Fraternity. Equality. Liberty.
A French revolution has occurred on the internet. We’re of course referring to yesterdays big revolt at Digg.com.
It started with somebody posting a hack code, an encryption key allowing people to crack the restrictions on HD DVD:s and copy the content. Soon Digg’s owners got a cease and desist notice and started blocking the stories. Result? Digg-users rebelled and the site was drowned with posts on the same subject. For hours every story that had been voted as most interesting included the code.
“Today was an insane day,” Kevin Rose, the founder of Digg, wrote the same evening in a blog explaining why he at the end decided to not delete posts containing the code. “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,” he stated.
Rose also included the code – 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 – in the headline of his blog-post.
Simultaneously at Slashdot blogger Kdawson noted that a Google-search showed about 283,000 pages contain the number with hyphens…
This was a community revolting and/or freaking out, a viral and mob-ruled storm. As of now the code is flourishing vividly on the internet. And Digg is in a classic innovators dilemma where their actions both hurt and help them. Worth noting is that Digg:s CEO Jay Adelson earlier that same day in a blog-post explained why the code needed to be taken away: “We’ve been notified by the owners of this intellectual property that they believe the posting of the encryption key infringes their intellectual property rights. In order to respect these rights and to comply with the law, we have removed postings of the key,” he wrote adding that “we all need to work together to protect Digg from exposure to lawsuits that could very quickly shut us down”.
This story is being massivly discussed among bloggers, check out Techmeme for full coverage. “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,” Michael Arrington comments at TechCrunch.
At Between the lines Larry Dignan provides a great analysis by looking at the story from a scary and a invigorating point. Yesterdays revolution is scary for the lawyers at DMCA, Digg’s venture backers and any traditional media outlet that thinks a Digg-like format is the future, he notes. But it’s invigorating for Digg users and those who believe in free-flow of information. And the scenario is both scary and invigorating for Kevin Rose…
At Parislemon MG Siegler calls Kevin Roses solution to toss up the white flag a smart move. At Wireds blog Epicenter Dylan Tweney notes that the publicity may actually have been terrific for Digg. At GigaOM Om Malik quotes one of his readers when summing up: “I think the real story here is user-generated content biting back when it’s actively censored by the site generating revenue from it.”
Guardians tech-writer Bobbie Johnson brings it back to the individual take: “I wonder how many of the users involved would be happy to post the encryption key on their own site, and then ignore a cease and desist order,” he asks.
We wonder that too. And we’re sure that this media-revolution will find it’s way into the web 2.0 books of history.
By John Furrier and Tina Magnergard Bjers