Digg Riot in Progress Updated

posted at 9:17 am on May 2, 2007 by Bryan

Is this the first full blown online riot? I don’t know. But I do know that it’s funny. Digg has been plagued with leftwing mishchief-makers who bury posts by conservatives originating from this site as well as the boss’ blog and LGF, and Digg’s owners haven’t really done much to stop it. But now there’s what amounts to a digital prison riot going on because a Digger posted the hacked HD-DVD code in a post. Obviously, Digg wasn’t going to let that stand or they might have serious legal problems on their hands. So they deleted that post and banned the Digger who posted it. But another post popped up with the same code. And they deleted that one, and then up came several, then several hundred, then too many to count, all getting thousands of Diggs to push them up the chain to the front page. And Digg’s founders were getting slammed by their own community as sell-outs and shills for The Man, etc. Here’s how Gizmodo describes the digital battle:

The power of Web 2.0 is in full effect over at Digg, where users are revolting over Digg’s decision to pull a story (that netted over 15,000 diggs) and reportedly boot a user for posting the HD-DVD AACS Processing Key number, which would allow someone to crack the copy protection on an HD-DVD. The front page (along with two and three) of Digg consists entirely of stories flaunting the number or criticizing Digg for its actions.

Digg’s Kevin Rose explains his side of the story here:

I just wanted to explain what some of you have been noticing around some stories that have been submitted to Digg on the HD DVD encryption key being cracked.

This has all come up in the past 24 hours, mostly connected to the HD-DVD hack that has been circulating online, having been posted to Digg as well as numerous other popular news and information websites. 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.

My sympathies lie with Kevin on this. He’s being accused of censorship, a charge that really only ought to be leveled at the government and only when censorship is actually occurring, when all he’s doing is abiding by intellectual property law. The HD-DVD encryption code is a piece of property. Rose couldn’t let Digg become the place where the HD-DVD code got out. Doing so might destroy him and the site he founded and thereby the community that’s rioting against him now. Of course, the Digg community seems to be eating itself alive anyway at this point. For those of us who’ve had problems with the kids over at Digg, this riot is hardly a surprise. In some ways it’s the logical outcome of Web 2.0.

And it’s all going to be moot: Engineers will probably have a new encryption code in a day or so, making the code that has now spread beyond Digg to Slashdot and elsewhere useless. Until it gets hacked and posted at Digg, of course.

Update: Digg has indeed reversed itself, and Kevin Rose posted the code on his own blog.

We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

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.

Died trying to what? This looks to me like an attempt to appease the mob. That seldom works out very well.

Update: Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Gee, and to think I was on there at just the right time. Watching these leftists have a cow-oughta happen to google.
BWAhahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

tormod on May 2, 2007 at 9:30 AM

Hmm…I guess allowing those Diggbots to proliferate isn’t such a great idea, is it?

James on May 2, 2007 at 9:31 AM

And no, I wasn’t serious. Just so you’ll know.

tormod on May 2, 2007 at 9:33 AM

Turns out now they’ve reversed themselves now.

theovermind99 on May 2, 2007 at 9:34 AM

Sorry, the link I posted didn’t go through. Anyways, Kevin Rose has posted the HD-DVD code himself now.

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.

theovermind99 on May 2, 2007 at 9:37 AM

It appears Digg has bowed to the rioters

dingoatemebaby on May 2, 2007 at 9:37 AM

This is what happens when you let the anarchists run the hen house.

BohicaTwentyTwo on May 2, 2007 at 9:41 AM

You’d rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company.

True, but not for the reason you state.

James on May 2, 2007 at 9:43 AM

Is this a new HD DVD key? Just wondering because HD DVD and Blu-Ray were cracked months ago. Software already exists to rip the discs.

Queasy on May 2, 2007 at 9:48 AM

Flouting laws that are there for a reason, what do they think they are , a sanctuary site for criminals?

bbz123 on May 2, 2007 at 9:50 AM

Died trying to what? This looks to me like an attempt to appease the mob. That seldom works out very well.

I thought the same thing. Digg should have -at least- stuck to its guns here. Now, it is breaking the law instead of pissing off some nerds.

If you wanna see what it looked like, according to Digg, here is a video of the action:

http://www.lorien1973.com/digg-revolt-of-2007

You can see stories being added, then summarily deleted seconds later as the moderators fight to keep up. Kinda interesting.

lorien1973 on May 2, 2007 at 9:54 AM

Code, schmode.

We all know this is the true face on these ‘children of the pelosi’ ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Children_of_the_Corn ).

Got your escape plan ready?

locomotivebreath1901 on May 2, 2007 at 9:54 AM

Only the intellectually void would demand that others be denied the protection of their intellectual property.

csdeven on May 2, 2007 at 9:56 AM

Digg will be shut down and the operators fined and sued in 5…4…3…

Buh-bye :^P

db on May 2, 2007 at 10:04 AM

Funny, “going down fighting” is pretty much their approach to terrorists as well….well, not really, maybe more of the “surrender to the mob come hell or high water”.

Faith1 on May 2, 2007 at 10:08 AM

Its all Boooossshhhs fault

William Amos on May 2, 2007 at 10:13 AM

According to Pirating Physics providing a means to bypass encryption/drm should actually increase the use of HD-DVD content, and as a side effect increase sales of HD-DVD movies (something that may not be all that great right now vis a vis Blu-Ray DVDs).

They are just trying to prop up another dead-end technology that the teeming masses would really want if it lacked that silly encryption/DRM (that the average DVD buyer actually knows almost nothing about).

Neo on May 2, 2007 at 10:22 AM

Died trying huh? We can only hope.

bj1126 on May 2, 2007 at 10:26 AM

Rose couldn’t let Digg become the place where the HD-DVD code got out.

From the looks of things, its already out. I’m not sure of the legal issues, but I thought this was a trade secret, not copyright issue. If its a trade secret, once its out its out -there’s no further issue of IP infringement.

