HD DVD code breakers unite to foil lawyers

2nd May 2007 | 23:00

HD DVD code breakers unite to foil lawyers

Code is common knowledge, making HD DVD climb-down likely

Whatever your stance on the issue of media companies limiting what we can do with their music and films that we purchase for our own use, it's unlikely that you'll side with the interest groups behind the HD DVD format, who are effectively trying to censor the entire internet over the issue we reported yesterday .

The story of the three-month old expose of the previously secret encryption keys that protect HD DVD discs hit the big time when Digg at first caved into legal pressure not to allow its users to discuss it, then later made a u-turn and sided with the same users it had previously censured. Now, however, word of the code has spread so rapidly, its containment is becoming a joke.

Legal blind alley

As reported in the IHT , the hexadecimal key is now so widely known precisely because of attempted censorship by the HD DVD Promotion Group any legal attempts to suppress it are guaranteed to fail.

The story reports musicians creating songs about the 32-letter code, altered variants on it achieving runaway popularity and, of course, the crowd-drawing success of the now-allowed stories on Digg.

Best of all may just be the t-shirt created by turning the hexadecimal numbers into colours and available to pre-order from an Australian website. Considering that the HD DVD authorities are unlikely to sue anyone wearing the shirt, the fiasco underlines that in the age of the internet, one thing's very certain - censorship simply doesn't work.

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