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SunnComm Says Pointing to Shift Key 'Possible Felony'

CowboyNeal posted about 11 years ago | from the same-shift-not-different-dmca dept.

Encryption 1217

The Importance of writes "A couple of weeks ago BMG released an audio CD with a new type of DRM. Earlier this week, a computer science graduate student at Princeton wrote a report showing the DRM was ineffective - it could easily be defeated by use of the 'shift' key. The stock of the DRM company (SunnComm) has since fallen by 20%. Now, SunnComm plans to sue the student under the DMCA and claim that SunnComm's reputation has been falsely damaged. According to SunnComm's CEO, 'No matter what their credentials or rationale, it is wrong to use one's knowledge and the cover of academia to facilitate piracy and theft of digital property.'"

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First Pizzost! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177347)


Re:First Pizzost! (1)

tarquin_fim_bim (649994) | about 11 years ago | (#7177504)

Not only did I invent W00t! in 1967, I also patented First Pizzost! in1997. You're sad and you're late, my legal represention will be in touch, BTW you also owe me $14 for evey time you have used the '0' character when then 'o'character was required, I took that patent in 1986.

WTF (-1)

r0ach (106945) | about 11 years ago | (#7177348)

You have to be kidding me...

SunnComm == ZomboCom ? (5, Funny)

jamie (78724) | about 11 years ago | (#7177356)

I think these two websites were separated at birth: [] []

Re:SunnComm == ZomboCom ? (2, Funny)

MikeXpop (614167) | about 11 years ago | (#7177419)

I love zombocom. Perfect parody of oh so many sites that have excrutiatingly long flash intros. It's great when someone annoying asks for a link on where to buy something.

Annoying person: Hey, do you know where I can buy [insert obscure product]?

Me: I think they sell one of those over at Zombocom. [link] Just wait past the flash intro

Works every time.

Re:SunnComm == ZomboCom ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177482)

How dare you hurt reputation?

he-he (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177362)

told ya []

Precedence set by Sklyarov trial.

Perfect test case... (5, Interesting)

citabjockey (624849) | about 11 years ago | (#7177363)

to see if DMCA really has merit in the courts. This is so nutty its unbelievable.

Re:Perfect test case... (4, Insightful)

Smidge204 (605297) | about 11 years ago | (#7177430)

No, I can believe it... 'Rediculous' would be a better word. Why don't they sue Microsoft for making the Shift key circumvent the auto-run feature to begin with?

In a sensable world, they would have to prove beyond all doubt that the student made the report with full intention to facilitate piracy, and not simply "Hey guys, this software is crap and here's why"

I hope they don't expect their stocks to go back up after filing this lawsuit!

Re:Perfect test case... (4, Insightful)

egburr (141740) | about 11 years ago | (#7177481)

I have auto-run turned off. I did it with tweakui which microsoft provided. I assume this means the CD will always be easily copyable on my computer with the extra effort of holding down the shift key. It sure was nice of microsoft to provide me with this nifty circumvention.

Re:Perfect test case... (3, Funny) (463190) | about 11 years ago | (#7177485)

This is so nutty its unbelievable.

That's not coffee!!!

Re:Perfect test case... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177496)

Dmitry Sklyarov's Elcomsoft company was tried and found guilty. He did not go to jail only because of special provisions with Adobe and prosecutors.

The precedence has been set.

I just have to say this.... (0, Offtopic)

Wuffle (651894) | about 11 years ago | (#7177364)



Re:I just have to say this.... (1)

Old Uncle Bill (574524) | about 11 years ago | (#7177462)

and to add to that

bwahahahahahahahahahahaha. Good frickin' luck with that one boys... Lawyers don't make up for stupidity (usually).

Suing the wrong person (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177368)

They need to sue Microsoft for allowing common users to see what services are running. No user has any business looking at what processes are running on their systems.

Re:Suing the wrong person (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177420)

They should also sue MS for providing a functionality that defeats their copy protection system.

