The Number That Would Not Die

09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0

Those 16 pairs of letters and numbers are causing a furore on the net.

They happen to be the key to cracking HD-DVD players. With these numbers it becomes possible to copy High Definition movies. And the people who make the HD-DVD players are furious that the code got out. After the AACS sent lawyers letters to people publishing the code on the web demanding they take it down, thousands upon thousands of people did the same – and now the code that would have been known to a few technology hackers is known widely.

If you have an HD-DVD player, you will need to update it to play new movies. This is going to happen over and over again.

Copy protection is going nowhere if the leak of such info is all it takes to break it. Those 16 pairs above are important – they symbolise the futility of the copyright industry – an industry that is nothing to do with protecting the rights of creators, and everything to do with protecting a publishing culture that requires hundreds of middlemen that add little value to the products we buy. Most producers of culture earn near to nothing for their work. Some make enough to work solely on creative work. And some become Bono. Does the publishing industry make this possible?

We will see – because that old model is almost dead – those 16 digits are on the headstone…


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