Is Digg’s Kevin Rose really defiantly standing up to the man, the other man, that is, in his now (in)famous rallying cry to his million strong band of Diggers of other people’s content: “If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying.”
Are Rose and partner Jay Adelson courageously leading a social media “Custer’s last stand” or are they deftly navigating the social Web tide?
The matter of 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0 has not played out as a principled one.
First, Adelson surrendered to fears of legal retribution, which threatened the existence of Digg. Subsequently, Rose did an about face, and surrendered to fears of user retribution, which also threatened the existence of Digg.
Round 1, Adelson:
I just wanted to explain what some of you have been noticing around some stories that have been submitted to Digg on the HD DVD encryption key being cracked.
YES, COMPLYING WITH INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW IS A GOOD THING, ESPECIALLY FOR A BUSINESS WHICH IS SOLEY DEPENDENT UPON THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF OTHERS FOR ITS LIVELIHOOD!
Round 2, Rose:
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.
Is that any way to run a business? Even a Web 2.0 one?
Is Digg really, even if later rather than sooner, on the “good” side now because it has apparently succumbed to the “will” of Digg’s citizens to disrespect the intellectual property of others?
Pornography, illegal downloads, racial hate sites…are STILL verboten at Digg, but antipiracy code is now on the recommended list?
How consistent is that with Digg’s own operating principles? In February, Rose once again reiterated the Digg anti-manipulation and gaming stance, for Digg:
Since the early days of the site, we’ve known that people try to game Digg, and since the beginning, we’ve developed tools to prevent it.
Typically, we see reports of attempts to manipulate Digg through a few techniques, such as organized sites (spikethevote etc.), a company or individual site attempting to pay top Diggers, and groups of users banding together to digg or bury stories.
Have people tried to do these things? Of course…and we expect this to happen. We’re not surprised that with the gaining popularity of Digg there would be some that would try to manipulate the system for a variety of reasons.
We strongly believe attempts to game Digg are ineffective.
What about attempts to manipulate and game intellectual property of others?
Shouldn’t Digg strongly believe in NOT aiding such attempts at its own Digg, by its own users?