Uh oh... trouble for us all! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177369)

My keyboard has a shift key too... and I know how to use it. I am gonna get sued for sure!

Re:Uh oh... trouble for us all! (1)

uncoveror (570620) | about 11 years ago | (#7177428)

You know where the shift key is? Don't show people who can't find it. That would be a crime under the DMCA. How about showing people where the "Any" key is? [] I hope that is O.K. because I just did.

Re:Uh oh... trouble for us all! (1)

Prof.Phreak (584152) | about 11 years ago | (#7177528)

How about showing people where the "Any" key is? [] I hope that is O.K. because I just did.

Hmm... someone needs to come up with a program that displays: "press any key to rip this disk" as part of its UI.

Call the Waaaaaaaambulance! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177370)

Sounds like SunComm needs it's mommy!

You sirre an irritating unoriginal jackass (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177511)

Just thought you'd like to know that.

Or they could learn..... (1)

TheWart (700842) | about 11 years ago | (#7177371)

Or they could do some research and see what thye can do to prevent this from happeneing next time (not that I am a fan of the copy protection) is kind of sad how much of a knee-jerk and predictable reaction suing has become.

Re:Or they could learn..... (4, Insightful)

s20451 (410424) | about 11 years ago | (#7177452)

The moral of this bedtime story is that companies should spend as much on their research department as they do on their legal department.

Mother nature cannot be appealed (with apologies to Feynman).

Ever get that (5, Funny)

Mr Guy (547690) | about 11 years ago | (#7177376)

April fools in October feeling? Slashdot poll: Initial reaction to SunnComm's suit: 1) You've got to be fucking kidding me? 2) You've got to be fucking kidding me? 3) You've got to be fucking kidding me? 4) You've got to be fucking kidding me? 5) Cowbody Neal has got to be fucking kidding me?!

Re:Ever get that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177417)

Heh, but shut up with this Cowboy Neal bullshit. I have no idea why everyone here just loves this ugly fat slob. At least Santa brings you presents, all Cowboy Neal could bring is a huge pair of underwear with skidmarks -- and maybe a 12pack of Coke.

Re:Ever get that (5, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | about 11 years ago | (#7177490)

> [Ever get that] April fools in October feeling? Slashdot poll: Initial reaction to SunnComm's suit: 1) You've got to be fucking kidding me? 2) You've got to be fucking kidding me? 3) You've got to be fucking kidding me? 4) You've got to be fucking kidding me? 5) Cowbody Neal has got to be fucking kidding me?!

1) What the fuck?
2) What the fucking fuck?
3) What the fucking fuck fuck?
4) Cowboy Neal doesn't even know what the fucking fuck fuck

(I have no point, I just like banging my head against the desk, screaming "What the fucking fuck fuck?" at the top of my lungs)

Why not sue Microsoft as well? (3, Insightful)

Lieutenant_Dan (583843) | about 11 years ago | (#7177380)

After all they built in the ability to bypass the Autorun feature.


What total bullshit (5, Insightful)

1010011010 (53039) | about 11 years ago | (#7177382)

They're just mad they were found out to be dummies with a broken product, and that their share price dropped 20% when Wall Streeties discovered they were dummies. Solution: sue the guy who said, "the Emperor has no clothes!"

Stop the ride. I want off.

Re:What total bullshit (1)

shatfield (199969) | about 11 years ago | (#7177492)

The problem is that the US Government has declared it a felony to point at a naked man and say that he has no clothes!

Solution: Sue the government for being STUPID and making pretty much every citizen in the United States a felon at the behest of companies that (for the most part) reside in OTHER COUNTRIES! I believe the only record company that is actually a US corporation is Warner Brothers. The rest are all "Germany" or "Japan" or "England" based.

Awfully nice of them to do that to us, eh?

Dude, where's my question mark! (5, Funny)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 11 years ago | (#7177384)

1. Market defective product
2. Watch the news
3. Sue the messenger
4. Profit!

This one seems to be a sure thing; no question marks required.

