Liveblogging Digg's $#@*!storm

1:30, Diggs started to take longer to register . The digg box on one post started showing 11 diggs, when the post really had 56.
1:40 Our post is the top blog post when searching for digg in technorati tags, resulting in our first noticeable traffic ever from technorati. good thing we got reinstated in the directory for the 3rd time or so recently.
1:43 Serious slowdown after digging posts…more than 30 seconds.
1:44 Digg pwns sel: “Digg will be down for a brief period, while we make some changes.”
1:45 Listening to the “Oh Nine, Eff Nine” song.
1:47 Digg still down.
1:48 It is going to take them a really long time to remove all the stories with the code in it. And then there’s all those pesky users to ban.
1:49 Still down.
1:51 They are never going to keep that number out. People will add it as comments just for no reason. Congrats, MPAA, you’ve created a powerful new meme!
1:52 Just noticed that Kevin Rose, Digg founder, posted something two hours ago about how they’re effectively going to tell the MPAA to shove the C&D. It uses the AACS code as a headline so you know he is for reals, or maybe it’s just Digg-bait to increase his AdSense revenue.
1:59 People say it’s up. But they also say it’s timing out and hanging. Still down for us.
2:03 Now everyone sees “We’ll be back shortly.”
2:05 We remember enjoying the headline that said, “BREAKING: DELL DUDE LANDS ON MOOn!” With the subheading “also 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63.jpg.” Think it linked to a picture of Kevin Rose, a shovel, one of those terrorist creatures from Aqua Teen Hunger Force, and a graphical representation of the deadly number. Not quite the perfect Venn diagram of Digg user interests, but cut ’em some slack, they’re working on the fly.
2:08 This is a phat rap about the number.
2:09 Fatigue, thoughts of this post’s pointlessness, begin to settle in.
2:12 Posting more screencaps taken shortly before the crash, inside.
2:16 People say it’s up!
2:17 Hasn’t propogated to us yet. Apparently the top story is Rose’s, “I will never take this down.”
2:19 It’s back for us. Looks like the same crazy pile of hex stories. It’s well past the tipping point of where people are just clicking on, and submitting all, the hex code stories they can.
2:20 Wonder if Digg will credit their advertisers for all the page refreshes.
2:21 Again, Rose: “”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.”” Let’s see what kills Digg first, fighting the MPAA suit or no one wanting to read a site full of hex spam.
2:28 Submitted this post to Digg.


RELATED: A good explanation of what this is all about, over at BoingBoing.
PREVIOUSLY: Digg Goes Ape$#@*!







Edit Your Comment

  1. rugger_can says:

    1:51 Popcorn finishes popping and I settle down to watch a rap about it.

  2. rugger_can says:

    1:53 Digg’s back up.

  3. faust1200 says:

    2:07 Digg’s back down again. Back to you in the studio.

  4. mantari says:

    His new position, “okay, in the future we’ll fight, and we’ll go down with the ship if it leads to that” is just as bad. I think Kevin made the mistake of making and publishing a policy shift while still under a crisis.

    The problem stems from the fact that he bills his site as the ultimate democracy. Everything is self moderating, self regulating, democratic, etc.

    But people claim to have seen the following dictatorial actions performed:

    1] Deleting the key story
    2] Deleting the user who posted the key story
    3] Deleting a protest of the censorship (which is alleged to contain no keys in the story itself)
    4] Deleting the user who posted the protest

    This isn’t the first time that Digg has been caught doing some non-democratic things on the Sly.

    Now, there may be some controversy if Digg actually needed to delete the key, since it doesn’t appear to have been an actual DMCA takedown notice, but something that was confusingly similar looking.

    But, given the democratic nature of his site, Kevin needs more transparancy. When a dictatorial action is performed, it needs to be published. And when a dictatorial action is performed, it needs to be limited to minimum levels.

    I think if Kevin had followed those two principles, he would have had little or no problem. Going foward, I think that is the position he should adopt.

    I also think he should hire an outside consulting group to give him a profesional opinion (but also one that isn’t from inside the fish bowl) on the operation of his community.

  5. djanes1 says:

    I wanted to Digg this post and I couldn’t … words can not describe how low I feel right now.

