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Censorship backfires: thanks to MPAA takedown notice “illegal number” becomes popular on digg.com

photo of valentin spirik

valentin spirik
2nd May 2007


The Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) recently sent takedown notices to sites mentioning a key that can be used to circumvent the copy protection of the new HD-DVD format.

Digg.com frontpage stories featuring the key disappeared and accounts were suspended. The result was a user revolt and around May 1st, 2007 almost every story on the digg frontpage featured the “illegal number”.

Users found all kinds of creative ways to mention the hex key, be it in form of a website’s URL, a myspace user profile or in an avatar’s greyscale image.

After a long day digg’s Kevin Rose gave in an posted the number himself in this blog post:

“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.”

Here the story on Slashdot and the YouTube video Digg Users Revolt 5/1/2007:

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