A District Court judge yesterday (Nov. 28) dismissed a lawsuit filed by Princeton University professor Edward Felten and others against the RIAA, the Secure Digital Music Initiative, watermarking firm

A District Court judge yesterday (Nov. 28) dismissed a lawsuit filed by Princeton University professor Edward Felten and others against the RIAA, the Secure Digital Music Initiative, watermarking firm Verance Corp., and the Justice Department, Billboard Bulletin reports. The suit -- filed June 6 in U.S. District Court in New Jersey -- sought a First Amendment right for Felten to present his research on circumventing music watermarking technologies. The RIAA had opposed Felten's presentation before filing a motion to officially reverse that position.

In a statement, RIAA executive VP/general counsel Cary Sherman says, "We are happy that the court recognized what we have been saying all along: There is no dispute here. As we have said time and again, Professor Felten is free to publish his findings."

Robin Gross, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the San Francisco-based civil-liberties group representing Felten, says the ruling creates the false pretense that scientists do not face the threat of lawsuits for publishing the results of controversial research. "It's actually a very tremendous chilling effect," she says. "Even more so than we had before the ruling." She adds that there is "a very good chance that we are going to appeal this ruling."

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