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Digg & DMCA Take downs

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Digg over the last couple of days has found itself the center of controversy by complying with a DMCA sponsored take down notice and the posting of the AACS hex format key string (which we won’t post here as no one really wants a takedown notice).

Just about everyone is carrying the news about what has happened over at Digg in the last 48 hours. It all started when someone posted the AACS key as a hex encoded format and did what most people do, which is digg your own post. From there the post did not get much attention. Digg got a takedown notice and removed the infringing link from Digg. The poster then reposted the file, only this time it got a lot of attention, over 15K diggs on the site. Digg then re-deleted the file and banned the account. From there it was all downhill for digg until early this morning Digg decided that in response to the amazing human outcry on censorship Digg capitulated and decided to go with what its vocal users wanted, stop taking down information.

Diggs response in its own right is brave in a world where media is not brave at all. Kevin one of the sites owners states in the Digg Blog

But now, 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. We hear you, 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. Source: Digg Blog

Amazingly enough, you can find the key quite easily in Google, yahoo, live, Google blog search, techorati, and a host of other web sites. Even with the take down notice, that information will be stored in some cache somewhere, as well as binary, decimal, and octal translations of the data. So as the data gets more obfuscated, it ends up being another process where hackers get good info, and people post that info on the internet, then when people start stumbling across the data and making it popular. Sites like digg are semi-protected from the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA, and since they are merely a link to the original content, really both Digg and the content provider should have been given the Take Down notice.

You Tube is in much the same issue with the Viacom lawsuit in that Youtube is also looking at the same issue, with the same argument that Viacom has to identify the material that is theirs, and then issue the take down notice for each video on YouTube. The blanket take down notices, much like blanket John Doe notices issued by the RIAA and MPAA just do not work when there are hundreds of thousands of items, let alone making sure you have the right items and that they do not fall under fair use.

Digg in its efforts to comply with the DMCA, and just take down all references to the information took a proactive stance on this. Rather than dealing with each individual notice. Which is ok, as it was their lawyers who advised them to do so most likely, to keep the site out of trouble. Which is admirable, but what is truly worthy and truly respectable is that they will wait to get the DMCA take down notice per file. Meaning the burden then falls to the owner of the copyright of that material to request the take down per item. Meaning it is someone else’s problem now, and Digg can merely wait it out. The copyright owner though right now if you search the search engines for the code reference will have to issue in excess of 100,000 DMCA take down notices for the original hex, and unknown for the other translations of the information.

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Digg & DMCA Take downs
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About Dan Morrill
Dan Morrill runs Techwag, a site all about his views on social media, education, technology, and some of the more interesting things that happen on the internet. He works at CityU of Seattle as the Program Director for the Computer Science, Information Systems and Information Security educational programs. WebProNews Writer


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