Joe Rogan’s character on Newsradio stated it well:
Dude, you can’t take something off the Internet… that’s like trying to take pee out of a swimming pool.
A high-profile case has again proven that point. In February 2007 the AACS processing key was disclosed. This key allows copy protection to be broken on HD-DVD and BlueRay media produced before April 23. The AACS is backed by heavyweights like IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sony, Disney and WB. They took an aggressive stance to have the content containing the key removed from the Internet. They sent cease and desist notices, and shut down sites that didn’t comply.
Enter Digg. Their first reaction was not to wage battle with the AACS, and they removed the content as requested. Digg CEO Jay Adelson, “Whether you agree or disagree with the policies of the intellectual property holders and consortiums, in order for Digg to survive, it must abide by the law.” That response only fueled the fire, and by late yesterday, the democratic Digg frontpage was filled with HD-DVD stories and comments that included the forbidden key. The site administrators couldn’t keep up, and the site was even unavailable for a time.
With a new day, came a new realization. Today Digg founder Kevin Rose posted, “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.”
The end result of course is that millions of people who probably didn’t care, are now aware of the AACS key that was trying to be squashed. It also raises an interesting point about Digg, and other community driven 2.o sites. Is anyone in control of these sites, or are they just along for the ride?