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The Diggocracy Strikes Again



Muhammad Saleem at Pronet Advertising reported this morning on a story that got banned on Digg.

The story in question refers to, and asks the readers to spread the HD-DVD Processing Key for all movies that have been released in the format so far.

Digg pretty much had to block it because, as Muhammad points out, if they have knowledge of a copyright-infringing activity, they’re prosecutable.

Diggers, unsurprisingly, were unhappy with this. And, being Diggers, they struck back. Muhammad posts again about Diggers’ response: to post and digg the same numbers on different, non-banned URLs. He concludes:

This incidence only goes to show that the social web is a great tool in the hands of the masses, but in the absence of any moderation or regulation, the masses can become a mob; and this tool in the hands of the mob can lead to nothing good.

Check out the homepage of Digg yourself and see how Diggers really seem to believe that Digg is being the evil censor. Some stories even claim Digg is a partner with at least one HD-DVD company. They really want to think that stealing these codes is freedom of speech. From one story:

I’ve never before witnessed the Digg community at large behave so passionately. Although the HD-DVD AACS processing key may only seem like a number, we’re really fighting for our freedom of speech in a way.

Makes you wonder how those same people would feel if scrapers started attacking their own sites…

  • http://www.seorefugee.com SEOrefugee

    The issue of censorship/moderation isn’t going anywhere. In “Web 2.0″ we’ve not dealt with the issue and there’s been no precedence set to follow. I do not envy Kevin Rose right now but I also think he set the stage for this revolt in the way he has handled things like this in the past.

  • http://www.adgridwork.com Nick

    Digg’s actually auto-deleting a lot of the stories that have that stupid number or HD-DVD in the title. I was messing around with submitting stories about the fiasco linking to my blog (yes, I’m guilty of trying to take advantage of the mob rule ;) and noticed that several of my stories completely disappeared. While I think that it sucks that the digg homepage is being flooded with shit stories, I think trying to censor further is just going to keep adding fuel to the fire.
    Nick
    http://www.adgridwork.com | free online advertising for bloggers

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  • http://ClickEveryDay.co.uk Melvin

    Can someone please explain what the actual significance of that code is?

    The story is very interesting, but bears little meaning without an understanding of the significance behind it!

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    I believe the number posted on digg removes the copy protection from HD DVD making them available to copy.

  • http://www.projectparadox.com/ Stephen Ward

    I doubt it’s so much about the content itself as the thought of censorship. When it comes to news, especially social news sites like Digg, people absolutely hate censorship of any kind. I’d almost describe it as more freedom of the press than freedom of speech. Users want full disclosure without filters and anything to the contrary, even as legal protection for a site they love, is anathema to them. Just my take on the issue.

  • http://onlinesaleschannels.wordpress.com/ BigSlick

    Digg users were not only upset over references to the number being removed, but also to articles relating to Digg censoring that got people up in arms. The MPAA has created the most effective viral campaign ever. http://onlinesaleschannels.wordpress.com/2007/05/02/digg-cease-and-desist-a-number-and-the-best-viral-marketing-everall-by-the-mpaa/

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  • davogt

    The “code” you refer to in the article is a NUMBER, written in hexadecimal form.

    You cannot copyright a number, and you certainly cannot “steal” a number.

  • Jordan McCollum

    I can’t copyright my Social Security number, either, but it’s illegal for someone else to use it.

  • rick gregory

    @davogt… and you’re an IP lawyer? It’s a unique decryption code, not a random number.

    @Stephen – this isn’t a censorship issue. People confuse this all the time, but the fact is that you have the right to say whatever you want, but you do NOT have a right to have others promote what you are saying.

    Like most of the “I want it to be free so it must be” crowd, these people want whatever they want but aren’t willing to take the consequences.

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