A Digg user posts a HD-DVD hack code that may work and all hell breaks loose. Digg pulls the story down on a cease and desist letter, Diggers revolt, blogs erupt and company founder Kevin Rose issues a mea culpa and says the company will take a lawyer hit if it has to.That's the summary of the latest events--outlined by Steve O'Hear, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes and an army of bloggers thankfully rounded up by Techmeme.
Now let's fast forward a bit. This revolution is going to have some longer term implications that are scary (depending on your point of view) and invigorating at the same time.
The Digg incident is scary for any traditional media outlet that thinks a Digg-like format is the future. Let's say USA Today evolves to become Digg-like. What would it do in the same situation? Corporations are way too lawyered.
But the whole fiasco is invigorating for Digg users. It's pretty clear who runs the show at Digg. As Michael Arrington notes the revolutionaries have won.
It's scary for the DMCA. Does it apply in this case? How are entertainment lawyers going to shut down a user mob? Let me think about this one for a bit--they can't. Lawyers may bug Digg, but good luck following up with all those users. Plagiarism Today has more on the DMCA.
It's invigorating for those that believe in free-flow of information. I like knowing this HD-DVD code is out there--even though I have no clue what to do with it. Wired reports that code has little meaning anyway.
It's scary for Digg's venture backers. What should a Digg investor think of this? If that person is thinking IPO someday this anarchy is going to be a great risk factor in the prospectus.
It's invigorating and scary if you're Rose. He's riding this Digg rocket ship (invigorating) but he isn't steering (real scary). Few leaders could handle that.