Re:Dude, where's my question mark! (1)

ERJ (600451) | about 11 years ago | (#7177486)

No, there is still a question mark:

1. Market defective product
2. Watch the news
3. Sue the messenger
4. Realize the messenger is a student with no money
5. ???
6. Profit

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So I guess... (5, Insightful) (156602) | about 11 years ago | (#7177386)

No matter what their credentials or rationale, it is wrong to use one's knowledge and the cover of academia to facilitate piracy and theft of digital property.

Magic markers and shift keys asside, I guess using a "slim-jim" to gain access to one's own car is wrong too. The car door was certianly never designed to allow entry using this method. Where's the DMCA when you really need it??

They obviously have no case, but is there a way for Hamilton to effectively defend himself in case it's allowed to go to trial?

P.S. (1) (156602) | about 11 years ago | (#7177503)

When are we going to sue spammers for circumventing our spam filters?

Re:So I guess... (1)

El (94934) | about 11 years ago | (#7177524)

Obviously, since every dealer has a "slip-stick" for every car they sell, and instructions on how to use it, as do the all the AAA towtruck drivers, the cars ARE designed to be opened with them. It's just supposed to take a while.

As far as the easily-defeated "copy protection", I think we're seeing the wrong lawsuit year. Obviously the record company was sold a bill of goods (a pig in a poke, or what have you) and THEY should be suing SunnComm!

Gee, (1)

codell (714441) | about 11 years ago | (#7177387)

How long until you can get the SunnComm DRM code on a t-shirt?

Just a guess... (5, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | about 11 years ago | (#7177390)

But don't you think this is an attempt at intimidation rather than a real lawsuit? In otherwords, SunnComm knows they can't win, but it looks like they're defending themselves, plus it will prevent other people from even discussing SunnComm for fear of being sued.

I mean, a judge would have to be wacky to find for the SunnComm if only because:

1) Microsoft published these directions to bypass the SunnComm protection years ago
2) The publishing of opinions is generally considered freedom of the press isn't it?

My first reaction is that this is an April Fool's joke, except its the wrong time of year.

Re: Just a guess... (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 11 years ago | (#7177507)

> I mean, a judge would have to be wacky to find for the SunnComm

I thought this was in the USA.

Wait... (1)

ajiva (156759) | about 11 years ago | (#7177393)

Wait, if I know that -- fixes Windows, does that mean I'm going to be sued by MS?

Shareholders need to sue THEM... (4, Interesting)

MadCow42 (243108) | about 11 years ago | (#7177394)

For gross incompetence... !

Please tell me this is a "Friday FUnny" (ahead of schedule) or something like that...

However it could be a good thing: if the DMCA is used to protect this type of trash, people will see it for what it is and MAYBE the law will be shot down for being too broad by protecting dumb-ass business models.

If the DMCA prevents me from telling someone how to use A BASIC FEATURE OF WINDOWS to prevent malware from being run on my computer, then I'm moving to a different country. (Oh wait, I already did... my VISA ran out!) :)


Metaphor (1, Troll)

stubblehead (565808) | about 11 years ago | (#7177395)

Should stealing unlocked cars be a crime? You're still stealing - just because it's not secure doesn't mean it's legal. And should telling someone a car is unlocked be a crime, since you're simply stating the fact?

Re:Metaphor (1)

jabbadabbadoo (599681) | about 11 years ago | (#7177424)

"Should stealing unlocked cars be a crime?" What country do you live in? I'd like to live there as I like driving various kinds of cars.

whaaaaaaaat (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177399)

waaaaaaaaaat? you've got to be shitting me. we need laws shielding scientific research from the dmca.

Re:whaaaaaaaat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177497)

This wasn't scientific research. It was just simple published facts by Microsoft dating back to the Windows 95 days (AutoRun), and Windows NT (services).

