Earlier this week, Digg CEO Jay Adelson revealed that the company was pulling down stories about a cracked HD DVD encryption key that could bypass digital rights management (DRM) restrictions. Evidently, Digg received a cease-and-desist letter on behalf of the Advanced Access Content System (AACS), the consortium with ownership rights to the HD DVD encryption key. Pulling the stories was the surest way to avoid legal hassles. However, the Digg community refused to keep quiet, and soon the site was bombarded with information about the cracked key. Check out this article "Digg in tough spot with DMCA debacle" and this image gallery "Legal fights over digital rights" from CNET Networks' News.com.
Here's the lowdown:
There's been a rebellion at the social news site Digg, where members rallied against what they saw as unnecessary censorship of stories containing a cracked HD DVD encryption key.
Following the call of its contributors, Digg has chosen not to delete stories containing the numerical code. Now, the question is whether the site could face a legal tussle.
For more information about this story, here is some coverage from other news sources:
- Digg.com in 'hacking' copyright row (CNN.com)
- Digg Users Revolt. Web 2.0's Moment of Truth? (BusinessWeek)
- Digg's Dilemma (Forbes)
- Users Force Digg to Stand Firm Over AACS Encryption Key (PC World | IDG News Service)
- Digg Reverses Course After Online Uproar (CBS News)
- Digg founder, Kevin Rose: we'll go down fighting if that's what you want (ZDNet blog)
According to Kraig Baker, chair of technology practice at the Seattle law firm Davis Wright Tremaine, Digg "made their choice already about what's important to them, and that is the community. They serve a relatively volatile community in that it's one that has very strong viewpoints and very strong opinions about what's right and what's wrong. And when you have a community that has very strong views about how something is going to happen, you are hamstrung a little bit about the kinds of policies you can put in place."
The challenge for Digg going forward will be how to please its audience and avoid legal problems. Do you think this is possible, or are those two things mutually exclusive?
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Sonja Thompson has worked for TechRepublic since October of 1999. She is currently a Senior Editor and the host of the Smartphones and Tablets blogs.