Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Ok... time for another rant.

Yesterday was a very cool day for the internet. There are 2 sites that are remarkably popular news aggregator sites - Digg and BoingBoing - both sites i tend to frequent because, honestly, they're better at news that matters than CNN and Fox (big shock - i can generally pass on the Dannylyn stories tyvm).

So lets set the stage. A while back this programmer got upset that he'd bought DVDs with certain 'region' restrictions - and couldn't play his DVDs on his equipment. Now - why do DVDs have region restrictions? Because movies dont release at the same time all over the world - making 70mm celluloid prints is expensive - and recouping the cost by recycling old ones into the third world is standard practice. So this guy had a couple DVDs that wouldnt play on his machine. Now there are machines that will play all region content - so for the most part the argument that this is an effective control - is spurious... but it's what the entertainment industry has.

So this guy, through a reasonably simple method, extracted a decryption key that pretty much defeats all the DRM for DVDs. Game over. Billions of dollars of R&D to get to one annoyed guy, burning a couple hours in his basement, to turn it all into so much garbage. Welcome to the information age bozos.

So... a couple days back there was an interesting post about the AACS sending legal threats to those distributing the key in blog posts about the hack, including a blog run by a USC prof. At that point in time - there were about a hundred sites with the number, and details of how to perform the hack. Well - they weren't the only ones that got the cease and desist...

It got to DIGG. The owners of DIGG decided 'well, lets get in front of this before we get into trouble' and started deleting anything that had the code in it. Now DIGG is all about users determining what is news... it's community-driven news content... and the users got, well, unhappy. They upvoted garbage news stories by the dozens just to put the damned link up as many times as they could - there are now 36000 pages cached in google with the code - and rising. Finally - the founder of DIGG relented - realizing that it might well cost him his site - but that this was obviously the way it was going to go down, so he might as well fight the good fight.

Genies do not go back into bottles.

(ps... i saw spiderman 3 for sale in beijing 2 weeks before it premiered for 10 rmb... good luck jackasses)

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