Time to do something. (4, Insightful)

badasscat (563442) | about 11 years ago | (#7177400)

Welp, my letter to Hillary Clinton has already been fired off. Not that my letter alone will do anything, but it's time for people to at least do something, anything at all to try to put a stop to crap like this under the guise of the DMCA. Write to your congress-people, donate to the EFF and ACLU, vote for candidates based on their stances on technology issues rather than their standing in Hollywood... I mean whatever. Get the movement started, for god's sake. This is getting completely out of hand at this point. The USSR is alive and kicking when it's a "felony" to talk about using the shift key on your keyboard. (No Soviet Russia jokes please - I am being totally serious.)

Its not theft (1)

Snaller (147050) | about 11 years ago | (#7177402)

and the real criminals are those that who wants to keep raking it in for a job they did once. Decent people work and get paid, work and get paid. They don't do a job just once and expect to get paid forever - thats sick greed and amoral, yet that is what copyright allows some to do. 60 million file shares in the US - 51 million who voted for President Bush - time to vote for some politicians who will abolish these amoral laws.

Re:Its not theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177453)

Felons can't vote...

Re:Its not theft (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177520)

60 million file shares in the US - 51 million who voted for President Bush

Clinton signed DMCA into law, not Bush. Try putting aside your Angry Left 'tude for five minutes before posting next time.

Funny... (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | about 11 years ago | (#7177403)

Saw this on K5 this morning, said the company was suing keyboard manufacturers under the DMCA, thought it was completley a joke. Guess its partly true, which is scary. So now DMCA violations include keyboards, sharpies, line in jacks...

Uh? (1)

Realistic_Dragon (655151) | about 11 years ago | (#7177405)

Perhaps next they will sue Microsoft for putting such a devious circumvention system into their operating systems. After all, what kind of responsible company would let a user do what they wanted with their computer that they paid for?

Oh, hang on, perhaps _that's_ what palladium is all about - lawsuit avoidance.

yeah, yeah (4, Insightful)

thomas.galvin (551471) | about 11 years ago | (#7177412)

No matter what their credentials or rationale, it is wrong to use one's knowledge and the cover of academia to facilitate piracy and theft of digital property."

No matter the organization or rationale, it is wrong to use purchased legislation and the cover of law to deprive people of their rights.

No matter the organization or rationale, it is wrong to use purchased legislation and the cover of law to hide the fact that your product is shoddy, and very likely will not work as advertised.

No matter the organization or rationale, it is wrong to use purchased legislation and the cover of law to exagerate the dammage caused by saying 'hold the shift key.'

But who's counting?

WOW (1)

nomad_monster (703212) | about 11 years ago | (#7177413)

Did you just read that and think to yourself...WOW?

I am completely fucking disgusted. (1)

phillymjs (234426) | about 11 years ago | (#7177414)

If this bullshit lawsuit doesn't get thrown out of court in five minutes or less, I am moving to Canada.

Mail these fucktards [mailto] and let them know what you think of them and their ridiculous suit.


At last (2, Interesting)

grasshoppa (657393) | about 11 years ago | (#7177416)

you too can sue SOMEONE ELSE for a faulty product YOU made.

You just can't make this stuff up folks.

New, equally robust copy protection idea (4, Interesting)

Baron_Yam (643147) | about 11 years ago | (#7177421)

Try telling people that they're not allowed to make copies, or allow copies to be made.

If anyone lets loose with the secret that hearing a request doesn't force one to obey it, sue 'em under the DMCA. After that, anyone who doesn't obey you is obviously using a circumvention device (their brain), which you can have confiscated by the authorities.

alright, i'm just gonna say it... (1)

Mephie (582671) | about 11 years ago | (#7177432)

This DMCA thing is getting nucking futs.

Heh (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | about 11 years ago | (#7177433)

Appropriate quote from the AC posting about the original slashdot story on October 6th:
The SHIFT key is now officially a DMCA (or is that DCMA?) circumvention device. I pity you americans...
Cheers from Germany!

