The Uncontrollable Spread of Information

by Dan Blank on May 2, 2007

Now that the web gives a voice and control to the average user, the question some larger sites and content owners are having is: can they take it back?

It seems that a story was posted to Digg.com that shared the “processing key” for HD-DVD discs. Basically, a long string of letters and numbers that is somehow useful for cracking HD-DVD discs, so people can copy them. The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) pressured Digg to remove the post, which it did. The Digg users revolted posting hundreds more stories on the topic. Digg then relented, saying:

“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.”

Slashdot makes the point that even if the MPAA tries to get the numbers removed from a site, users can easily distribute it via comments. A huge comment thread ensues on that site.

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