On 6 September 2000, the SDMI (Secure Digital Music Initiative) initiated a contest inviting people to break their "audio watermarking" technology intended to copy protect audio recordings.

Princeton University professor Dr. Edward Felten and his team did so, and planned to present their paper "Reading Between the Lines: Lessons from the SDMI Challenge" at the 4th International Information Hiding Workshop conference.

The RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America), the SDMI Foundation, and the Verance Corporation threatened a lawsuit under the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) if he continued with presentation or publication of the paper.

Professor Felten and his team sued for a declaratory judgement that their report did not violate the DMCA, and questioning the law's constitutionality.