America Diggs its Lawyers

May 9th, 2007 at 1:56 pm by Mark
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

     By now, most everyone has heard about what happened at Digg… but in case you haven’t…

     The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) started sending Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) requests to Digg, whose user-supported community were giving kudos to some little cyberpunks who decided to post Cracks which would allow users to steal licensed content from HD-DVD movies.  These DMCA requests merely asked Digg to take down links to the crack-codes, which their community users had posted.
     Users on Digg revolted as the company began complying with the DMCA requests, and posted thousands upon thousands on links to the illegal material.  Eventually, Digg was forced to concede to the mutiny, as it put an enormous amount of pressure on the dotcom’s small number of owners.

     Digg shouldn’t’ve had to exhaust their resources trying to fight this stuff.  And this is the downfall of user-supported communities on the Internet… And the users who think it’s a matter of “free and protected speech” are actually just a bunch of thugs.
     There, I said it.
     And I’m right.

     Let’s think of it this way:
     Some guy is standing at your local Mall passing out keys that fit the front door of your office, along with a flyer that has your Alarm code on it.  Is that illegal?  Yes.
     The same guy goes and puts your office key and Alarm code on the bulletin board at a local University.  Is that illegal?  Yes.

     But if he went home, and posted the information on the Internet, along with a precise method to guarantee that you could create that same office key using materials you already own, then some asshat Lawyer would claim that it’s protected, free speech.  And that is completely wrong, and defies all logic.
     So I have to ask … What’s the difference between a guy doing any of those three things, and passing out “key” to crack an HD-DVD movie?

     There is no difference.  It is illegal.  It has been illegal.

     And anyone who helps the guy do it?  Aiding and abetting.  That’s been illegal for a few hundred years.

     But money talks… You can guarantee that right now, over this controversey, a bunch of Lawyers will get together with a plan to make money by setting ridiculous precedents, becoming experts and what can only be called bullshit.

     It’s happened before.  For instance…
     It was illegal to trade child pr0n.  However, a lot of people felt it was okay to do it via the Internet, and had Lawyers prove their case.  The overwhelming excuse by Lawyers was, “It’s the Internet — it’s not real.”
     Finally, a bunch of other Lawyers got together and decided to make a law against “trading child pr0n on the Internet.”  Did we need that law, when “trading child pr0n” was already illegal?
     It was a way to make a bunch of Lawyers a pile of free cash from an unsuspecting public who felt that giving Lawyers and lobbyists some money was the only way to make it end — instead of starting a grassroots campaign to enforce the existing laws that made trafficking child pr0n illegal.

     It really sucks that people won’t realize that.

     If you call someone and threaten their life, it’s illegal.  If you do it over the Internet, it’s illegal.
     If you have a restraining order against someone and they harrass you, it’s illegal.  Even if they do it over the Internet, it’s illegal.

     Why do we keep letting pedantic Lawyers tell us none of this stuff is real?

     Tell your Representatives: if it’s illegal in real life, it’s illegal on the Internet.  This kind of Legal seperation has to stop!

     Unless it’s between two consenting adults…

     [ Maybe I’ve watched too much Penn & Teller ]

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10 Responses to “America Diggs its Lawyers”

  1. Monty Says:

    And now the ridiculous hacks over on BoingBoing are up in arms because the key is copyrighted and they are yelling “You can’t copyright a number!” Um, why? You can copyright the words “Coke adds life.” Words! You can’t copyright words! Boy howdy. What about “05” for Fubu? Can’t copyright that number? Dingleberries!

  2. Jason Says:

    I think that more people than you give credit to see that it is illegal whether it is on the internet or not. The only problem is that even these people see that the chances of there ever being consequences are practically non-existent. Whether we like to admit it or not, humans have a natural desire to rebel, and this HD-DVD crack was the perfect outlet. They spammed the key because they knew that with a million other people doing it, there was no chance that they would be singled out. There is no way to condone the collapse of the Digg administration to the will of unruly mob, especially since they are the ones who will be singled out. It is sad that Kevin Rose at Digg decided to try and keep face with the more childish members of his community, whereas if he had stayed strong, Digg may have gained a reputation as a responsibly run news community.