The only issue then is the DMCA which makes it illegal to traffick in a device/program that defeats a copyright protection method. I don’t know if the key itself qualifies for that protection or not, but software using the key to defeat encryption would. At least that’s my non-lawyerly understanding.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 10:36 AM

Died trying to what? This looks to me like an attempt to appease the mob. That seldom works out very well.

Exactly. What a pathetic weenie this Kevin is.

One of the staples of the conservative mindset is that if you live by the sword, you may die by it. Here it is.

Jaibones on May 2, 2007 at 10:37 AM

And what is the lesson that “the owners of this intellectual property” will NOT learn? Anyone? Bueller?

“Once it hits the internet, it’s GONE! You can’t remove it, no matter how much legal right to do so you may have.”

Here endeth the lesson.

mojo on May 2, 2007 at 10:42 AM

Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

half so. lazzais faire frees mobs. you can have constructionist mobs and deconstructionist mobs. it disproves libertarianism to ther extent that libertarianism presumes all mobs seek to construct.

jummy on May 2, 2007 at 10:44 AM

Digg will be shut down and the operators fined and sued in 5…4…3…

Won’t happen, because as far as I can tell Digg did nothing wrong. The law has always recognized that once a trade secret is “out” it loses all protection. All that key is, is the combination to the lock. The only way Digg gets in legal trouble is if they publish directions or a program on how to use that “key” to unlock an HD DVD.

Now the interesting part of the way the standard works is that “key” can now be revoked. If that happens, any HD DVD player that uses that key in order to play HD DVDs will not be able to play new HD DVDs. In other words, some people’s very expensive HD DVD players could be obsoleted because of this.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 10:58 AM

Intellectual property is VERY REAL. We should not allow the inmates to run the asylum. It’s no different than someone stealing your paycheck out of your hand, or changing the code/account number on your direct deposit to go to their account.
I hope digg gets shut down, at least for 6 months, and fined HUGE.
They agreed to this code break and then posted it….very wrong.

shooter on May 2, 2007 at 11:01 AM

I have a HD-DVD Player and a Blu Ray/HD DVD Player and what both have in common is that they have network jacks and they connect to the internet for firmware updates and upgrades.

I surmise that if and when these codes are changed my machines will download new firmware updates with the new keys and life goes on.

Now, down to the real issue. Where is AP?

JayHaw Phrenzie on May 2, 2007 at 11:09 AM

Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

No. The market is at work here. If Digg dies, it will ultimately be the result of market forces at work. They failed to communicate well with their users, which resulted in the perception of censorship and the “riot” we see now. They also fostered an anarchic environment based on an ineffective or nonexistent social contract that allowed and encouraged the mob mentality we are seeing in action today. As a result of these systemic flaws, Digg may die in an expensive lawsuit. The market may be in the process of rejecting Digg’s business model, but not consumer freedom. In other words, the Diggers are killing their own host–a very libertarian (though unwise) thing to do.

aero on May 2, 2007 at 11:11 AM

holy smokes…. how do people do these things so fast?!

j_ehman on May 2, 2007 at 11:17 AM

Ok, I understand that Digg is deservedly unpopular here, and enjoying their troubles is understandable.

I also understand that a mob of folks one might imagine are intent on piracy are not exactly heroes to be praised.

That said, I’m rather troubled by the cheerleading for the content cartel I see in the comments, and disappointed by Bryan’s errors in describing “intellectual property
law” — errors that sound like RIAA talking points.

Conservatives should respect the law, true. But we should not respect the abuse of the law, and that’s what this is.

Bryan said:

all he’s doing is abiding by intellectual property law. The HD-DVD encryption code is a piece of property.

The HD-DVD encryption code is a number, not property. The HD-DVD folks can no more “own” that number than I can own “7″. Neither copyright nor patent law can grant monopoly rights to publication of a number.

Copyright and patent laws exist to establish legal enforcement of monopoly powers over published works. In this case, the nature of the HD-DVD code is that publication makes it useless for its intended purpose. It’s not meant to be published, thus it’s not meant to be protected by any of the “IP” laws.

Instead, the code is best understood as a trade secret. And once a secret is out, it’s out.

The best analogy for understanding this, is that the HD-DVD code is a number that plays the same role as the numbers that unlock a combination lock. The numbers are not property, the thing behind the lock is. Revealing the numbers is not illegal, using the numbers to access the locked property is. Most folks who comment here understand the distinction between crimes and tools used to commit crime when the issue is guns. Same princples apply here.

Bryan also said:

And it’s all going to be moot: Engineers will probably have a new encryption code in a day or so

Which is completely correct, and illustrates the truth that this number is a secret, and not a copyrightable work. Any well-designed system that relies on a secret for its effectiveness needs some way to react when that secret is revealed. Assuming minimal competence, this disclosure will
have zero long-term effect on the real property rights of the HD-DVD companies. Which makes their abusive takedown notices even less defensible.

I think this “riot” has arisen not so much out of a huge movement to violate copyright, but as a reaction against HD-DVD’s abusive tactics.

I really think Hot Air ought to be on the other side of this one. Not that you have to “embrace the mob,” but Hot Air is proving the value of independently produced video to entertain, educate, and inform. This can now be accomplised without the backing of a major corporation. Systems like the HD-DVD encryption code exist mostly to keep such independent producers out of the game, so they don’t complete with the big established players. It’s anti-competitive activity, aimed directly at the up-and-coming competitors best represented by Hot Air itself. If you can ever imagine you might want to
ship a “Best of Hot Air” HD-DVD to paying customers without having to first bow and scrape (and pay tribute to) incumbent corporations, consider the damage to free production and distribution done by systems like that
of the HD-DVD folks.

That went on way too long; hope some of it makes sense.

Rev Snow on May 2, 2007 at 11:22 AM

from wikipedia:
“The DVD Forum (consortium of many LARGE companies) is responsible for the official DVD format specification. The group handles licensing of the DVD format and logo through the DVD Format and Logo Licensing Corporation (DVD FLLC), which also publishes the official specifications in book form. Reference materials and newsletters are published for DVD Forum members.”

