCA
Date: Mon, 25 Nov 2002 23:08:31 -0800


Just last week, Alex Halderman presented one paper on the subject at an ACM 
conference in DC (see http://crypto.stanford.edu/DRM2002/prog.html). Is it 
a different one that he plans to present in the spring?



Date: Tue, 26 Nov 2002 10:54:15 +0000
From: David Cantrell <davidat_private>
To: Declan McCullagh <declanat_private>
Subject: Re: FC: Princeton student is latest to say he could be sued under DMCA

On Mon, Nov 25, 2002 at 11:14:43PM -0500, Declan McCullagh wrote:
 > [Yes, this fellow could be sued, I suppose, but the suit would almost
 > certainly be thrown out of court. (Rule 11 sanctions, anyone?) Also, I'm
 > confused: Princeton has guaranteed a legal defense, but the student
 > self-censored the paper anyway to avoid hypothetical DMCA liablity? Maybe
 > Alex can explain. See: http://news.com.com/2010-12-950229.html --Declan]

He is concerned that even though the university has guaranteed to defend him,
they might lose the case and he would be liable?

Grand Inquisitor Reverend David Cantrell | http://www.cantrell.org.uk/david


[Of course Dmitry Sklyarov was an employee of a for-profit business, not a 
university researcher. The DMCA treats the two classes of people 
differently. --Declan]

Date: Thu, 28 Nov 2002 10:31:33 +1100
From: Nathan Cochrane <ncochraneat_private>
Reply-To: ncochraneat_private
Organization: The Age newspaper

Hi Declan

Researchers, especially visitors to the US, have very real concerns about 
the DMCA. Look what is happening to Dmitry Sklyarov after Adobe put the 
Feds on to him.

I spoke to Reihaneh Safavi-Naini and Yejing Wang from the University of 
Wollongong in New South Wales (Australia), who presented their paper on 
"traitor tracing", a technique that allows Hollywood to track down pirates, 
at ACM's digital restrictions management conference, "DRM 2002".

They have presented at previous events and the spectre of prosecution or 
litigation under US laws is very real to them.

Safavi-Naini, a 20-year security research veteran, is a critic of the US 
Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) - a contested law designed to 
strengthen copyright holders' rights over that of citizens and researchers. 
The DMCA applies heavy penalties to academic researchers seeking to 
strengthen security schemes.

"Last year, I had to sign an agreement that if I am arrested because the 
content of the paper would have been interpreted as in breach of DMCA it is 
my responsibility and not ACM. It was bizarre."

She says organisers have inexplicably dropped the requirement for this 
year's conference. Under the DMCA law, if overseas researchers were found 
to be in breach, they could be arrested, deported and refused re-entry to 
the US.

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