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Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Digg Revolt: HD-DVD Key Causes Anarchy

Taken from Techcrunch

To say what happened today on Digg was a “user revolt” is an understatement. The Digg team deleted a story that linked to the decryption key for HD DVDs after receiving a take down demand and all hell broke loose. More stories appeared and were deleted, and users posting the stories were suspended.

That just got the Digg community fired up, and soon the entire Digg home page was filled with stories containing the decryption key. The users had taken control of the site, and unless Digg went into wholesale deletion mode and suspended a large portion of their users, there was absolutely nothing they could do to stop it.

Digg CEO Jay Adelson responded on the Digg blog earlier this afternoon but it was clear he did not yet understand the chaos that was coming. The post only added fuel to the fire. Just now, co-founder Kevin Rose posted yet again on the Digg blog, effectively capitulating to the mob’s demands: He says

But now, after seeing hundreds of stories and reading thousands of comments, you’ve made it clear. You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won’t delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

Until today, it seems, even Digg didn’t fully understand the power of its community to determine what is “news.” I think the community made their point crystal clear.

Vive La Revolution.

Other links:
Digg's Jay Adelson Post
Digg's Kevin Rose Post
User that got banned over his post

UPDATE: Check out this great post in defense of Kevin Rose and Digg at TikiBarTV

1 comment:

Simon said...

A great response from

Yesterday saw a momentous event in Internet history to be sure.
Whether it has a positive or negative outcome remains to be seen.

A user posted a link on to a line of code on a blog. That line of code allows one to unlock certain copy protection features on an HD DVD. Under order from a Cease and Desist declaration by the AACS, claiming it violates copyright law, Digg administrators removed the posting.

What followed was a growing attempt by Digg users to repost the code while Digg administrators struggled to remove it and ban users who did so. Digg cited its need to operate within the law or face consequences that might topple the company.

But the drums of the anonymous army were already beating. They had found something cool to do and an instant cause had been created. The users in question ignored the administrators and flooded the site with postings of the “illegal” code.

If I were younger, if I believed that mob were completely genuine, if I didn’t personally know the founder Kevin Rose, I too would likely have played this game. I would have pretended to be a brave warrior standing up for the rights of the oppressed. Eagerly telling the schoolyard the next day about my heroics and subsequent Cafepress souvenir shirt.

But the thing is, courage has no home in anonymity. The only courage we saw displayed yesterday was when Kevin Rose, founder of the company, stood up to be counted with the revolt. He agreed to ignore the Cease and Desist.

In a bold move he personally posted the code to his site, completely removing the “common carrier” legal defense that Digg could have assumed.
Should the AACS come for counterattack, with power, precedent and the law on their side, it is Kevin who will face them. It is Kevin who put his company and his job on the line.

As you gather in the schoolyard to chant, “fight, fight, fight!”, remember who with be taking the punches for you.

If Kevin wins, everyone will claim victory. If he loses, people will move on to the next link. Make no mistake; it could take down his company. At the very least he should get the respect he deserves.