The following statement was read by Prof. Edward W. Felten at the Fourth International Information Hiding Workshop, in Pittsburgh, on April 26, 2001.
On behalf of the authors of the paper "Reading Between the Lines: Lessons from the SDMI Challenge," I am disappointed to tell you that we will not be presenting our paper today.
Our paper was submitted via the normal academic peer-review process. The reviewers, who were chosen for their scientific reputations and credentials, enthusiastically recommended the paper for publication, due to their judgment of the paper's scientific merit.
Nevertheless, the Recording Industry Association of America, the SDMI Foundation, and the Verance Corporation threatened to bring a lawsuit if we proceeded with our presentation or the publication of our paper. Threats were made against the authors, against the conference organizers, and against their respective employers.
Litigation is costly, time-consuming, and uncertain, regardless of the merits of the other side's case. Ultimately we, the authors, reached a collective decision not to expose ourselves, our employers, and the conference organizers to litigation at this time.
We remain committed to free speech and to the value of scientific debate to our country and the world. We believe that people benefit from learning the truth about the products they are asked to buy. We will continue to fight for these values, and for the right to publish our paper.
We look forward to the day when we can present the results of our research to you, our colleagues, through the normal scientific publication process, so that you can judge our work for yourselves.