  6. faust1200 says:

    Let’s see them DIGG their way out of this one. (smug sarcastic chuckle)

  7. ColinColin says:
  8. Dammit. What happened to the preview function?

    Here’s an even funnier one: violates their own takedown order.

  9. Xkeeper says:

    It’s funny refreshing the homepage and watching the Diggometers displaying semi-random changes (dropping from 7000 to 4000 and all around for seemingly no reason)

    Really, though, this whole thing’s been a nice trip.

  10. airshowfan says:

    This is even easier to put on a T-shirt than DeCss was…

  11. derami says:

    The full story including background, up-to-date information and editorial comments:

  12. CRSpartan01 says:

    Am I the only person on the face of the Earth who doesn’t check Digg??

  13. rugger_can says:


    you gotta be f***ing kidding me.. The guy from Allsux is saying that pirated copies of HD-DVD’s are making money for terrorist’s. Your kidding me. Are people that stupid? Seriously, is anyone stupid enough to buy that load of horse crap?

    He’s saying that the couple hundred HD-DVD’s and Blu-Ray disks with this encryption is financing global terrorism more then any other method. People pirating these things are NOT doing so for money. They are p2p sharing them via torrents and IRC for free. Its kinda asinine but who cares. They don’t make money off it. Its not a giant commercial enterprise. Seriously.

    This is by far the dumbest thing Ive ever heard come out of the tubes of the interwebs.

    “Posting a series of hexadecimals on the internet makes the terrorists win.”

    F***ing stupid people make my head hurt.

  14. Digg frightens me, but this story is way cool. The RIAA (and other corporations that promote DRM first, last, and in between) must be pissed the heck off.

    On a related note, I write reviews for this website, and I responded to my editor that I would love to have one of the new albums on this week’s list to review. He wrote back that the version he had was rights managed and that the record company would be sending me a “fresh” copy in about a week. They’re really shooting themselves in the foot, eh? When a reviewer can’t even get his hands on something to legitimately review?

  15. Red_Eye says:

    ok not picking a side here but from a programming standpoint isnt there anyone at digg capable of writing a regex to filter the #$#@#@$ alpha numeric string? It is a constant after all, regardless of how they break it up.

  16. Red_Eye says:

    @rugger_can: Haven’t you realized yet, anything illegal funds terrorists. Don’t you recall a few years back when they put out the anti-drug commercials that said dope funded terrorists? How about when they said illegal gambling and child porn did? Just wait next will be identity theft and shoplifting…..

  17. smith186 says:

    @rugger_can: The argument is that criminals either take the pirated versions off the intarweb or rip them themselves and then burn black-market copies which they then sell. The money then ends up with terrorists through trickle-down criminomics.

    Hey, it makes at least a little bit more sense that way – at least there’s actual money involved somewhere.

    I love that Kevin Rose quote though, telling the community what they were going to do like he had any choice about the matter. I hope the MPAA actually does sue digg – either outcome would be good for the internet as a whole, either less MPAA power or less digg.

  18. WhatThe... says:

    Well that was handled badly. I skimmed some of the comments and it looks like there are a lot of asshats on digg – some posts just to fling crap at each other. Although each post with the code is a violation of the terms of service for the site, instead of Kevin Rose trying to fight it and spare his investors and advertisers a messy legal battle, he bows and tries to become a martyr.

    It’s scary what happened on digg. It showcases the power of the anonymous user. It’s easy to hide behind a keyboard and type and ‘say’ things that one wouldn’t normally when during a face to face confrontation. I really don’t envy Kevin Rose at the moment (although he is younger than me and has more money) I would not want to be him over the next few months.

    AND I’m all for the take down of DRM – but I don’t think we should drag a good community and company down with us.

  19. rugger_can says:


    Sorry, it was just my bullshit meter blowing its fuse. I just have a hard time believing that people.. Well… believe this crap.

    People don’t realize that you have a higher chance (in terms of global population) of purposely killing yourself then you do of dying to terrorism.. or homocide.. or war.. combined.

    Its sad that otherwise intelligent people are willing to be spoon fed blatant misinformation like this.

  20. revmatty says:

    Digg is full of asshats, as WhatThe… notes. I use it as a news aggregator for interesting stories, but the comments are a good deal lower quality than on slashdot. Which is truly impressive.

