Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Encryption Key Battle

For those of you who didn't know, the encryption key for HD-DVD's have been cracked. This means that you will soon be able to download HD-DVD movies and do whatever you'd like with them (if they're not available already). This scenario plays itself out over and over again as big media tries to figure out how to keep ones and zeroes out of the hands of pirates. Good luck with that, guys.

But that story is now playing second fiddle to the Digg controversy. Digg is one of the largest sites on the internet in terms of traffic. Apparently received a cease-and-desist order requiring that the link to the information be removed from the site. For those who don't know, Digg is fully "user-generated" content - the admins generally do not remove anything unless it is pornography, hate speech, etc. But they tried to remove the link containing the code, and the users went berserk. Users kept posting new article after new article until the entire front page was full of the hex code. Eventually, Kevin Rose (head dude of Digg) conceded with a blog post which said, in effect, "okay, there is obviously no way we can comply with the cease-and-desist - the users would rather see the site possibly go down than kowtow to the MPAA."

Behold the power of the masses. If goes down, it will spark more copycat sites, but the popularity Digg had was because it was so user-driven. If you want edited stories, edited content, and smart comments, go to slashdot or something, where they have actual editors. There is no way to suppress information in this day and age. And even if U.S. companies are going to comply with cease/desist orders, there are plenty of overseas companies who are more than happy to take the traffic and turn it into revenue. It could turn into just another example of overreach by established industries.

And it's so easy to say "On the other hand..." but this could spark more interest in HD-DVD and increase sales of their players. Yes, they claim to fight piracy, but right now, the DVD format wars are in full swing. I'm not going to be surprised if similar hex code is released for the Blu-Ray players soon, in an attempt to keep up.

Unfortunately, I still can't afford a nice HDTV or an HD-DVD player, so I guess I really don't care. It's just interesting, that's all.

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