Revolt of the Diggers

As you may or may not know, the DRM scheme that protects HD-DVDs was recently cracked. This means that by using a 16-digit hex code, you can decrypt HD-DVDs and copy them, in the same way that DeCSS lets you copy current-generation DVDs.

Users over at Digg started spreading the news and publishing the code in posts and links as the story broke. Due to the fact that publishing the code is a likely violation of the DMCA, digg admins started deleting the posts and banning users that posted the code. The copy-left loving, techno-anarchist kids didn't like that, and since then, Digg has been overwhelmed with submissions containing the code and derivatives thereof. As of right now, the first three pages solid are nothing but links to the decryption hex. As Matt Haughey points out, it's always interesting to see what happens when a community revolts against it's leaders.

Some other Notes_

  • My favorite representation so far is the avatar image that this user made, using the hex codes to represent shades of grey. This sort of creative art has a precedent, including this DeCSS algorithm haiku that gives poetic instructions on how to decrypt DVDs without actually publishing the code.
  • When are manufacturers going to learn that DRM doesn't work? The way to be profitable in the new millennium is to sell quality products that are easy to buy, fairly priced, and DRM-free. Many artists are doing quite well by following that formula, but it threatens the stranglehold that the big corporations have on the marketplace. They've been spiraling into obsolescence since the days of Napster.
  • What we're witnessing here is the democratization of culture. It's chaotic, and even frightening at times, but it's always a lot of fun, and it's paving the way towards a new era of collaborative culture.
  • Bonus reading_ Most anything by Cory Doctrow or Lawrence Lessig


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