Caught between the court room and ‘the intelligent mob’

Front page of the LA Times yesterday, the Digg website is facing a revolution because it tried to ban its users from recommending an illegal code that helps people pirate copies of online movies.

Lawyers for a consortium of entertainment companies warned that posting the code violated their intellectual property rights. So Digg, which generates revenue by selling ads, began removing any mention of the code and deleting the accounts of members who posted it.

“In order for Digg to survive, it must abide by the law,” Digg Chief Executive Jay Adelson wrote on the site Tuesday afternoon, adding, “We all need to work together to protect Digg from exposure to lawsuits that could very quickly shut us down.”

That didn’t sit well with Digg’s libertarian-leaning users, who fill the site each day with commentary and links to stories about new technology, politics and a wide range of other topics. One particularly hot topic on the site has been the media industry’s practice of wrapping movies, TV shows and songs in anti-piracy software.

Members accused Digg of kowtowing to Hollywood.

It backed down on Tuesday, and let the postings continue, but:

Bernoff, the analyst, said that the 25-person company might be appeasing its members in the short run by capitulating, but that it risked a larger legal battle that could financially wipe out the company down the road.

  • Why is there and advertisement for a “fart button” on this page?

    I expect more from slugger.

  • qubol

    really though, what a pile of shite. what most people object to here is not being able to type:

    09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

    99% of the bloggers and readers who see this don’t even know what it means never mind what to do with it. To suggest that Digg might have to pay a fine for each user who accessed it on their site is a joke. Quiet simply this is a anti-censorship protest. Digg or no digg and regardless of any potential courst action the movie studios have already lost this one.

  • The Dubliner

    Microsoft is fond of making the claim that privacy of their software hinders research and development of new software. This may be true for small software companies but it isn’t true for Microsoft, who announced record profits of around 5 billion dollars for the first three months of the year. Essentially, the argument is that privacy of Microsoft software “hinders” their profits by limiting them to a mere 5 billion for a three months work, thereby preventing them from making 10 billions for three months work that is needed to ensure development of new buggy software. Not that I advocate piracy of major software companies, but I’m not concerned about it.