Bad techs (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177436)

It seems that that company doesn't have much of a technical base to start off.

For example, visiting [] using i686+Linux+Mozilla gives the error message "Sorry, this feature is not available to Macintosh users at this time"

If they can't do something as mediocre as a browser check with javascript (can't even COPY-PASTE it from any of the free resources online), is it really a surprise that their DRM software can be bypassed by hitting shift ?

Keyboards (1)

Bryan_W (649785) | about 11 years ago | (#7177438)

I think they were counting on computer users not knowing where the shift key was on their keyboard. poor them.

what a fucked up country... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177440)

...we live in. DMCA, Patriot Act, UCITA,...

Where can I donate... (1)

andcal (196136) | about 11 years ago | (#7177441)

to this kid's defense?

This is nuts (3, Informative)

phoneyman (706381) | about 11 years ago | (#7177442)

Disabling autorun via the use of the Shift key is pretty well known, isn't it?

I recall a post on /. pointing out that the use of the Shift key would probably disable this kind of copy "protection" when the story about this "system" was first posted.


Stolen Functionality (4, Funny)

wembley (81899) | about 11 years ago | (#7177444)

Everyone knows Apple was using the key to disable system extensions years before MS was.

After all, how else could you defeat the Oscar the Grouch in the Trash can?

no matter what ones credentials or rationale (1)

Monk[Deviant Form] (189543) | about 11 years ago | (#7177445)

it is wrong to use money and the cover of law to facilitate the stifling of invention and to obscure the flaws in one's products :P

I want to call them... (2, Funny)

metrazol (142037) | about 11 years ago | (#7177446)

...and tell them I have a shift key and autorun disabled.

'Ere is the number, J.H.


[Don't believe me? Look at the press release, near the bottom.]

Re:I want to call them... (1)

fishbowl (7759) | about 11 years ago | (#7177513)


That looks like a Phoenix AZ number.
Does that mean their office is here, or does it just mean their lawyer lives in Sun City or something?

Cloak of "academic research"? (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | about 11 years ago | (#7177448)

"The act of publishing instructions under the cloak of "academic research" showing how to defeat MediaMax such as those instructions found in Halderman's report is, at best, duplicitous and, at worst, a felony."

I swear if they get away with this argument I'm never politely pointing out someone's fly is down.

Your product sucks, don't blame it on those who prove it.

So let me get this right? (1)

azpcox (88971) | about 11 years ago | (#7177454)

I create a "new" type of lock for a home that really isn't a lock and in order to use it I have to put the key under the front door mat and expect to called Secure? Yes, I know the criminals would have to make an exact duplicate of my furniture and leave my original for this to be valid, but there seems to be a new business model starting up: Create some assinine DRM ploy (snake oil) then sue whomever attempts to circumvent it!


Wow (1)

Eric Savage (28245) | about 11 years ago | (#7177457)

The subject pretty much sums it all up.

Stupid things (1)

jevring (618916) | about 11 years ago | (#7177461)

I though I had heard stupid things, and companies being litigious just for the hell of it, but this tops it all. It like suing somebody for, well, hmm, I just cant think of anything even remotely close to this. Suing someone for stating the obvious, thank you very much.
"What, you can turn autorun OFF completely, damn, we had no idea..."
Make you wonder about the "clever" people wrote a copy protection scheme that relies on autorun... They could have given my all that money, and I could have told them from the start that it isn't going to work, nothing is, and that they can just as well scrap the entire copy protection idea.
Not to mention they're probably breaking the "cd" standard, and still calling it a compact discs. I wonder when pioneer (or sony or philips or whomever it is that owns the right, patent, whatever to "cd") will sue the people who cook up these horrid shemes

SunnCOmm (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | about 11 years ago | (#7177465)


Coincidence? I think not. (Where's my tinfoil?)

Another abuse of free speech (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177466)

Once again as soon as something critical is said about a DRM product (notably how weak it really is) a company screams that the research is in violation of the DMCA.

