I still don’t know. It’s easy to believe in unlimited corporate hubris, but it’s just as easy to believe in unlimited corporate foolishness. What’s more, it’s possible that some of the players were along for the ride, while others had a very precise understanding of the stakes.
What were those stakes?
Well, for starters, how about the definition of “the family.”
That’s what the movie studio executive said he wanted to create.
It was my first day at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. One of our supporters had been at the National Association of Broadcasters show in Las Vegas the week before; coming back through the Convention Center late at night, he stumbled on an “open meeting” being held by the Motion Picture Association of America’s Copy Protection Technical Working Group. It was an “open meeting” in the sense that anyone who knew about it was welcome to attend, but they didn’t actually tell anyone it was happening, and they held it in the dead of night.
On the spur of the moment, that supporter decided to attend. What he heard was genuinely bizarre, and would have been absurd if it wasn’t so alarming.
That dead-of-night NAB meeting’s purpose was to announce the formation of a new interindustry consortium: the Broadcast Protection Discussion Group (BPDG), which would hold its inaugural “open meeting” the following week, at an LAX airport hotel that would be convenient for tech reps who flew in from Silicon Valley and for studio and TV reps based in LA.