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Re: [dvd-discuss] EFF: Security Researchers Drop Scientific Censo rship Case

On Wed, Feb 06, 2002 at 09:10:00PM -0500, Peter D. Junger wrote:
> Eric Seppanen writes:
> : On Wed, Feb 06, 2002 at 02:30:32PM -0500, Peter D. Junger wrote:
> : > : > >San Francisco - Citing assurances from the government, the
> : > : They _believed_ them !??!? 
> : >  
> : > It's not so much a matter of believing them as estopping them.
> : 
> : Can someone clarify exactly how estoppel works in this case?  Do RIAA's
> : informal assurances provide a solid legal defense for the next academic
> : who wants to publish RIAA's dirty secrets?
> No. There's no solid legal defense.  But do you think that the DOJ
> will want to have to explain to a judge why they are prosecuting
> someone for doing something that they told Felten that they would
> not prosecute him for?  And how do you think that a right-minded
> judge is going to react to that explanation?

Well, given their past behavior, I'd expect a response like,
"Of course we told these respected researchers that they could research
these systems.  But we never said it was OK for them to distribute
DRM-breaking tools, costing jillions of dollars in lost sales..."
"Of course we told these respected researchers that they could research
these systems.  But _this_ guy isn't a professor at a university, he's
just an evil hacker that wants to wreck our jillion-dollar industry..."

I was imagining the RIAA willing to go to bat again.  I doubt the feds
care much one way or another until important lobbyists start to scream
and stamp their feet.  Of course, there's probably other groups (say,
MPAA) who weren't a party to this case that won't be estopped at all.

But I understand the rationale for dropping the case.  Sounds like it
would've been an uphill battle just to get it heard at all, and since
there were no nasty precedents set, it'll be easier to just throw
resources behind the next defendant, who might actually get their day in