Quote from Suncomm's release:

"SunnComm believes that by making erroneous assumptions in putting together his critical review of the MediaMax CD-3 technology, Halderman came to false conclusions concerning the robustness and efficacy of SunnComm's MediaMax technology. Based on several of these incorrect assumptions, Halderman and Princeton University have significantly damaged SunnComm's reputation and caused the market value of SunnComm to drop by more than $10 million. "

Frankly this company deserves to have their reputation damaged. Did they even test this product before selling it to a record company?

Overly Critical Guy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177469)

I'm waiting for Overly Critical guy to chime in about how, if Microsoft had implemented this -- and that they should -- it would all work okay, and we should all be happy with it, because Microsoft is the bees' knees.

C'mon, post, you bastard! We're all waiting!

How is it theft? How can digital be property? (0)

Thinkit3 (671998) | about 11 years ago | (#7177470)

This makes no sense.

Website has security features... (1)

thx2001r (635969) | about 11 years ago | (#7177472)

Their website [] has it's own equally effective security feature.... Much like the Shift key with their Audio CD security, if you disable flash (ActiveX in IE, plug-ins elsewhere) it simply disappears (no alternate content if you block flash)! Perhaps if someone disables the DMCA these absurd lawsuits will also disappear (one can dream, right?).

Nice (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177473)

According to the article, SunComm now believes that deleting a file on your computer can possibly be a DMCA violation.

So just whose computer is it? Theirs once I insert a CD? If not, then why can't I delete any file on my Hard Drive?

Do I now legally HAVE to use their uninstall option instead of cleaning it out myself? What if it doesn't work?

Screw them. They're idiots and should have been able to make a more robust system. Simple as that. But the DMCA saves them from having to properly engineer their product. What a great law.

I'm speechless (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | about 11 years ago | (#7177474)

How is this kid circumventing anything. This is like finding a bug in a game through trial and error and then using it. Its not like this kid hacked the DRM. He simply used a computer in the manner it was intended to be used, and "stumbled" on a way to bypass this.

I really feel no sympathy for this company. Boohoo, you made a product which DOESN'T WORK and someone points that out, and now your stock price drops as people realize your product DOESN'T WORK AS CLAIMED.

So of course the appropriate response is to go back to the drawing board and create a new DRM product which does work. Oh, I'm sorry, my keyboard seems to be buggy today, that previous sentence had a typo, I MEANT to say they should just sue him under the DMCA.

DAMN, I'm a felon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177476)

DAMN, I did it again. DAMN, there's three strikes, life in prison for me.

this and other abuses (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177477)

While there is a large degree of outrage to this abusive lawsuit, I wonder why it is only these instances that draw the outrage. Folks - each use of the DMCA pushes the line closer to this kind of bullshit. Opposition to the DMCA must be without any reservation.

Suncomm Possible Felony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177479)

I heard the story and a complete description of how to bypass the security on National Public Radio. They should be named as co-conspiritors.

Get out of here (1)

nate nice (672391) | about 11 years ago | (#7177480)

Design a compentent system. This CEO should be fired.

This just in, using capital letters by not using CAPS LOCK results in 20 years of jail.

SunnComm is a joke, hope it and all of its evil employees lose thier jobs.

SunnComm sues Linux users... (5, Funny)

Bull999999 (652264) | about 11 years ago | (#7177488)

SunComm sues Linux users because its software won't run on Linux based OSes.

SunnComm CEO: They ought to recomplie the kernel with the support for our software because we all know that you are a pirate if you use any OSes that doesn't use DRM.

On the other news, SCO sues SunnComm because SunnComm has letters S C O in it and also for violating SCO's patent on stupid lawsuits.

They should be sued under the ADA (1)

Sxooter (29722) | about 11 years ago | (#7177489)

Their useless site only works with Flash 6, so blind people can't go there. they should be sued under the ADA for that.


These guys are morons. I don't know anyone who doesn't know how to disable auto-run on a PC. Even my mom can do it.

