300 remixed by Action Datsun
On May 2nd (yesterday to some of you), someone posted the processing key to crack the copy protection on an HD-DVD on Digg.com, which got pulled soon after. As iJustine reported, “[o]nce the web community got wind of of the censorship, every-single article that ended up on the front page of Digg contained the string of numbers. Some in form of text, photos and even linking over to videos.”
So remember kids, don’t share what some Digg users have started calling the Awesome New Cheat Code: 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0
Woah, and double woah thanks to everyone quick with their “Command-Shift-3″s… just take a look at this Digg screenshot by Matthew Grill. Flickr’s awesome for finding how funny we can be about censorship.
So what do I think?
Totally reminds me of the time when DVDs got DeCSS-ed by Norwegian programmer Jon Lech Johansen. DeCSS is a computer program capable of decrypting content on a DVD video disc encrypted using the Content-Scrambling System (CSS). Heck, fans even started making T-shirts with the “secret” CSS algorithm, which came under legal fire.
To me, all forms of DRMs (Digital Rights Management) are like the door of a house. These doors only let people with the right key in. Problem is, unlike normal houses you and I live in, these digital houses are really really popular with everyone. So if someone wants to come in, it’s only a matter of time when someone will. Security is a state of mind and nothing else.
For some time already, I’ve seen Blu-Ray rips as well as HD-DVD rips appear on file sharing sites, mind you not some cheap analogue rip but crystal clear digital ones. Being HD resolution means sharper than DVD video content for all, including those of us who have no access to HD video playback devices (e.g. high-cost, region-encoding).
What’s the better solution to this?
If it’s to combat piracy, then here are my three quicksilver rules: 1. Be affordable, 2. Don’t be device-biased, 3. Be convenient (sell fast downloads). What do you think?
UPDATE 1: The Reddit community has an interesting discussion on how the processing key to circumvent HD-DVD was found…
UPDATE 2: Lucian of Web.sg shares his take on this and reminds us of how user-generated content isn’t free (i.e. the community can turn against you).