Lets see what these folks have to say.

shooter on May 2, 2007 at 11:29 AM

I agree with Rev Snow above. I’ll just add that the MP Ass of A seem to be demonstrating yet again that the coverup is worse than the crime because had they not made such a huge fuss about the code then it probably wouldn’t be gettign quite such widespread coverage. More thoughts at my blog

Francis Turner on May 2, 2007 at 11:30 AM

Why would Hot Air want to do that when they can just post videos in HD and allow them to be downloaded?

Trade secrets are just as protected as copyrights and sometimes more so. Companies have a right and responsibility to protect them as well. Taking away their right to do so would be far more damaging and anti-competitive than anything the HD code is doing.

bj1126 on May 2, 2007 at 11:32 AM

I surmise that if and when these codes are changed my machines will download new firmware updates with the new keys and life goes on.

I was under the impression (could easily be wrong) that new keys would not be issued for a compromised player. The reason being that once a player has been “hacked” any new key made available to it would immediately be compromised as well. They may as well not revoke the compromised key in the first place. There’s no simple answer that I see.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 11:32 AM

Commercialized HD DVDs integrate copy protection technology specified by AACS LA (Advanced Access Content System License Authority).

c’mon folks, go read a little before you decide to make “everything free for everyone” arguments.

shooter on May 2, 2007 at 11:37 AM

Hey, don’t forget, it’s not a “riot”, it’s “civil disobedience”…ugh

Yeah, I was on Digg last night, and as fast as the hack posts were popping up, they were disappearing.

I agree that the “blame” should not be on Digg…but then the blame shouldn’t have been on Napster when they started out with that free file sharing of music. They were simply a conduit, same as Digg is. But if the precedent would hold if it went to court, Digg could face a shut down over this.

JetBoy on May 2, 2007 at 11:37 AM

Rev Snow on May 2, 2007 at 11:22 AM

You can favor the rebellion against the “content cartel” and still laugh at the Diggers’ folly. They are erroneously rebelling against Digg–which has nothing to do with content protection or HD-DVDs–apparently as a proxy for the real enemy, the HD-DVD content protection people. How will (possibly) killing Digg free the Diggers from the oppression of the content Nazis?

aero on May 2, 2007 at 11:40 AM

Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

Libertarianism suffers from the same problem Socialism suffers from: complete ignorance of the nature of humanity. It’s altruistic, and flawed just on that alone.

I wouldn’t call the online riot at Digg “libertarian”. I would call it “stupid” because who uses Digg for such information? That HD was cracked is no big deal, nor is it news. It’s unlikely the Diggbats could actually use the information, anyway. Those that can use it, knew it months ago.

Krydor on May 2, 2007 at 11:43 AM

Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

No, the Digg riot is proof that you have to be more respectful of your users. I don’t know what came over them that the way to deal with the problem is no delete posts and ban users. I mean it’s not like blacked-out text was never used before. Just ask those dimwits who tried to redact using Word documents and forgot to remove the edit history. It would be a simple matter to add a section to their code to replace the super-secret, name-of-god number with a bunch of XXXs and then go out for a nice relaxing lunch.

pedestrian on May 2, 2007 at 11:51 AM

The HD-DVD encryption code is a number, not property. The HD-DVD folks can no more “own” that number than I can own “7″. Neither copyright nor patent law can grant monopoly rights to publication of a number.

B.S. All digital media, be it a code, a song, a video, or a computer program can be represented by a single number — albeit a very, very, large number.

You may as well be arguing that photos and films are just patterns of light, and you can’t copyright or patent light.

db on May 2, 2007 at 11:53 AM

this is like right up htere with Second Life terrorists

YAWN!

Defector01 on May 2, 2007 at 12:12 PM

It’s a very Liberal ideal that there should be no intellectual property, only technology and information that can be used as much as possible by the public, with nothing for the creators. That’s what this boils down to.

The Digg owners bowed down to the anarchist mob, bottom line. As someone else stated, it’s also their position on terrorism- bowing down to the mob of Jihadists.

amerpundit on May 2, 2007 at 12:13 PM

When I stumbled on this thing last night (via Gizmodo under “Geeks will not be silenced”), it really amazed me to read the comments. Easily 95% of them were suggesting that Digg’s attempt to keep trade secrets from being revealed on their site amounted to anti-first amendment censorship. There were also the usual piracy apologists claiming that a series of digital bits can never be called intellectual property. One guy actually posted the text of the first amendment and then basically said “See, you can’t keep that code from me without violating my rights.”

To call this “digital riot” civil would be wrong. “Juvenile” would be giving these kindergartners credit. It’s just a bunch of sniveling, ignorant, keyboard-pounding basement dwellers who want to download full-length porn.

Bryan, with the absence of a H/T, a take it you found this independently of my note?

Freelancer on May 2, 2007 at 12:32 PM

Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

Eh, I would say no. This is more toward anarchism than libertarianism far as I can tell.

I figure people stealing are liberal socialists stealing from liberal socialists anyway, so its red on red as far as I’m concerned. Let’em devour each other.

Bad Candy on May 2, 2007 at 12:37 PM

It’s just a bunch of sniveling, ignorant, keyboard-pounding basement dwellers who want to download full-length porn.

Freelancer, isn’t that what this great country was founded on? The right to watch full-length hardcore pr0n for free on the internet without the fascist producers trying to make a buck?

Bad Candy on May 2, 2007 at 12:41 PM

Rev Snow has it right. Period.
It’s not against the law to know things, it’s what you do with that knowledge.

Gooch on May 2, 2007 at 12:47 PM

csdeven on May 2, 2007 at 9:56 AM

It’s not their intellectual property strictly speaking. All publication of the key does is allow people to exercise their fair use rights which companies have been trying to circumvent by means of encryption (DVDs), Root kit Viruses (Sony CDs) and Spyware (Microsoft WGA) and Activation (Microsoft yet again).

