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SunnComm shrinks from DMCA threat

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Realizing it had little to gain through legal action, SunnComm has backed down from threatening to sue a Princeton student who broke the company's CD copy protection technology simply by holding down the Shift key.

SunnComm issued a statement long on denouncing researcher Alex Halderman's critique of the MediaMax CD3 technology and short on saying why it won't sue. But nonetheless, the company has retreated from its promise to use the DMCA against Halderman.

 "I don't want to be the guy that creates any kind of chilling effect on research," SunnComm CEO Peter Jacobs told The Daily Princetonian less than twenty-four hours after wanting to be that guy.  "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."

Jacobs' change of heart comes after seeing his company's market value drop by more than $10 million. In addition, SunnComm's approach to DRM endured widespread public ridicule at the hands of Halderman.

The Princeton student showed that holding down the Shift key would disable Windows' Autorun function and leave MediaMax CD3 rather ineffective.

Sunncomm, whose slogan is "light years beyond encryption," said that Halderman has missed the point when he exposed weaknesses with the MediaMax technology.

"MediaMax performs EXACTLY as "advertised" to the companies who purchased it," Jacobs said in the statement.

“We realize now that Mr. Halderman had mistakenly expected to be researching an 'extremely hack resistant' copy protection product when he evaluated MediaMax -Version1."

Extremely hack resistant apparently meaning something not done in by the Shift key.

All in all SunnComm made the right choice by backing down from what would have been a most liberal use of the DMCA. The company will be better off focusing its efforts on the MediaMax technology and also, with any luck, its Web site. ®

Related Link

Daily Princetonian

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