    This did not used to be the case. A large reason for the early success of Digg was that the signal to noise ratio in the comments was far superior to that of slashdot.

  21. getjustin says:

    Oh NOES! Teh free speech is died!

    Funny how people are getting pissy about admins taking down stuff that they could be sued for. If you want free speech, put the hex on your own damn site so when the MPAA comes knocking, you’re held responsible. While I think the whole thing got blown up a bit much and it is just some numbers and letters, it could spell trouble in the future.

  22. Red_Eye says:

    @rugger_can: I agree. its why sites like mine and consumerist can have content so shhhh dont wake the sheeple!

  23. This is an incredible development.

    This story isn’t about censorship or protest. It’s not about good guys or bad guys.

    This is a story about rage and corporate ineptitude. This is a story about an industry that cares more about covering its own ass than it cares about taking care of its customers. The very first shot their customers had to hurt them, the customers took it. This consumer revolt is evidence that resentment over draconian licensing and DRM is reaching a fever pitch among consumers most likely to buy digital media both today and in the future.

    What should really terrify the industry, though, is that these diggers aren’t going to be in high school and college forever. Within ten years, their earning and buying power will be significant. Within twenty years, they’ll be able to enact political change either as voters or as candidates. The entertainment industry has minted a legion of men and women who despise them and who will only become more potent as time wears on.

    If only the AACS licensing authority had left well alone, this would be a non-story. Instead they’ve galvanized a resistance that will continue to haunt them.

  24. ZekeSulastin says:

    If the effect on Digg and the correlating effects on Wikipedia are any indication, Danilo, I highly doubt any of these people will have the maturity to get off their ass and get a job, let alone a decent paying one.

    What they failed to realize is that in the real world, there are real consequences for their actions. Sure, a legal case may have no merit, but until it is dismissed, lawyers have to be paid for (EFF notwithstanding, although their record is less than stellar). Call me crazy, but I highly doubt these users would actually do anything effectual in a true fight against the MPAA or RIAA: it’s all fun and games until its your own pocketbook. And if the xxAA DID win the case and got a per-instance payment from the number … congratulations, Diggers, you just screwed someone’s life over forever for your ineffectual crusade.

    I’ve also been following the posting of the number on Wikipedia. They’re doing their best to keep the number off their site due to their servers being in Florida and thus falling under the DCMA, and users cry some crap about 1st Amendment rights*, same as they did on Digg. To circumvent this, they’ve been spamming completely unrelated articles to try to keep admins from seeing it. The Wikipedia would be severely impacted by such a lawsuit, and it is well within their rights to prevent such an occurrence, as even though it may not appear right to do so, it is their legal responsability until the laws change.

    Is this the Internet Generation – a bunch of crybabies who whine like a two-year-old when things don’t go their way, and declare triumph from bringing a site completely down and attempting to ruin others? I fear for the future in ten or twenty years …

    *You may have freedom of speech, but you – or in this case, Wikipedia – also have responsibility for what you say. As posted above, if you care so much about it, put your ass on the line with your resources.

  25. rugger_can says:


    In june of 1776, 55 men commited the crime of high treason.

    This is a fact. However horrible their punishment they felt that for the betterment of their society this was a reasonable act.

    They themselves where not the only ones that would be subject to punishment had it ever “successfully” been carried out. Infact largely they did not suffer because of it.

    “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

    The long and the short. Sometimes, just sometimes, when enough people all agree that something is wrong, they must act. In this case they lashed out in rage in all directions, their fury targeting everything almost randomly. Digg was struck, so was Wikipedia. But so was the RIAA and the MPAA as well as the government.

    Sometimes laws HAVE to be broken inorder for a free and just society to prevail. If you have not learned that, then perhaps your democracy has failed.

  26. Mike Tyson's movie career says:

    @rugger_can: I still can’t wrap my head around these arguments. What right do people have in attempting to circumvent copyright law? What betterment of society will it provide? How exactly are the two named entities circumventing liberty by attempting to hang on to intellectual property?

