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You got the guns but we got the numbers.
- J Morrison
DRM ain't dead but it's sure startin' to smell like shit.
- F Zappa
Information wants to be free.
- Stewart Brand
Mark this day in your almanacs, diaries, memoirs: the day DRM may finally have begun its ignominious fade into the silver screen sunset.
09F911029D74E35BD84156C5635688C0: that's the number. It's a key to decrypting the new high definition DVDs that Bill Gates amongst others are planning to make so much money from. There's code behind that number too and various sites - including this one - immediately 'spread the number' and 'spread the code'.
As did the people at digg.com. And then digg.com got a love letter. Similar to the letter Google got from Sumner Murray Redstone's henchmen for publishing clips from Viacom's Comedy Central. The obnoxious Redstone, of course aware his own streaming service was grossly inferior, stuck to his guns. And Google started hacking away an estimated 200,000 clips Redstone didn't like.
Now Kevin Rose and the team at digg.com got a similar love letter. Already several days ago. The key words being 'cease' and 'desist'. So they tried to take all references to the number off their site.
It didn't work. Hundreds of references to the code stormed in to the site and Rose and company couldn't keep up. By 01:40 US EST and after several server crashes (50,000 diggs on the articles, 45,000 on the front page alone) the site was offline. And stayed offline for close to an hour.
When you're stuck like that between the proverbial rock and corresponding hard place it's not a lot of fun to have to try to figure out if either of the two is softer. Rose and digg.com chose the only way out. And in so doing, whether it be a calculated business decision or more of an idealistic one, they struck a blow for freedom on the Internet.
'We hear you', wrote Rose on his blog, '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.'
Rose's blog post currently has nearly 30,000 diggs - which should be some kind of record.
Undertakers note: take out those measuring tapes again. Before you design the coffin for Jack Valenti, make sure it has enough room for Sumner Murray Redstone and DRM too.
Digg's DRM Revolt
Kevin Rose's Blog Entry
Google News: The Digg Revolt
Digg This: Web 2.0, Censorship 0
Forbes: Digg This! Users Flex Muscle
Digg This: 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0