The May 1st Digg Rebel After-Math

Posted May 6, 2007

“This is the first round and will not be the last.”  These are the tough words by Michael Ayers, the chair of the Advanced Access Content System (AACS).  Those words symbolize the legal action that the AACS is already taking in preventing the spread of the HD-DVD software key that removes copy protection.

Bloggers have been receiving legal threats and for the most-part, web publishers have been complying in the removal of the key.  However, in a simple Google search of the actual key number, there are over 700,000 results.

Digg’s Role
“An interesting new twist” is the way that Myers described the massive distribution of the HD-DVD software key on  On May 1, thousands of Digg users rebelled against the management decision of the company to remove news stories that contain the key in it.  These thousands of users submitted stories with the key in it and buried stories that did not have the key in it.

This lead to HD-DVD key showing up on the homepage of  Showing up on the homepage of epitomizes a massive number of hits at a single time to the point where servers may not be able to maintain such bandwidth use.

News stories or blog posts that show up on the homepage of can sometimes result in a server overload that takes the page offline.  This is known as the “Digg effect.”

Free Speech?
Opposition of the AACS’ believe that the legal action taken violates the First Amendment’s freedom of speech rights.  The AACS said that they respect the right of individuals to criticize the AACS and digital rights management software.

“But a line is crossed when we start seeing keys being distributed and tools for circumvention. You step outside of the realm of protected free speech then,” stated Ayers.

Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht plan on responding to the HD-DVD stories on next week’s Diggnation.