NY Times: How a Number Became the Latest Web Celebrity. A throng of tech-savvy Internet users have banded together over the last two days to publish and widely distribute a secret code used by the movie industry to prevent illegal copying of high-definition movies. The broader distribution of the code may not pose a serious threat to the movie industry, because only sophisticated technologists can use it to tailor the decryption software capable of getting around the copy protection on Blu-ray and HD DVD discs. But its relentless spread has already become a lesson in mob power on the Internet and the futility of censorship in the digital world.
The “code” is a number, and calling Digg.com’s users a mob utterly misunderstands what’s going on here. I deeply admire what Kevin Rose at Digg is doing by refusing to keep removing the number as Hollywood has demanded. He posted today:
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 insanity of the legal framework on which the film industry is relying here has never been clearer. When will Congress figure it out?