My first day on the job at EFF was at the first meeting where they were negotiating the Broadcast Flag, a set of rules for restricting the features of digital television devices to those that were approved by the Hollywood executives who tried to ban the VCR. The rules set out to ban the use of Open Source/Free Software in digital television applications, and to require hardware components to be designed to be hard or impossible to create open drivers for. Fox exec Andy Setos told me that we were there to create "a polite marketplace" where no one would be allowed to disrupt his business model without getting his permission and cooperation first (cough planned economy cough commies cough).
I'm honored and thrilled to have been part of the gigantic upswelling of public outcry over this naked attempt to bootstrap the studios' limited monopoly over copying movies into an unlimited monopoly over the design of every device that might be used to copy a movie.
And to the studio execs whom I faced across the table, who shouted at us and excluded us and told us that this was going to happen no matter what: NEENER NEENER NEENER.
The next move here is that the studios will take this to Congress and try to get a law passed to make this happen. No chance. They got ZERO laws passed last year. This year the best they've been able to accomplish is making it slightly more illegal to videotape movies in the theatre.
The fact is, elected lawmakers are not suicidal enough to break their constituents' televisions. Watch and see: over the next year, we're all going to roast any lawmaker who so much as breathes the words "Broadcast Flag" in a favorable tone.
"In the seven decades of its existence, the FCC has never before asserted such sweeping authority. Indeed, in the past, the FCC has informed Congress that it lacked any such authority. In our view, nothing has changed to give the FCC the authority it now claims."116k PDF Link