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May 3, 2007
Web 2.0 vs The Cartel
In the past it was fashionable to assert that the Internet treats censorship as damage and routes around it. In the current era we might say that "Web 2.0 treats censorship as inspiration and creates performance around it."
Witness the attempts by the AACS Licensing Authority to keep HD-DVD and Blu-ray cracks off the net. The censors and the crackers have waged a running battle that reached something of a peak this week, when a Digg entry containing the 09 F9 crack was posted. Digg received a quick DMCA takedown notice and away went the entry.
But Digg isn't a sole-author site. Its content, like that of many Web 2.0 sites, comes from its users. Those users were inspired by this act of censorship and simply bombarded Digg with submissions containing the key sequence. According to Eric Bangeman in Ars Technica:
For a few hours, Digg's front page consisted of little more than a succession of links to the hexadecimal HD DVD key.
A good Web 2.0 site listens to its creators and Digg is no exception. Within hours the site issued a pledge that it would not kill stories or comments containing the key. I don't think it's possible to have a clearer distinction between the old (Cartel) business model and the new (Web 2) model. The old model treats customers as enemies to be censored, sued, and publicly pilloried. The new model treats customers as valuable assets, key contributors, and policy makers.
Now let's see which model wins in the marketplace, shall we?
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