Just A Number

There’s been some interesting things happening on teh Intarwebs.

A while back, a guy who was pissed off that he couldn’t play his lawfully-purchased HD-DVDs on his Linux system due to a failure in the anti-copying system, did a bit of hacking and discovered a 16-digit hexadecimal code that unlocks the copy protection. He publicized the code on the internet, as a “fuck you” to BS antipiracy hysteria and crippleware.

The story would have gone away quietly. After all, the code requires specialized tools and technical knowledge to implement. It’s not something that Joe User is going to be able to use to bring about the End of Civilization As We Know It.

Yes, it would have gone away….except the AACS Licensing Authority, which controls the anti-copying technology underlying HD-DVD, sent out hundreds of legal threats, cease-and-desists, and nastygrams to sites that had posted the key, claiming violation of the DCMA over posting of a number which they own.


Sad thing is, the way the DCMA is written, it’s true. This is the purest example yet of why the DCMA needs to go. The MPAA and RIAA have pushed this through as law, and now we live in a country where a sixteen-digit number is illegal to possess, to discuss in class, or to post on a website.

Funny thing, though.

Since the legal threats where sent, people all over the internet have been posting the number. People have posted YouTube videos with the number. They’ve written jingles about the number. Most have just posted the numbers themselves. Over 590,000, according to the most recent Google search.

So much for putting the genie back into that particular bottle….


Enough with corporate feudalism. You can’t own a number.

9 Replies to “Just A Number”

  1. I’m with you on corporate greed and all, but would you be okay with someone putting your social security number all over the internet? It’s just a number, after all.

  2. Nice strawman argument. Apples and Oranges, my challenged little friend. I don’t claim to “own” my SSN.

  3. Actually, it would be illegal, the government owns your SSN and it can only be used for official USA business. Every credit card company that asks you for it is actually breaking an unenforced law.

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