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Student faces suit over key to CD locks

SunnComm Technologies, a developer of CD antipiracy technology, said Thursday that it will likely sue a Princeton student who early this week showed how to evade the company's copy protection by pushing a computer's Shift key.

Princeton Ph.D. student John "Alex" Halderman published a paper on his Web site on Monday that gave detailed instructions on how to disarm the SunnComm technology, which aims to block unauthorized CD copying and MP3 ripping. The technology is included on an album by Anthony Hamilton that was recently distributed by BMG Music. On Thursday, SunnComm CEO Peter Jacobs said the company plans legal action and is considering both criminal and civil suits. He said it may charge the student with maligning the company's reputation and, possibly, with violating copyright law that bans the distribution of tools for breaking through digital piracy safeguards.

"We feel we were the victim of an unannounced agenda and that the company has been wronged," Jacobs said. "I think the agenda is: 'Digital property should belong to everyone on the Internet.' I'm not sure that works in the marketplace." The cases are already being examined by some intellectual-property lawyers for their potential to test the extremes of a controversial copyright law that block the distribution of information or software that breaks or "circumvents" copy-protection technologies.

News source: C|Net News.com

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