Also, pointing out that Linux and older MAC OSes are unaffected would technically be a violation of DMCA too according to these buffoons.

Countersue for tresspass (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 11 years ago | (#7177494)

The CD that you buy is a music CD. Yet the protected CD actually installs a driver on the target computer without the user knowing - there is another type of program that behaves in this way. It's called a virus (ok, really a trojan) and generally the authors get jail terms. Let's try and do the same for these SunnComm people.

BooooHoooo!!!! I want my Mommy!!!!! (1)

Bored Huge Krill (687363) | about 11 years ago | (#7177498)

please, guys, grow up. You can't expect to sue somebody or throw them in jail (or even get away with calling them a thief) just because they point out that your product is defective.

Let's recap two essential points of your argument:

1. The critique is flawed because it is based on "incorrect assumptions" because the author "didn't read your white paper explaining how the system works before writing it". and

2. He probably committed a felony by comprehensively breaking the system.

Guys, you can't possibly have both of these. They are mutually exclusive. If he did, as you say, actually circumvent the system, then his conclusion that the system doesn't work can't be invalid, can it now?


Are they suing MS next for PowerToys? (1)

cant_get_a_good_nick (172131) | about 11 years ago | (#7177499)

Any time I see AutoRun, I run out and download PowerToys [] and disable it.

Am I in violation of the DMCA if I'm logged in as a user with no admin rights, therefore without rights to install drivers? Any copy protection scheme that requires a device driver mucking with my CD is stupid and deserves to fail. Any company who's market cap (I mean, didn't they see this in testing?) depends on said system deserves to be devalued.

Autorun (1)

rf0 (159958) | about 11 years ago | (#7177508)

Well you can help but think that the student knew the trick that if you hold shift when you insert a CD into Windows it will stop the autoplay. I would guess that is what happened here


This is foolish and utterly unwise (1)

zoloto (586738) | about 11 years ago | (#7177509)

From the article:

In addition, SunnComm believes that Halderman has violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) by disclosing unpublished MediaMax management files placed on a user's computer after user approval is granted. Once the file is found and deleted according to the instructions given in the Princeton grad student's report, the MediaMax copy management system can be bypassed resulting in the copyright protected music being converted or misappropriated for potentially unauthorized and/or illegal use.

EMphasis my own.

So in effect, with no innovation, no invention, and no solid ground to stand on this company created a DRM scheme that was flawed apon inception then expects the rest of us to 'put our head in the sand' while people try to control what's rightfully ours to begin with?

This is as ineffective as designing cars not to hit pedestrians, not allowing cars using (insert xxx technology here) to be used in drive by shootings, or even in the legitimate use of hitting people (ie movies).

I'm sorry, but if by telling people where their files were being placed or even that by holding the shift key can bypass the autorun feature thus crippling an otherwise defunct DRM 'feature' is considered a crime, then you had better implicate a hell of a lot more than just a college student who's just doing his job.

Try taking out the thousands of websites designed to "tweak" windows or other software programs that facilitate any "possible intent" of wrong doing.

I'm sorry. This company should have scrapped the idea of using the flawed DRM it had to begin with.

Just my 0.02 pence

What about Linux, *BSD, MacOS 9 etc.? (1, Interesting)

Coryoth (254751) | about 11 years ago | (#7177510)

Seeing as users of these operating systems can deactivate the DRM by, um, using the operating system, which the student also pointed out, where does use of these OSes stand? Are you not allowed to point out that the system fails to work for anything but Windows (okay, and MacOS X)? I presume not.

