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SunnComm Backs Off Suit Threat

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Well, at least one of yesterday’s absurdities has been mitigated. SunnComm now says it won’t sue John “Alex” Halderman for publishing the “shift key” hole in their CD copy-protection system:

    SunnComm Technologies, Inc. announced yesterday morning it would sue first-year graduate student John Halderman over his recent critique of the company’s new CD copy-protection method, but by the end of the day SunnComm president and CEO Peter Jacobs said he changed his mind.

    Jacobs said in an interview late last night that a successful lawsuit would do little to reverse the damage done by the paper Halderman published Monday about his research, and any suit would likely hurt the research community by making computer scientists think twice about researching copy-protection technology.

    “I don’t want to be the guy that creates any kind of chilling effect on research,” Jacobs said.

    SunnComm plans to make that announcement this morning.

    Halderman’s paper hit SunnComm hard. Since Monday its stock value has dropped $10 million – one-third of the company’s total worth.

    “I just thought about it and decided it was more important not to be one of those people. The harm’s been done . . . if I can’t accomplish anything [with a lawsuit] I don’t want to leave a wake,” he said. [Daily Princetonian]

Maybe there still is some sense left in the world.

Now about Tommy Chong’s nine-month sentence for selling bongs….

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About Eric Olsen

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    Thing I note here is that the company lost $10M of $30M valuation. I thought the internet bubble popped a while back.

    THe DMCA needs to be modified to prevent even the threat of litigation from having a chilling effect on academic research.

  • frost@work

    Honestly, how long did they think it would take for someone to figure out that the Shift key would completely bypass their entire program? I use the shift key with every CD simply because I don’t wany Marilyn Manson’s cross made up of two pistols and a rifle popping up on my screen at work.

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    frost, why don’t you disable the feature completely?

    alex’s paper has a link to the MS knowledgebase article describing how to do so.

  • frost@work

    I don’t think my work would be all too keen on me disabling security features on network computers (regardless of what feature that might be).

  • http://www.whiterose.org/michael/blog/ Michael Croft

    dude. this would be disabling an insecurity feature. Most corporate IT (including the branch I used to work for) disables this on standard PCs anyway.