The Internet Heist (Part III)

We are family

The anti-piracy “You Wouldn’t Steal A Car” title-card, modified to read “You Wouldn’t Steal the Future.”
FACT (modified)

Note: This is Part III in a series; Part I is here, Part II is here.

Even today, I can’t tell if the entertainment execs and their tech collaborators that I sparred with in the DRM wars were brilliant schemers or overconfident fools.

When these men — almost all men — set out to create laws that would give their corporations a collective veto over which programs all computers could run, and which real-world data could be captured by computers, were they really doing it all for the sake of controlling how we watch TV? Or did they grasp just how this power over our digital tools would translate into control over our lives in an increasingly digital era?

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.”

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