These companies think it fair to infringe on your fair use rights because somebody MIGHT break the law and distribute illegal copies for profit. Meanwhile they let it go on wholesale in Asia.

TheBigOldDog on May 2, 2007 at 12:52 PM

It’s no different than someone stealing your paycheck out of your hand, or changing the code/account number on your direct deposit to go to their account.

It’s quite different. If someone gets my direct deposit, I don’t get it. The number

09 F9 11 02
9D 74 E3 5B
D8 41 56 C5
63 56 88 C0

does not take anything of value away from its rightful owner.

This has nothing to do with preventing people from making bit-for-bit copies of DVDs; it only prevents people from making and using players that can make fair-use extracts from those DVDs.

The Monster on May 2, 2007 at 12:55 PM

The HD-DVD folks can no more “own” that number than I can own “7″.

Right, because we all know you wouldn’t complain at all if I posted your credit card #, expiration date, and 3 digit CVV/CVC numbers here in a post.

They’re just nubmers, nobody owns them, they can’t be copyrighted or trademarked. Why is it illegal for me to share the creditcard numbers that I’ve found on the internet in other companies databases?

Why not share the Account, bank, and routing number of your checking account. It’s just a number, not like it’s proprietary or anything. And some guys in Nigeria who keep sending me e-mails want that kind of information.

Odd that Nigerian Scammers and Credit Card frauds would be so interested in simple strings of numbers. They must be mathematicians.

gekkobear on May 2, 2007 at 1:01 PM

B.S. All digital media, be it a code, a song, a video, or a computer program can be represented by a single number — albeit a very, very, large number.

No, he’s right. You can’t copyright a number. Though things can be represented by a number, they are not a number. For example, Best Buy (or was it Wal Mart?) tried to argue their prices were copyrighted, which would prevent web sites that compare prices from publishing their prices. The courts rejected that argument.

But that’s all beside the point. This isn’t a copyright issue (at the key level) -its a trade secret issue. Once a trade secret is public, it loses all protection -the only one liable is the person who first publicized the code. It only becomes a copyright issue if someone uses the code to violate copyrights.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 1:01 PM

bj1126 asks:

Why would Hot Air want to do that when they can just post videos in HD and allow them to be downloaded?

An excellent question that illustrates the issues at stake here.

Ask yourself how it is that HotAir is able to offer video to you in the first place. How is it that your computer has the ability and permission to connect to Hot Air’s servers? How is it that these computers can agree on how streams of 0′s and 1′s ought to be interpreted so that a moving image appears on your screen as the producers intend? Even if you haven’t purchased a “HotAir approved” computer.

This is all possible because the internet, and digital video are built on open standards so that interoperable systems available from multiple competing vendors can successfully accomplish these things without ongoing coordination, and without the need for approval by a central authority. Thus without opportunities for censorship.

Examine the internet of 2007. Compare with the internet of 1995. They have nearly zero pieces of equipment in common. But the ongoing openness of the standards means folks can keep adding new content, new services, all without central planning as freely now as they could in 1995. (And due to greatly improved tools, even more easily).

Consider the internet of 2015. It will again have almost no devices in common with the internet of today. Will those devices continue to support the open standards that make today’s open internet possible? Or will they all have “rights management” features deeply embedded into them that treat any video that is not marked as the “property” of some major corporation as something suspect to be blocked, or given second-rate treatment?

Even if HotAir has no interest in HD-DVD releases, they should have some interest in the continuing freedom to create and distribute their messages to their viewers on the economical and popular system(s) of the day.

Rev Snow on May 2, 2007 at 1:07 PM

As a strong believer in “Fair Use” I’m all for the HD-DVD Code to be posted.

Tim Burton on May 2, 2007 at 1:07 PM

db writes:

B.S. All digital media…can be represented by a single number

Good point. That illustration in my original comment doesn’t hold up well, and would not appear in a second draft.

The useful distinction isn’t number vs. non-number. It’s published vs. non-published. Copyright and patent protectons are for published works, not secrets.

Thanks for helping refine the point.

Rev Snow on May 2, 2007 at 1:11 PM

Rev Snow on May 2, 2007 at 1:07 PM

And support the rights of individuals to exercise their fair use rights.

We can’t allow collective punishment simply because some people make break the law. That would be like collecting all guns to prevent other VTs.

TheBigOldDog on May 2, 2007 at 1:16 PM

This has been (and still is) up on Wired since February, so it’s not like Digg has outed some sooper-seekrit information. The reason for the riot is because some guy posted about getting a DMCA notice for posting it at his blog, and after his post got front-paged (with like 15K diggs, I think), it was yanked. So what, they’re gonna go after everyone who even links to someone who might have it? Good luck with that.

Really, the code can be found at any one of about a million or so places on teh intertubes, and most of the people who see it aren’t going to even know what to do with it, much less actually use it (least of all me–it’s as useless to me as last week’s lottery numbers).

I think the digg riot is funny as hell, though. Then again, I love a good internet joke. It’s 2007′s version of goatse! ;-)

I wouldn’t say Kevin Rose caved, either; it simply got to the point where they couldn’t clear all of it out of there. Might as well just deal with it. I’m not saying it’s right, but I will say he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. And anyway, if they’re really concerned about it, they can always go purge all of it later after the buzz has died down (which it will, just like it did after Wired posted it in February).

bamapachyderm on May 2, 2007 at 1:19 PM

I wouldn’t say Kevin Rose caved, either;

If I were a cynic, I might think he realized there was nothing illegal about it and decided to score a few points with the “digerati” by “standing up to the (straw)man”.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 1:41 PM

I STILL don’t see the “big deal” in Digg.

Don’t use it, and we won’t be “buried”.

Rick Donaldson on May 2, 2007 at 1:47 PM

By the way, just so EVERYONE knows the FACTS. When a “code key” is “compromised”, you CHANGE it.

