Was Digg right to give into its users?

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will.jpgWill Head writes…

How much of a fuss can a 32 digit number cause? Quite a lot it would appear if that number can unlock the secrets to the majority of HD DVD discs that have shipped so far. The HD DVD Processing Key has been floating around the internet for a while, much to the displeasure of the AACS Licensing Administrator, which made the encryption.

Through the use of Cease and Desist notices it’s been trying to cram the genie somewhat unceremoniously back in the bottle, but an attempt to get it removed from Digg seems to have blown the issue wide open.

The trouble started when members began submitting articles about the key, which were then removed from Digg. Some members even had their accounts cancelled, while the articles in question were racking up tens of thousands of Diggs.

Digg first pleaded with its users not to submit the key, to avoid any legal problems. But the community thought otherwise and flooded the site with the key.

Spin on eight hours, and the party line had changed – submit it all you like, we’ll fight them in court and go down shooting if necessary.

Now, Digg has a LOT of users – I think it was four gazillion last time I checked – and yes, a lot of them are techy types up to speed with things like DRM. But surely it was only a small minority that were involved with flooding the site and if Digg had stood it out they would no doubt have given up and found something less boring to do instead.

Now Digg doesn’t really have a leg to stand on – the users know they can get their own way just by mass submitting the stuff Digg wants to stop them publishing. But each time it’s likely to be an outspoken minority spoiling it for everyone else. Why should they get their way, just because they’re the most persistent?

Will Head

2 comments

  • “Yes, the persistent should get their way because the majority was lazy enough not to oppose them.”

    I’d argue against that, but I can’t be bothered…

  • Well, look at how we elect officials. It’s not really the rule of the majority, but rather the votes of the people who actually vote that matter. Yes, the persistent should get their way because the majority was lazy enough not to oppose them.

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