updated 12:30 pm EDT, Fri May 4, 2007
HD DVD key backlash
The group behind the AACS copy-protection scheme is contemplating "legal and technical tools" for going after those exposing the key used on HD DVD discs, according to the BBC. The code made headlines on Wednesday, when after one Digg user submitted a Boing Boing story with the key, site staff complied with a removal request and began deleting posts and comments. The userbase fought back, flooding the site with the key through numerous new posts. Digg founder Kevin Rose has since agreed to allow the key, and accept any legal consequences.
These consequences may indeed be coming however, as the AACS group says posters "crossed the line" through their actions. "Some people clearly think it's a First Amendment issue," says AACS chair Michael Ayers. "There is no intent from us to interfere with people's right to discuss copy protection. We respect free speech.
"But," he adds, "a line is crossed when we start seeing keys being distributed and tools for circumvention. You step outside of the realm of protected free speech then." Ayers' organization has been actively tracking down everyone publishing the key, with a stated intention of taking "whatever action is appropriate."
The leaked key is also likely to be ineffective in the future. It was already removed from WinDVD prior to the Digg revolt, and although another playback program may still be exposed, the AACS group has already switched to a new DRM technique.