The government does it. PGP people do it. GPG users DO IT.

I do it.

If your keys become compromised, the FIRST thing you do, is change it. It’s an encryption key, and encryption keys aren’t copyrighted, they aren’t patented, they simply “are”.

If someone published a “top secret” code key for the government, 1) they would be breaking a law, 2) they would have compromised the key, 3) The government is forced immediately to CHANGE the key, 4) Take action, if they wish, against the publisher — assuming the publisher thereof had some legitimate reason to have the keys in the first place.

If the publication of said key placed personnel in jeopardy, then… well, you have other, bigger issues. Breaking a code key for a DVD, set of DVDs or even a whole system isn’t illegal, it’s just.. DAMNED inconvenient for the maker.

Sorry. Change the key and move on.

Rick Donaldson on May 2, 2007 at 1:52 PM

Bits is Bits – CONTEXT is Everything
– the Hacker’s Creed

mojo on May 2, 2007 at 1:58 PM

I think the digg riot is funny as hell, though. Then again, I love a good internet joke. It’s 2007’s version of goatse! ;-)

And DO NOT look up goatse if you are at work, have a heart condition, are pregnant, super NSFW or LUNCH!!!!!!! Sorry, but people reference it and there is ALWAYS some poor SOB inevitably ends up looking it up, or even worse when you at work.

Its seriously one of the most gross and disturbing things you will ever see outside of a warzone, and you are way better off not knowing. It is also the reason you never hotlink a photo, someone did and got goatse’d at a forum I used to visit and no amount of mindbleach will ever remove it, I’m scarred for life.

If the mods wanna wipe any reference to the horror that is goatse, feel free. I’m happy with that kinda censoring.

Bad Candy on May 2, 2007 at 2:05 PM

I’m just giving people a fair warning not to stupidly look it up…

Bad Candy on May 2, 2007 at 2:08 PM

Sounds like we need better encryption technology. Gotta keep one step ahead of the criminals.

As far as DIGG goes, that guy needs to suck it up and keep whatever he wants off that site (that he OWNS!!!) Those rioters are acting like he owes them something. Bunch of morons.

jdpaz on May 2, 2007 at 2:13 PM

Update: Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

I would say it’s too soon to tell. Hasn’t all shaken out yet. Maybe the free market of ideas will reach an equilibrium here.

mikeyboss on May 2, 2007 at 2:46 PM

Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

Touche! Bryan, Touche!

Troy Rasmussen on May 2, 2007 at 2:51 PM

I’m just giving people a fair warning not to stupidly look it up…

Bad Candy on May 2, 2007 at 2:08 PM

Thanks for the warning. I was planning on looking it up.

Of course, now, I’m even more curious about it. However, I’m not one to go looking for things that will make me want to bleach my eyeballs, so I’ll pass.

JadeNYU on May 2, 2007 at 2:58 PM

Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

Nah. Just proof that some people find social pressure from feces-flinging leftards more compelling than potentially ruinous fines and injunctions.

Centerfire on May 2, 2007 at 3:04 PM

The only issue then is the DMCA which makes it illegal to traffick in a device/program that defeats a copyright protection method. I don’t know if the key itself qualifies for that protection or not, but software using the key to defeat encryption would. At least that’s my non-lawyerly understanding.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 10:36 AM

DMCA is just bad law passed by bought off Republicans. I am all for patent rights, I am working on something I hope to patent, but the DMCA limits fair use.

I also don’t think the EULA should be allowed the way they are set up, they harm customers and you can’t return the software once you open it up and are actually able to read it. I prefer the way it was in the 80s. Software was considered books not some special protected class.

Tim Burton on May 2, 2007 at 3:09 PM

Of course, now, I’m even more curious about it. However, I’m not one to go looking for things that will make me want to bleach my eyeballs, so I’ll pass.

JadeNYU on May 2, 2007 at 2:58 PM

This is one of those rare cases where ignorance truly is bliss. Good call on your part not to look.

Bad Candy on May 2, 2007 at 3:15 PM

Digg deserves everything they get.

I was banned from Digg for “spamming.” They said that my blog was quoting news sources without giving credit. Of course, this was false. I invited them to view my blog, and all of my posts to prove that I provide links to the original story every time I write. They never responded after that.

It’s about time they got a taste of their own medicine.

Casey on May 2, 2007 at 3:29 PM

Sorry. Change the key and move on.

In general, that’s true. But presumably, there’s a model of HD-DVD player out there that uses this key to unlock the content of HD-DVD disks. If that key is revoked, the “lock” on all new HD-DVDs will no longer recognize that key, and those players will be unable to play the disks.

One of the questions yet unanswered, is what happens if HD-DVD players are “black listed” because of this? What recourse does the innocent consumer have if a hacker targeted their model of player to get a key?

Someone raised the possibility of updated keys for players, but if a player’s been hacked, any new key used to update it will also be compromised. In the end, the question is, do these “games” do more harm than good for the consumer and/or the copyright holders?

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 3:35 PM

I thought the same thing. Digg should have -at least- stuck to its guns here. Now, it is breaking the law instead of pissing off some nerds.

If you wanna see what it looked like, according to Digg, here is a video of the action:

http://www.lorien1973.com/digg-revolt-of-2007

You can see stories being added, then summarily deleted seconds later as the moderators fight to keep up. Kinda interesting.

lorien1973 on May 2, 2007 at 9:54 AM

I’m sorry, Lorien. I began laughing as soon as I began watching your download. If you didn’t know what you were looking at, you’d swear you’re watching one of those “How Life Begins” Documentaries on Discovery Channel!

kiakjones on May 2, 2007 at 3:55 PM

It is also the reason you never hotlink a photo, someone did and got goatse’d

HAHA! Amen to that! I had to give a Free Republic hotlinker a “no hotlinking” warning with a little goatse once myself.

