A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit by a Princeton University computer scientist who claimed that legal threats from the music industry prevented him from discussing security problems for digital music distribution.
Judge Garrett Brown of the Federal District Court in Trenton, N.J., ignored arguments from professor Edward Felten that the music industry violated his 1st Amendment rights to free speech.
The Recording Industry Assn. of America denies that it ever threatened legal action under the controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act if Felten published his conclusions that anti-piracy technology known as the Secure Digital Music Initiative can be broken by computer hackers. Felten will appeal Brown's decision.
"We are happy that the court recognized what we have been saying all along: There is no dispute here," said Cary Sherman, general counsel for the RIAA.
Felten was represented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which fights for civil liberties in cyberspace. "This decision is clearly contrary to settled 1st Amendment law, and we're confident that the 3rd Circuit Court will reverse it on appeal," said foundation attorney Robin Gross.