Posted By RichC on May 2, 2007
Oh what tangled webs ‘get’ weaved … especially when messing with the power of the masses connected online … and elsewhere. The story begins with copy protection of a new high definition HD-DVD format — protection intended to prevent (or at least make it difficult) for pirated copies of movies to be duplicated from this new generation of DVDs. Their copy protection uses a cryptographic key of 16-hexadecimals to encrypt the data so that digital duplicate copies could not be made. Unfortunately … or fortunately depending on your position on your right to maintain back-ups of purchased HD-DVDs … someone leaked the key. It didn’t take long before social networking and “people submitted news sites” started to post this hexadecimal number … Digg.com probably being the most notable.
The story continued to unfold as the administrators at Digg were concerned about â€œthe owners of this intellectual property infringes their intellectual property rightsâ€ decided that it was in their best legal interest to remove the code from their site … although the details are not known if they were threatened by legal action as have other sites which published the key. It really didn’t matter since members and readers saw censorship and began creative approaches in continuing to release the ‘secret code.’ It mushroomed and the censorship/threat of legal action backfired on those wanting to protect the encryption. All forms of images and media content began relaying the code and it grew out of control like a “multi-headed Hydra from Greek mythology: Every time Heracles cut off one of the heads, two more sprang up in its place.”* It has now appeared about everywhere … the power of the people with a little help from something called the Internet! (thanks for the info SmokeStack)