Really, it’s not so bad once you’ve seen Tubgirl (WAY worse than goatse). And it’s one of those things that after you’ve seen it a lot, it doesn’t bother you any more, I guess like TV violence or something. I can even use it for creative photoshopping now. ;-) Heehee.

bamapachyderm on May 2, 2007 at 4:03 PM

I don’t use Digg. They provide no value to me as a web user. Frankly, I really don’t care if they live or die as a site. I am totally ambivalent as to their survival.

As an observation, until Kevin Rose’s last statement, his site was protected under the “safe harbor” provision of the DMCA. Now that he has gone over, I suspect that the industry may move to shut him down.

The way to deal with objectionable provisions of the DMCA is to get Congress to revise it, not to knuckle under to a mob. I don’t know how likely revising DMCA will be as the USA has been moving to conform our copyright laws with the rest of the world for a long time now. But until DMCA is revised, the owners of the algorithm have every right to issue cease and desist orders to Digg.

In the mean time, I would like to point out that intellectual property (patents, copyrights, tradesecrets, etc.) are protected, and that this protection comes from our very Constitution itself:

Art. 1, Sec. 8, para 8: To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

What those who are posting the processing key number are doing is aiding and abetting stealing from the PRODUCERS of the entertainment involved, including the artists behind the performances.

So let’s be clear on what the “mob” at Digg are doing.

georgej on May 2, 2007 at 4:11 PM

bamapachyderm on May 2, 2007 at 4:03 PM

Yeah, that’s a tough call for me, I personally find both of those pics equally disturbing in their own very special way. Ick.

Bad Candy on May 2, 2007 at 4:18 PM

And that is true, after the first time you see, those pics doesn’t effect you as bad, but man that first time…

Bad Candy on May 2, 2007 at 4:19 PM

And it’s all going to be moot: Engineers will probably have a new encryption code in a day or so, making the code that has now spread beyond Digg to Slashdot and elsewhere useless. Until it gets hacked and posted at Digg, of course.

Sure, if they people who have published HD-DVDs and Blueray disks to this point don’t mind a general recall, so they can republish those disks with the new key(s).

Oh, and all the manufacturers of the hardware that reads HD-DVD and Blueray will need to issue a recall of all those systems, so they can be re-encoded.

The genie is out of the bottle, and there really isn’t a fix for this. Next time, the “engineers” (and I lose those term loosely) who design copyright control systems should spend a bit more thought on what they’ll have to do to prevent someone from getting the key.

Or, people can realize there really isn’t a technological solution to “piracy”, because it’s a social problem. You can’t fix humans with software code.

corbettw on May 2, 2007 at 4:27 PM

In general, that’s true. But presumably, there’s a model of HD-DVD player out there that uses this key to unlock the content of HD-DVD disks. If that key is revoked, the “lock” on all new HD-DVDs will no longer recognize that key, and those players will be unable to play the disks.

No it doesn’t work that way. The DVD-player can change the number as needed.

It is like a programable lock. You set it, and if the key/code becomes compromised you can reset the key/code and change it to a new one.

Tim Burton on May 2, 2007 at 4:35 PM

The genie is out of the bottle, and there really isn’t a fix for this. Next time, the “engineers” (and I lose those term loosely) who design copyright control systems should spend a bit more thought on what they’ll have to do to prevent someone from getting the key.

Listen, it doesn’t ever stop the pirates who are selling the stuff. They aren’t the ones hurt by the copy protection. The copy protection hurts you or I who want to copy a disk so we can take it on a trip and not worry about it getting scratched or stolen.

If you think it is you or I who are the problems (with pirating) you need to go to Manhattan and look for the guys who spread out DVDs and sell them for 5 bucks a pop. Those are the ones who are hurting movie sales and they are the ones who aren’t stopped by protection schemes like you or I who want to copy it for fair use.

Tim Burton on May 2, 2007 at 4:54 PM

Listen, it doesn’t ever stop the pirates who are selling the stuff. They aren’t the ones hurt by the copy protection. The copy protection hurts you or I who want to copy a disk so we can take it on a trip and not worry about it getting scratched or stolen.

BINGO! You get it.

For over 150 years, the fair-use doctrine has helped stimulate broad advances in scientific inquiry and education, and has advanced broad societal goals in countless other ways. In this emerging digital era, we need to return to first principles. We need to achieve the balance that should be at the heart of our efforts to promote the interests of copyright owners while respecting the rights of information consumers. We need to rewrite the law for the benefit of society as a whole before all access to information is irreversibly controlled. In short, we need to reaffirm fair use.

http://news.com.com/2010-1071-825335.html

TheBigOldDog on May 2, 2007 at 5:15 PM

That went on way too long; hope some of it makes sense.
Rev Snow on May 2, 2007 at 11:22 AM

Not to long, that was a great post.

A video blog that is free of any large corporation like HotAir is absoutly should be advocating against all of these ever increasing “intellectual property” restrictions that are being rolled out. You rely on free content in virtually every post because of the “fair use” clause. To advocate in favor of large corporations puting all kinds of locks on thier content will put HotAir out of buisness (in general not the HD-DVD thing)

I think you are badly mistaken if you think this site is much more insulated and safe then say YouTube

Resolute on May 2, 2007 at 6:01 PM

Ignore my grammar

Resolute on May 2, 2007 at 7:18 PM

The copy protection hurts you or I who want to copy a disk so we can take it on a trip and not worry about it getting scratched or stolen.

My biggest beef with DRM is when it goes beyond simply preventing copying (which in itself isn’t always illegal) to intentional limits on perfectly legal actions. For instance, I’m sure I’m not the only one who hates being forced to sit through FBI/Interpol warnings, then studio splashes, and sometimes even movie trailers before being allowed to watch the movie. Disabling the “Stop” or any other function of my DVD player while these things are playing has absolutely nothing to do with preventing copying.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 7:51 PM

No it doesn’t work that way. The DVD-player can change the number as needed.

