The founders of Digg.com – which has been rocked by an unprecedented user revolt over the release of an HD-DVD decryption code – accepted sponsorship from the organization behind HD-DVD last year. (See also our exclusive new report for the latest news on this issue, and our latest story, which describes how Digg has seen a huge rise in readership during the HD DVD furore ).
Episodes of the DiggNation video show were sponsored by the HD DVD Promotion Group. DiggNation is produced by Revision3, a company run by Digg founders, Jay Adelson and Kevin Rose. Rose is also a co-host of the DiggNation show. The image below shows the HD DVD logo displayed at the beginning of one such episode.
During the past 24 hours, Digg administrators have apparently deleted dozens of stories which included references to the HD DVD decryption code. These included one story which appeared poised to become the most popular ever seen on Digg, with almost 16000 votes within 20 hours. Administrators have also apparently begun deleting stories criticizing their actions, and also banned numerous members – according to angry statements posted by Digg users on the site and elsewhere.
The 32 digit hexadecimal code can be used to make copies of HD DVD movies by using software such as BackupHDDVD. A number of websites and individuals have reported that they have been sent legal notices ordering them to remove the code from their servers. These notices have come from US lawyers representing the Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator LLC (AACS LA). Digg itself has not yet issued any statement on the case or its legal situation (but see updates 2 & 4 below).
Digg, one of the world's fastest growing social networking sites, recently celebrated its one millionth user account – although the number of active contributors is believed to be considerably smaller than this figure.
All Digg content is submitted by users, who then vote for the stories they like. The company has made much of the community-administered aspect of the site. However, some users are now complaining that the recent events cast doubt on this.
Update 1: Edited sentence referring to Digg as most popular social networking site - this was incorrect - and clarified number of active users - thanks to visitors who pointed out these errors.
Update 2: Digg co-founder Jay Adelson has now made a comment regarding Digg's position on the HD DVD code, at the official Digg blog.
Update 3: Although this story was submitted to Digg about 9 hours ago and now has more than 400 votes from users, it was apparently prevented from reaching the front page (according to user comments at Digg and below). In addition, some are claiming that Texyt.Com has been banned from Digg story submissions (we'd appreciate if anyone can confirm or refute this claim - OK it's not true, thank you HolgerC). Rudd-o.com and CJMillisock.com, two of the websites that first broke this news on Digg both remain banned from Digg.
Update 4: Digg's Kevin Rose has now posted a blog comment announcing the reversal of Digg's policy on publication of the HD DVD code. As yet, Rose and Adelson do not appear to have explained the removal of numerous stories critical of Digg which did not post or link to the HD DVD code. They also do not appear to have discussed the HD DVD sponsorship they received.
Update 5: Despite its recent public relations disaster, Digg still isn't telling the whole truth about its relationship with the companies behind HD DVD, read more in our exclusive new report.
Update 6: See our latest story: Digg readership doubled by HD DVD fiasco