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Is Linking Protected by Free Speech? DIGG'ers Tell Copy Protection Nazis Where to Shove It

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When copy protection SS police told the management at digg.com to pull a link to an article on how to break copy encryption, the management caved, to avoid litigation (knowing the costs and ag this can cause, we sympathize with them.) They pulled the link.

But digg.com is one of those mythical web 2.0 communities-- you know, the ones where the members play a role, where bottom up democracy is a hallmark. The million plus diggers at digg.com dug in their heels and sai, clickwise, "no way." They started reposting the links-- so much that the servers were overwhelmed and 404 errors started popping up.

THE REGISTER, a tech news site, reported

"Much of Digg's audience, heavy on male college students and internet workers, saw the move as an act of censorship. Their response was to repeatedly re-post links, and vote them back up to the site's front page.

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Pleading for the Digg hive mind to practice self-moderation, CEO Jay Adelson responded on the company blog at 1PM Pacific Time: "We all need to work together to protect Digg from exposure to lawsuits that could very quickly shut us down."

Diggers continued their revolt, however, overloading the site with the thousands of places where the encryption code can easily be found online, until servers started spouting 404 errors and moderators finally gave up trying to control the rabble about eight hours after Adelson's plea.

Founder Kevin Rose told users: "So today was a difficult day for us. We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code.

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"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."

Digg boasts more than a million Diggers, and has remained light on advertising and sponsorship, despite its veneration by the business press as a poster child for the San Francisco web 2.0 hysteria."

Here's an example of some of the links that appeared on digg.com in response to the censorship. (Note, by placing the links on our site, we're susceptible to a contact from these new censorship menaces.

Google & blogs issued with AACS Cease & Desist

Following the wide spread publicity of the AACS hack, especially with working out the HD DVD processing key, the AACS LA has started sending out Cease and Desist letters to various blog sites as well as the search giant Google for publishing the key to simply linking to the Doom9 threads about the crack. More…

 

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Now, the organization that threatened Digg.com, t he Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator (AACS LA) is actually a consortium of some of the biggest copyright holders-- IBM, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sony, Disney, Warner Brothers.

I don't like the idea of a bunch of transnational corporations telling a website which articles they can link to. Linking is definitely a form of speech. I fear that this concept might be challenged. But let's think about this. Twenty years ago, if I wanted to tell you about an article I liked, I'd call you, cut it out and mail it to you, or read it to you. Ten years ago, I'd email a copy of it to you, or a link to it, to you. I was sending out links, lots of links to my friends and colleagues. Then, I started posting them to a website, my website, OpEdNEws. Now, people use links routinely as a way to share information and ideas. They routinely send the link, not the article. Digg helps people to find articles of interest.

So, if copy protection nazis try to prevent people from linking to information, if they try to bully website owners to pull links-- are they engaging in censorship that threatens first amendment rights? You bet they are, in my humble opinion.

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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