LAWFUEL – The Law Newswire – ‘Forbes’ reports on attempts by major tech companies to strong-arm Digg into removing a commercially sensitive code.
A Web user and his information are like a grizzly and her cub. Come between them, and you’re likely to get mauled. That’s what a group of heavyweight tech and entertainment companies learned last week when they tried to keep the lid on the code that could help break the electronic locks on HD-DVDs.
A consortium of companies such as Disney, Microsoft and IBM, who have invested in the disc format, responded with a cease-and-desist letter, trying to strong-arm the site’s owners into removing the code.
Digg’s administrators cooperated; its users didn’t. Crying censorship, they staged a digital riot, covering Digg’s pages with links to the banned digits, printing them on T-shirts and immortalizing them in a song that’s been played on YouTube more than 200,000 times.
Thanks to Digg’s rebels, the HD-DVD encryption code has become another victim of the “Streisand effect,” an increasingly common backlash that occurs when someone tries to muzzle information on the Web. When the Streisand effect takes hold, contraband doesn’t disappear quietly. Instead, it infects the online community in a pandemic of free-speech-fueled defiance, gaining far more attention than it would have had the information’s original owners simply kept quiet