I mean really, this was the most retarded DRM scheme I've ever seen. In installs a Windows driver to screw up readback by using a windows Autorun on the CD. They were sufficiently cunning to include a MacOS X driver too. Anyone using anything else won't even notice there's any DRM at all. Bafflingly stupid. And you can disable Autorun can't you? I seem to recall trying to do such things many years ago when I used Windows simply because it was bloody annoying.


no one has said the shift key is th DMCA violation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177512)

The article says that they are not suing under the DMCA becasue of the shift key bypass, but because the stutent disclosed which files to erase to bypass the software.
Besides the DMCA charges, they say they are also suing because they say the student was wrong about some conclusions because they wre based on false assumprtions (i didnt know you could sue someone because they were wrong about someting, but whatever)

protecting the student who helped bad investors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177514)

The stock of the DRM company (SunnComm) has since fallen by 20%. Now, SunnComm plans to sue the student under the DMCA and claim that SunnComm's reputation has been falsely damaged.

It's too bad that the stockholders who took thier money to a safe place aren't going to help the student who had the cajones to put his ideas out there and warn them of thier bad investment.

I think they mean: (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | about 11 years ago | (#7177521)

'No matter what their credentials or rationale, it is wrong to use one's money and the cover of digital property to facilitate marketing and legal protection of a lame-ass protection scheme that can be defeated by a child of five.'

And in other news the RIAA is planning to sue keyboard makers...

SunnComm's New Clothes (1)

Esion Modnar (632431) | about 11 years ago | (#7177522)

So they go around naked all day, and sue anybody who points about that they are not wearing anything.

I hope they get their pecker slapped REAL hard for this.

/me shakes head (1)

pizza_milkshake (580452) | about 11 years ago | (#7177523)

i would be shocked at how f***ed up this scenario is, if these kind of things didn't happen all the time. thanks god for the DMCA.

Chilling effect (5, Insightful)

overshoot (39700) | about 11 years ago | (#7177525)

There was much rejoicing in civil liberties circles.

Here is something that a judge will actually understand: a graduate student publishing a plain-English report of research into DRM being sued (and bankrupted) under the DMCA for pointing out a shift key.

  • No Eeeeeeevil "hackers" at 2600
  • No that-can't-be-speech "code"
  • No funny Commie (Russian) names
  • Nothing for sale, even speculatively
This is the test case we've been waiting for.

hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177527)

does this mean that the next Microsoft DRM enabled keyboard won't have any shift key? Now I'll have to actually empty my recycle bin...

This is GOOD news... (1)

jkbull (453632) | about 11 years ago | (#7177529)

because it is so absurd that it's another illustration of what's wrong with the DMCA. I hope the Electronic Frontier Foundation [] steps up to defend this researcher.

as has been said many times... good. (1)

dboyles (65512) | about 11 years ago | (#7177530)

Thank Jebus for corporate idiocy.

As has been uttered many times, these kinds of cases could be like setting a teeball stand up for Sammy Sosa (sorry, got to tie it in to current events). We laughed about ROT-13 being a security system so trivial that we couldn't believe Adobe would claim it as such.

Even more so than that, anybody can understand how poor and overly broad the DMCA is.

Try telling non-geek members of your family that some Princeton kid is being prosecuted for pointing out that holding down the shift key can defeat a CD's copy protection. Now, if your family is a Yale legacy, be prepared for "How many Princeton students does it take to drop a company's stock 20%?" jokes.

With events like this putting the DMCA in the public's eye, I think the subject might become a topic come election time.

Let me be the first to say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177532)

These people are the scum of the earth. Hiding behind duplicitous laws to cloak their infinite stupidity...

only in America... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7177533)

The DMCA is proving to be the most absurd legislation yet from a nation that has more than its fair share..

Just how the fuck are they going to make this stick? Will they not have to go after IBM for designing the keyboard bus? Microsoft for allowing the auto-play to be bypassed?

Seriously though, this sounds rather like a windup....story about them suing keyboard manufacturers was floating about on K5 yesterday in a ha-ha-next-thing-they'll-do-this kind of way... are you sure about this? A "drm" (very much lower case) system that is dependent on an optional feature of one computer operating system? It's not as if they could sue him for revealing any secret knowledge, given that windows even asks you if you would like to autoplay the disc or not.
Lost cause, clutching at straws. (see also; SCO..)
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