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HD-DVD key fiasco is an example of 21st century digital revolt


It's the most circulated number of the week. Sixteen hexadecimal digits that unlock the wonder of most currently released HD-DVD titles from the surly clutches of the AACS revenue content protection system. Sixteen digits that have been posted in so many places -- and in many cases, removed only to be reposted -- that they're hard to avoid.

Cory Doctorow's class blog for his USC course, "Pwned: How everyone on campus is a copyright criminal" was served a DMCA takedown notice and, on the advice of counsel, removed the offending digits. They were posted to Wikipedia, then removed and locked from reposting. Then the diggstorm came. A slew of digg stories containing the forbidden digits have been posted, made the front page and been removed, only to start again.

Witness the modern equivalent of the 95 thesis' Martin Luther nailed to the door of Wittenburg church. We, digital citizens --commonly referred to by the vulgar term of 'consumers' -- have had enough of content lock-in. We've bought and re-bought entertainment media -- repackaged and regurgitated digital vomitus -- until we're blue in the face. We've been told time and time again that DRM is for our own protection, and we're finally and inconsolably fed up.

As Joe Rogan's character on Newsradio once quite accurately quipped, "Dude, you can't take something off the Internet.. that's like trying to take pee out of a swimming pool." The content providers have attempted to do exactly that, remove pee from the proverbial swimming pool that is the Internet and, as we've witnessed so many times before, they've failed miserably.

The bottom line remains, we as consumers, want our content free (as in Freedom) and if we don't get it, we'll take our content free (as in beer).

Tags: aacs, content protection, ContentProtection, drm, hd dvd, HdDvd, news

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