Most Definitely Digging This
I love digital rights management (DRM), honestly I do. Never has a technology
forced so much inane drama onto so many. Every time I turn around, it's something
new. Whether it's Sony dropping rootkits (rootkits!) onto its audio CDs or Steve
Jobs, the most successful purveyor of DRM on the planet, abruptly posing as
a champion for unencumbered online music sales, I know that every morning, the
wonderful world of DRM will surprise and amuse me.
So I experienced no small amount of glee watching Kevin Rose and his massively
popular Digg.com community site wrestle over the issue of publishing the hexadecimal
code used to crack the AACS encryption on HD-DVD movies and content.
Now, like most of you, I expected Digg to salute the establishment with a grand
middle-finger salute and allow its members to freely publish the hex string
in every post and comment. Instead, in response to a cease-and-desist letter,
Digg began deleting posts and nuking threads that displayed the offending digits.
And just like that, the
game was afoot.
Digg posters began posting and reposting the proscribed hex code. And by 9
p.m. yesterday, Kevin Rose
posted a mea culpa, saying that he would respect the will of Digg
subscribers who would "rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to
a bigger company."
So Digg won't squelch posts containing the AACS hack. And the surreal comedy
that is DRM is sure to enjoy another rousing act. Most telling, though, is Rose's
last comment: "If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying."
What do you think? Is Rose right to ignore the cease-and-desist letter, even
if it means risking a sizable lawsuit? And if Digg gets dropped by legal action,
what does it say about the future of technical speech in public venues, forums
and the Internet? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Michael Desmond on 05/02/2007 at 1:15 PM