But what good does that do? Depending on how the key was compromised, any new key issued would be compromised as soon as its issued. Then you end up on a continuous treadmill of updating compromised keys. I’m just not sure the scheme being used does more good than harm for users or copyright holders. Maybe success or failure of Apple’s foray into DRM free music purchases will give an indication.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 7:57 PM

Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

I think it is a good example of how they don’t work that easily.

Bradky on May 2, 2007 at 8:03 PM

How could Kevin Rose argue, Bryan? After all, in Harry Reid’s words, “it was the will of the (Digg) people.” This is truly scary in this respect. This is exactly why Harry Reid thinks there are 300M Commanders-in-Chief in the U.S. and not one. Bad thought process. Rule by mob never works out. Great column, Bryan.

MsUnderestimated on May 2, 2007 at 8:38 PM

Is there no honor among thieves?

Not since the Crucifixion.

profitsbeard on May 2, 2007 at 9:13 PM

But what good does that do? Depending on how the key was compromised, any new key issued would be compromised as soon as its issued. Then you end up on a continuous treadmill of updating compromised keys. I’m just not sure the scheme being used does more good than harm for users or copyright holders. Maybe success or failure of Apple’s foray into DRM free music purchases will give an indication.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 7:57 PM

I’m not exactly sure, but the key isn’t the issue, it is the algorithm. If the algorithm is compromised, then all is lost, the key is only like a CD key on a video game. Sure you can play the video game with the pirated key, but you can’t get to online servers. In other words the key is good for movies that have been made with it, but once they change it, the hackers are stuck till they crack that key. It is the algorithm that is the crux of the issue.

And just so you know, the word in the warez circles is that it will be cracked within 6 months.

Again the issue is that they have spent millions to harm the average customer and have done ZERO to the pirates selling the movies in China, Manhattan, Mexico, Mexican Barrios (My neighborhood has a guy driving around like the ice creamman selling them) and ever other third world hell-hole.

Tim Burton on May 2, 2007 at 10:28 PM

In case anyone is interested in a better explanation of the legal side, eff.org has an article that may help. The key, from the article :

What is the AACS-LA’s argument? In its takedown letters, the AACS-LA claims that hosting the key violates the DMCA’s ban on trafficking in circumvention devices.

In other words, as has been said repeatedly, its not a case of copyright violation, its “trafficking in a circumvention device” that’s at issue.

taznar on May 2, 2007 at 10:43 PM

Rove you evil genius you.

Mojave Mark on May 3, 2007 at 2:05 AM

Rev Snow,

So the DVD decryption code is a trade secret? Okay, last summer three people were caught trying to sell the secret formula for Coke. In February, the leader of the group was convicted and now faces up to ten years in prison. Are you prepared to see that type of response to whoever leaked this secret?

As for your gun rights allusions, you have the right to buy a gun. You do not have the right to publish the trade secrets behind how to produce a Glock. One is a personal freedom, the other is a specific piece of intellectual property. You have the right to own an HD-DVD. You do not have the right to all the intellectual property that created that piece of technology.

Furthermore, a gun has value as a tool to protect the user from harm. In the case of the HD-DVD code, the only value associated with it is the value one can glean from stealing the material it protects, i.e. Hollywood films. There is no prevention of harm that can come from having this code. Well, not unless you want to argue that forcing people to pay for films is akin to assault. Forget, libertarianism, that’s just Marxism.

Finally, your open standards argument is also weak. Open standards exist in HD-DVD. That’s what the HD-DVD standard is! That’s how multiple companies are able to author films in the HD-DVD format and have it play on the same hardware. That’s not the same as giving away the content.

Sun Microsystems or Cisco can use web standards but ask if they’re willing to post their proprietary software code or chip designs on the web. The answer will be no.

John on May 3, 2007 at 4:08 AM

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

A quick look back through history would teach us this is exactly what happens when appeasement tactics are used, we die trying.

Lawrence on May 3, 2007 at 9:19 AM

Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

Nope. The libertarian method would have been to change the IP laws, not break them.

Kevin M on May 3, 2007 at 12:39 PM

As for your gun rights allusions, you have the right to buy a gun. You do not have the right to publish the trade secrets behind how to produce a Glock. One is a personal freedom, the other is a specific piece of intellectual property. You have the right to own an HD-DVD. You do not have the right to all the intellectual property that created that piece of technology.

Trade secrets should not be protectable. Coke and companies should be required to patent or copyright it’s work, not have it eternally protected as a trade secret.

That is like having a drug company manufacture a drug to cure cancer and them not get it patented, they just claim it is a trade secret and never have to have it go to the generic market.

Tim Burton on May 3, 2007 at 1:00 PM

Tim, I don’t think you understand who trade secrets work.
If somebody figures out how to make Coke, they are free to make it. Patents only work for a limited time, that’s why Coke made it a trade secret. They keep the formula secret so others can’t copy it.

People who learn how to make Coke while working at or for Coke voluntarily sign a non-disclosure agreement. And yes, it’s voluntary. If they don’t want to sign they don’t have to. They just have to find someplace else to work.
People who learn how to make New Coke while working at or for Coke get laughed at when they ask if they have to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Update: Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

I didn’t realize you needed proof. Any system of gov’t that ignores human instinct is doomed to fail.
Our Founding Fathers didn’t expect their experiment to last as long as it has. They tried to take into account that people are people but they still figured out that no matter what, people are still involved and people are, generally, very selfish. Sure there are those who aren’t, but they’re the minority. Or don’t you drive a car?

Veeshir on May 3, 2007 at 4:10 PM

I feel no sympathy for Kevin as he is the one who allowed Digg to become infested with the ‘I Want Free Bread And
Circuses’ Diggerals and has again submitted to their will. These people, who have as members children below the age of 18, do not understand the concept of responsibility and thus do as they please in Kevin’s liberal wonderland without fear of reprisal.

Kevin made his buck and will soon get a real life lesson in consequences.

DannoJyd on May 3, 2007 at 4:27 PM

“Exit question–Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?”

