Digg Embroiled In HD DVD Controversy

    May 2, 2007
    WebProNews Staff

The posting of a code that decrypts HD DVD format DRM caused plenty of uproar at the social news site when Digg administrators took down posts and banned accounts over it. That was just the start.

Digg Embroiled In HD DVD Controversy
Digg Embroiled In HD DVD Controversy

Everything started when a Digg user posted a string of hexadecimal code. Those unassuming 32 characters can be used with certain software to allow the playback of HD DVD content on Linux systems, which are otherwise unsupported by the movie industry.

The original story received thousands of Diggs from site users; then, the story vanished. People screamed ‘censorship’ and began posting new stories containing the code. Those too were short-lived on Digg, but very heavily noticed.

As the stories were removed, some users were banned from Digg for posting the code. Manuel Amador, who runs the Rudd-O blog that started the whole kerfuffle by being linked in the original Digg post, found himself banned when Digg admins received a cease and desist notice to take down the code.

Digg co-founder Jay Adelson blogged about the HD DVD takedown request:

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 that have been brought to our attention. Whether you agree or disagree with the policies of the intellectual property holders and consortiums, in order for Digg to survive, it must abide by the law.

Adelson didn’t mention something about HD DVD. As noted by Texyt, some episodes of the DiggNation video podcasts have been sponsored by HD DVD. Digg isn’t hiding these sponsorships, but they weren’t actively mentioned in context with the other HD DVD activity yesterday either.

However, the issue with the code being online in the first place goes all the way back to February of this year. The source code first appeared on the Doom9 forums, and then made it to a story on a Wired blog.

The final word on the HD DVD encryption key on Digg comes from its most well-known Digger, co-founder Kevin Rose:

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.

As of press time, Digg was up and running normally.