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RIAA attempting suppression of SDMI paper

By kmself in News
Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 06:15:54 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

Various sources are reporting on legal threats by the RIAA to suppress a highly critical report on SDMI using the DMCA, including The Register, BBC, and CNN.

SDMI is a set of technologies intended to permanently mark digital audio recordings as a means to support what some call digital rights management, and others a trampling of public rights to information.

According to the BBC:

This week a group of academics is poised to go public with research which shows music industry efforts to make digital music pirate proof are doomed.... But the music industry is threatening legal action to gag the group and stop their findings being widely distributed.

The Register's Thomas Greene reports:

The academic cracker crew led by Princeton University Computer Science Professor Edward Felten, which answered the HackSDMI public challenge of last September with 'unqualified' results, has received veiled threats of criminal prosecution under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA ) from the SDMI Foundation in hopes that the team will be cowed into withholding what they've learned from an upcoming computer science conference.

"Any disclosure of information gained from participating in the Public Challenge....could subject you and your research team to actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act," SDMI Foundation mouthpiece Matthew Oppenheim warns in a letter to the Felten team.

Other related links include the Original SDMI Challenge, and the Hiding Workshop CFP.


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o report on SDMI
o The Register
o BBC [2]
o The Register [2]
o Original SDMI Challenge
o Hiding Workshop CFP
o Also by kmself

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RIAA attempting suppression of SDMI paper | 23 comments (8 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
A few more links. (3.75 / 4) (#15)
by wiredog on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 07:43:35 AM EST

There's an article in the New York Times free registration required, yadda, yadda. And an early version of the paper, with the RIAA letter, at Cryptome

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.

Researchers backed down... (4.25 / 4) (#16)
by wiredog on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 12:14:43 PM EST

The story in Wired on the researchers backing down from publication.

From the story:
Ross Anderson, who is on the conference program committee, said that "there is a question whether it will be prudent to hold certain types of security conferences in the U.S. in the future. We can't really tolerate a situation where anyone who breaks a system that embarrasses someone gets served with a writ"

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

And (4.00 / 4) (#22)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 08:04:53 AM EST

Is the RIAA running scared?

"The DMCA is being constitutionally undermined by the RIAA's own decision to try to gag a high-profile professor."

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

I wonder if (2.66 / 3) (#18)
by ZanThrax on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 10:08:56 PM EST

anyone has stored a copy of this paper on a machine that is connected to the internet? (Those of you who read Transmetropolitan will see what I'm getting at. If its not obvious.)

Time for a new .sig

"What you're getting at" isn't necessary (4.66 / 3) (#21)
by RiscTaker on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 04:06:03 AM EST

The information was leaked to Cryptome and is available here.

Things are only impossible until they are not.

[ Parent ]

SDMI now claiming no legal threat (5.00 / 8) (#19)
by kmself on Thu Apr 26, 2001 at 11:15:23 PM EST

I received the following by way of Don Marti:

CONTACT: Amy Weiss
Thursday, April 26, 2001
Jano Cabrera 202/775-0101


The Secure Digital Music Initiative Foundation (SDMI) does not -- nor did it ever -- intend to bring any legal action against Professor Felten or his co-authors. We sent the letter because we felt an obligation to the watermark licensees who had voluntarily submitted their valuable inventions to SDMI for testing.

For the record, the Recording Industry Association of America, one of the founding members of SDMI, strongly believes in academic freedom and Freedom of Speech. This issue, however, is about the competing interests of scientists -- those of the watermark technology companies that have invented new technologies and those of Professor Felten who seeks to describe how to circumvent those technologies. To that end, we have encouraged Professor Felten and the technology companies to resolve this matter. We leave it in their hands to do so.

Further questions should be directed to Verance at 858-677-6522


I'm sorry, but quoting from the, um, non-threat letter, what part of

In addition, any disclosure of information gained from participating in the Public Challenge would be outside the scope of activities permitted by the Agreement and could subject you and your research team to actions under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DCMA")
doesn't constitute a direct or indirect threat of legal action?

Boys and girls, can you spell "backpedal"?

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.

I wish i could give you a "10" (3.75 / 4) (#20)
by Elendale on Fri Apr 27, 2001 at 01:29:05 AM EST

But a five is all i've got.

What is their incentive here? This looks like more bad press than good for them- sometimes i wonder if places like this run on zombie-mode or if there are actual human brains making these decisions. Did they honestly expect us to (in a magical wash of groupthink and self-denial) forget their threatening letter? Maybe they're backing down because the realize they have no case (moreover, they would get thrown out of court: the DMCA (in a rare stroke) exempts certain academia from itself, which this paper happens to fall under). Oh well, another day in the life of Shadowrun(TM).

-Elendale (gotta love the irony)

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
I don't think you understand (2.33 / 3) (#23)
by ryancooley on Sat Apr 28, 2001 at 06:55:36 AM EST

The DMCA is under great controversy right now, and the DMCA could be revoked based on this conflict. Just imagine if Napster came back to life... Without the DMCA, RIAA and MPAA are essentially helpless. All they can do is continue their empty threats, only everyone will know that no lawsuit will actually follow.

[ Parent ]
RIAA attempting suppression of SDMI paper | 23 comments (8 topical, 15 editorial, 0 hidden)
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