Diggers try to keep the HD-DVD key in the Wild

The HD-DVD key, a 32 digit hexadecimal (128bit) number, allows a user to circumvent the copy control mechanism on an HD-DVD, so posting the key is likely in violation of the DMCA. Digg moderators tried to avoid a potential legal conflict by removing all stories that contain the key and banning some users who submitted the story. Digg users have responded to the removal of stories mentioning the HD-DVD key by innundating Digg with the key. On the Digg RSS feed almost half of the stories submitted in the last 24 hours have contained the key. Comments in every post contain the key and there are links everywhere to alternate sources for the key, including t-shirts, pictures, bumper stickers, haikus, and other creative encodings of the number. What will the implications of this revolt be? It will depend largely on how the AACS licensing authority (owners of the HD-DVD encryption method) responds. A heavy handed legal or political response could induce a public backlash. However, by not responding at all, it could result in a de facto change in DMCA enforcement.

For more:

Forbes – Digg’s DRM Revolt

CNet – Unhappy Digg Users bury site in protest

BBC – DVD DRM Row sparks user rebellion

Update: Eariler in the post I stated that posting the HD-DVD key would likely be found a violation of the DMCA. It is actually closer to a certainty rather than a likelyhood. A District Court found this to be the case in Universal v. Reimerdes. 111 F.Supp.2d 294. (S.D. N.Y. 2000). It held that distribution of the DeCSS code that allowed the decoding of DVDs violated the anti-trafficking provisions of the DMCA that prohibit the distribution of any technology that is primarily used to circumvent copy control mechanisms. The Second Circuit court of Appeals upheld the ruling. For background on this case see the wikipedia article.


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