Phew… I have this habit of reading articles and not noticing who posted them. I was thinking how could AllahPundit pose such a doltish question. I’m relieved to discover it was not AllahPundit.

Go on, Bryan. How about cluing us in on what you know about Libertarian ideals, then explain how they aide Copyright violation? If you can do that, I’ll apologize for calling you doltish.

FierceGuppy on May 4, 2007 at 2:42 AM

In general, that’s true. But presumably, there’s a model of HD-DVD player out there that uses this key to unlock the content of HD-DVD disks. If that key is revoked, the “lock” on all new HD-DVDs will no longer recognize that key, and those players will be unable to play the disks.

Well, that’s kinda tough.

The fact is, if you hard code keys into your firmware, you’re asking for trouble, ain’t ya?

I think that if there are hardware devices out there hardcoded, then whatever company “owns” this key was foolish for doing hardcoding. Furthermore, anyone stuck with one of these things should NOT buy another one.

Look, the fact is data is data is data and if you want to encipher it in some way to, say hide what you’re doing from others, and only give it to one person, fine. If you’re trying to lock down data, INFORMATION shall we say, then too bad when someone cracks the code.

It’s not against the LAW to do that.

Not yet.

What is against the law is sending out copyrighted material without giving credit, illegally copying movies, etc. If I make a copy of a MOVIE for instance, I do so because I want a back up copy and that’s what I use. Backups are kept in a place where floods, heat, fire, theft can’t bother them.

Do I give away such things? Nope. They are mine. If I spend 30 bucks on a dvd then I’m damned well gonna back it up and if I have to crack codes to do it, I will. Tough on the maker.

The fact that someone posted a code, over and over isn’t really the big deal though.

The fact that Digg caved in to a bunch of losers, hackers, pirates and creeps is the real story here. Terrorists win, when you give in.

That’s what happened here.

Rick Donaldson on May 4, 2007 at 9:57 AM

That is like having a drug company manufacture a drug to cure cancer and them not get it patented, they just claim it is a trade secret and never have to have it go to the generic market.

Tim Burton on May 3, 2007 at 1:00 PM

There is a recognized, and RECOGNIZABLE, difference between a trade secret involving a strictly retail product, and one involving a humanitarian product, and the copyright laws are in place to do as you suggest. If someone crafted a drug that cured cancer, the original creator could always profit from its production, but he couldn’t keep it secret from public use.

Freelancer on May 4, 2007 at 10:59 AM

This is an issue of fair use vs. Clinton’s worst action in office: the DMCA. I have a right to make a personal copy of an HD-DVD, or to transform that HD-DVD into other formats (like an iPod movie). There is a court-recognized legitimate reason for making a copy of a piece of media I legitimately own.

What has been made illegal by the DMCA is for anyone to circumvent copy protection (read: copy hindering) or to facilitate someone else’s circumvention. This grants to IP owners the ability to take away the fair use rights of the consumers of their IP products. This would be like S&W selling you a “self-defense-proof” gun that the company only wants you to use for hunting. If you used it in legitimate self-defense, they could claim that you illegally circumvented their “self-defense-proofing,” despite the fact that self defense is a legal action (indeed: a protected Constitutional Right).

The law is flawed, as it gives companies legal backing to lock consumers out of the legal fair-use of a product they have purchased. We wouldn’t stand for a car whose oil can’t be legally changed by the user — why do we stand for movies that can’t be backed up, or computers that can’t be made to run software of our choosing?

The HD-DVD number in question isn’t a copyright issue or even an trade secrets issue (as the number wasn’t discovered through an illegal theft or leak… the number existed within a consumer product, as it has to for HD-DVD players to play HD-DVD discs). The number is simply the key that allows people to exercise their fair use rights. Media companies don’t want fair use. They want a scratched HD-DVD to mean another $29.95 in their pocket. They want you to pay another $29.95 if you want to watch your HD-DVD on your iPod. The DMCA enables companies to restrict your rights. Ergo the revolt.

Look, the fact is data is data is data and if you want to encipher it in some way to, say hide what you’re doing from others, and only give it to one person, fine. If you’re trying to lock down data, INFORMATION shall we say, then too bad when someone cracks the code.

It’s not against the LAW to do that.

Actually, it is, under the DMCA. Utter bullshit, yes, but that’s the whole point here.

Is the Digg riot is proof that libertarian ideals don’t work in the real world?

You mean in the “real world” where politicians are bribed by corporations to make laws that take away individual liberties? In the real world where a company can sell me a computer that cannot legally run software of my choosing, or can sell me a movie that cannot be legally backed up or transformed into another form?

In the ideal libertarian world, such a law would never exist. Unfortunately you (and many others) are gulping the Kool-Aid and accepting the premise that corporations should be able to sell people locks that are illegal to open, even by the owner of the lock.

The libertarian ideal is this: if you buy something, you should be able to perform legal actions with it (such as making a personal backup) without the seller of the item having any control over your usage or the legality thereof. The Digg riot shows that people are willing to fight for that ideal. How is this a failure of libertarianism? It is the triumph of freedom over a law that attempts to take it away.

HD-DVD is at a fork in the road. On the one hand, the new-found ability to make backups and transformations of HD-DVD movies makes the format more appealing to consumers, and should increase its popularity, just as it did with DVD. But if they revoke this key, hundreds of thousands of HD-DVD players will be rendered useless. And who in their right mind would buy a piece of electronics that a company can break if they don’t like how others are using it? Self-destruct functionality in a consumer product with someone else’s finger on the red button? No thanks.

The sooner they realize that people will continue to unlock the locks they purchase, the sooner HD-DVD can become an accepted consumer format and make them mountains of cash. If they protect it too closely, it’ll wither and die as they (the controllers of the format) break it over and over. Every person whose HD-DVD player is broken by new encryption keys is a consumer who will go back to DVDs.

Mark Jaquith on May 5, 2007 at 9:06 AM