    Additionally, your last post provides no counterpoint for Zeke’s post. His point was that these people posting the code everywhere are assuming no responsibility for this “revolution” thay are bandying about. In fact, they are setting up others to take the fall for them while they hide behind ‘net usernames. Those 55 people in 1776 did no such thing, and neither did those at the Constitutional Convention 11 years later. They all took their lives in thier hands with full knowledge of the possible consequences. Posting a code on a website which someone else is responsible for is not the same thing.

    For everyone:
    I’m no fan of the actions of the MPAA or RIAA, and I believe they routinely overstep their bounds on many issues. This, though, is not one. Copyright laws exist in a capitalist, democratic society to protect the capitalist, democratic society. It seems what everyone on Digg is calling for is a democratic, socialist society. Which is fine, except that you have to change that on the government side, not by fighting the corporate entities out there. This “revolution” is going after the wrong target.

  27. sam-i-am says:

    It’s not about pushy users or anything like that. It’s about how Digg censored a story, maybe justifiably, but failed to tell users why.

    If they were up front about what was going on from the beginning, they would have never had this problem. Instead they just looked like big brother banning people left and right and deleting stories.

    I’ll forgive them when they re-enable my account.

  28. rugger_can says:


    Ok. Counter point first.

    First off. Digg records every digg made, As well as every post made. It also tracks the IP address of every user who posts a story. It is these IP address’s that the RIAA and the MPAA uses to find people and sue their pretty pants off.

    Every user posting that information was infact taking a personal risk, although small it was there even if most where not aware of it.

    Second, opposition point.

    The people involved in the incident I used to draw a similar (albeit distant in scope) frame had people acting for the good will of others even though those actions in and of them selves posed equal and perhaps greater risk then the actions they set to change. Many people died as a result of the ensuing struggle as well many people have lost their lively hoods (and few their lives due to suicide) in this instance. Their decision (somewhat like Rose’s although I loath to compare him to these guys) was based upon the will of the people. They shouldered the burden for their “democratic nation”.


    I agree, the posters “lashed out in rage” attacking whatever they could in blind arrogance. Do I defend it, No. Am I saying that it ended up being for the greater good? Perhaps time will tell. I do feel that taking the stance to rally for the adhearance to a “law” that we believe to be wrong is akin to sitting idle and failing to properly move forth the agenda of the democratic process.

    “All good men are happy when they choose to be their own authors. Those who choose to have others edit their pathways, must live on the edge of another man’s sword.”
    -Julie Arabi

  29. Mike Tyson's movie career says:

    @rugger_can: Just one more question for my edification: which law is wrong? If it’s the “you can’t know these numbers, they are private” theory that I’ve seen out there, then yes, I agree that interpretation is wrong. If it’s “you can’t use these numbers, as doing so is a violation of copyright law”, then I don’t see the issue. Am I daft, or is there another component?

  30. Buran says:

    @ZekeSulastin: Without getting into debating this particular incident, I just want to point out that disobeying a law that one disagrees with is a valid form of protest. No one is being hurt or killed by this. The people believe that it is wrong for information to be censored and they believe that furthermore simple facts can’t and shouldn’t be suppressed.

    So, they react by spreading the given piece of information as widely as they can. It’s a tactic that’s worked other times in history, and it works because it’s simply impossible to find and kill/silence every single person who knows the fact in question if everyone who knows it tells as many people as possible.

    I’m not going to get into what I think about all this, but I will say that I do believe that fighting things you think are wrong is an admirable thing to do. I’m sure these people know the trouble they might get into, but they do what they do anyway.

    If you believed in something strongly enough, would you do the same?

    And who knows what great things might come about in future centuries as a result of people who did similar things?

  31. Zmidponk says:

    Buran, I heartily agree that disobeying a law that one disagrees with is a valid form of protest. However, in this case, that is irrelevant. You know why?


    The DMCA takedown notices have been filed simply in order to browbeat the sites in question into taking down the hexadecimal string in question. In fact, there has never been any precedent in law that a simple number is illegal, and no law categorically says this. The closest you can get is the so-called ‘illegal primes’ for the DeCSS DVD copy protection breaker, but even that is simply one side claiming these numbers are illegal, and the other side pretty much ignoring this claim – it has never been tested in a court of law. Yes, using this number to then go out and break the copy protection on HD-DVDs would be illegal, but simply displaying this number is not, especially considering that you still need a bit of programming know-how, and the right tools, to use this number to do break the copy protection.