“If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.”

No, that quote isn’t from President Bush’s press statement today.  And it’s certainly not from Harry Reid.

It’s Digg.com’s founder Kevin Rose, forecasting possible doom for his high-profile Web 2.0 site over its decision to rescind an earlier decision to pull all posts that featured an HD-DVD hack:

In building and shaping the site I’ve always tried to stay as hands on as possible. We’ve always given site moderation (digging/burying) power to the community. Occasionally we step in to remove stories that violate our terms of use (eg. linking to pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites, etc.). So today was a difficult day for us. We had to decide whether to remove stories containing a single code based on a cease and desist declaration. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

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.

If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.

The “bigger company” to which he refers is a video licensing authority that enforces copyrights on HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs — the Advanced Access Content System consortium, which was working with the Motion Picture Association of America.  They sent cease and desist notes to other websites where the code was posted, including Google.  For a time yesterday, some of the sites complied.

Imagine a flood.  Imagine you want to stop the flood.  Imagine throwing seven pebbles into the flood and waiting for it to stop.

This from TG Daily:

Copies of the cease and desist letters started appearing on the web yesterday and as we’ve seen in so many previous cases it was “Game On!” for the hackers.  The processing key in its full hexadecimal glory  sprouted like a weed all over the Internet.  Users of popular websites like Digg and Slashdot thumbed their virtual noses at the MPAA by posting the key into the comments sections, often using decimal, binary and other permutations.  Some users have also been creative enough to make up a shopping list using the numbers, 9 oranges, 9 fruits, etc.

The leaking of the HD DVD processing key isn’t a complete doomsday for the high-definition movie industry because the key only affects some players and presumably the movie companies could push updates that would prevent copied movies from playing.

This might sound very familiar.  Some years back, when I was in PR, MPAA was a client, and our assignment was to support its litigation to stop spread of a DVD copy-protection code hack — the famous DeCSS.  Only a three or four sites existed then that would post the hack, but I was told there were kids walking around New York City with the hack code printed on their t-shirts.  Now…fuhgeddaboutit.

Imagine if you really wanted to stop this flood.  What would you use?  That’s what should  really worry us.  What kind of bill are the copyright owners’ lobbyists writing now to reflect this new world?


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