The Hollywood gliterati, cognoscenti and plain old hangers-on who were attending the Cannes Film Festival this month were doing the predictable schmoozing, deal-making and previewing the next crop of possible box-office hits.

But those in the know got a real sneak peak at something potentially worth far more: a new technology that many say will revolutionize how movies are distributed. And if it spawns the predictable intellectual property litigation that followed last year’s parallel development in the music industry, motion picture litigators may finally have something to get as excited about as the deal-makers.