    It strikes me as amusing that if a reporter had a potentially damaging bit of information about any of those members, they would probably file a law suit to get the information stifled. Of course, THEN it wouldn’t violate freedom of speech. It’s the same concept with the HD-DVD key.

    Besides, how many of those posters even knew what to do with that key?

  3. Mark Says:

    As far as I’m concerned, Internet Service Providers and Community Supported Websites are only responsible for their user’s content and personally identifiable information as much as J. C. Penney’s is for every customer in its store at a given time. Which is — they aren’t. Imagine the chaos that would ensue if J. C. Penney decided to write down every damn person’s ID and claim, “Anything that happens in here, we’ll take the rap for!”

    Too many people do see a problem with the latter, and not the former.

    And what really chapps my ass is the fact that somewhere, some Lawyer is out there conniving, attempting to sue Digg, for something that they had no control over.

  4. Dan Says:

    “Finally, a bunch of other Lawyers got together”

    Hehe….reminds me of an old joke based on the topic at hand: Lawyers

    “How many lawyers does it take to roof a house?”

    “Depends on how thin you slice them”


  5. Mark Says:

    ROFLMAO … Nice one.

    Monty: boingboing is up in arms? Probably smoking too much of the bongbong. Damn dirty hippies…

  6. GZ Says:

    Excellent analogy!

    I was not aware that the AACS key could be used to unlock doors at the local mall, or disable my alarm code, thus putting personal and property safety in direct danger. “That’s amazing! I have the same combination on my luggage!”

    For some reason, I never associated personal danger and real theft with these codes. I thought that in order to use the AACS key, you would actually have to use it… on actual physical media. How can you steal content you already have?

    But your excellent analogy has me thinking otherwise. Giving someone a key to allow them to access their own media in a way that they see fit is the same category as harassing and threatening people. Gotcha. While you’re at it, I think you should expand the argument to include terrorism and “saving the children.” Those are great ways to evoke a response without actually having to deal with the true nature of, well, any subject.

    Wait, I can see you typing something already. It *could* be used for piracy and theft of intellectual property! AMIRITE?

  7. Mark Says:

    Yeah, you’re right. I still think you’re a whiney little Criminal.


    Federal Law made it illegal knowlege. Violating that law in protest is still violating the law.

  8. Jason Says:

    I have to back Mark up on this one. Whatever your argument against it, it’s illegal. Bottom line. You might think it’s a stupid law or you might think it’s a great law, but until that law is repealed… well it’s still what you have to abide by. Whether or not you actually do is another story, and there probably won’t be consequences in this case.

  9. GZ Says:

    I never stated it wasn’t illegal.

    I was commenting on your shitty analogies.

    Making the statement that something illegal … is in fact illegal doesn’t show much depth of thought, and isn’t useful.

    Bad laws don’t go away until they are challenged. Do you think the DMCA is good?

  10. Mark Says:

    Funny, some people didn’t think it was a “shitty analogy.” Personally, I think you’re only saying that because the overall idea disagrees with yours.

    There is a time and place to challenge a law. Acting like thugs and putting a Digg in a position where they have to exhaust resources, time and money isn’t the way to do it.

    If you wanna challenge the law, YOU put up a website with the code, and YOU take the heat for it. And do it on YOUR OWN server rather than someone else’s.

    Acting like a whiney little kid, putting an innocent third party in the way (Digg), and expecting them to fight your battles for you?

    That’s childish. Pathetic. Weak.

    Protest correctly. I’ve done my part. Have you?

    No, because you’re just another anonymous pussy, wasting your time bitching instead of doing anything actually useful. AMIRITE?

    And if I’m not, then I invite you to PLEASE prove me wrong and comment again.