Antipiracy technology developer SunnComm says it will likely sue a Princeton student who showed how to break its CD copy protection by pushing the Shift key. [CNET News.com]
If the CD does load and installs the software, Halderman identified the driver file that can be disabled using standard Windows tools. Free-speech activists said the nature of Halderman’s instructions–which appeared in an academic paper, used only functions built into every Windows computer, and were not distributed for profit–meant they would not fall under DMCA scrutiny.
“This is completely outrageous,” said Fred von Lohmann, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that has previously represented computer academics concerned that copyright law would impair their ability to publish. “This is not black hat (hackers’) exploits he’s revealing. This is Windows 101…It is relatively hard to imagine any better example of how the DMCA has been misused since it was passed five years ago.”
Perhaps instead, they should have focused on creating a technique that would require some actual effort to break.