When Digg.com’s owners deleted a post containing the hex code to crack the encryption on HD-DVDs, and banned the user who posted it, they started a full-blown Web 2.0 riot. The Diggbats didn’t like it one bit that they were being prevented from stealing copyrighted material, and created post after post, each getting thousands of votes and reaching the front page. It was a virtual lynch mob: Geeks Will Not Be Silenced: Breaking: Digg Riot in Full Effect Over Pulled HD-DVD Key Story.
This morning Digg’s Kevin Rose has surrendered to the mob, and posted the code at his own blog, with a ludicrous explanation that amounts to endorsing the thugs:
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?” Trying to do … what? Enable illegal activity?
As Rose is one of the owners of Digg.com, a case could be made that this is executive malfeasance; capitulating to a lynch mob is bad enough, but by posting the code himself he’s putting his own company in danger and exposing it to legal action.
UPDATE at 5/2/07 9:22:25 am:
UPDATE at 5/2/07 10:31:29 am:
I’ve had this discussion so many times with so many people that my eyes start to glaze over when it comes up.
You either respect the concept of intellectual property, or you don’t.
A whole lot of people don’t even know the concept exists.
Some of this is healthy; challenges lead to stronger systems. But the troubling part here is that, in way too many cases, the insistence on “fair use” is coupled with a thuggish and ignorant disregard for the intellectual property of the creators of the work.