Cory Doctorow on the Real-World Dangers of Digital Rights Management

Cory Doctorow gave a fast-paced keynote at OSCON 2016 this year that served as a warning message against DRM (digital rights management): Open, closed, and demon haunted: An Internet of Things that act like inkjet printers.

Cory's example of what DRM and copyright can look like in the physical world: Let's say you're building a conference center and your engineer says that he's going to make sure the ceiling won't fall down on your attendees, but he's not going to share the math he's using to do those calculates because it's proprietary. Would you want to enter that conference center? I wouldn't! No one is going to hire an engineer who won't share their math because no one is checking their work.

Cory says that today we're seeing more and more copyrighted work become a part of our health, our bodies, and our lives. The Internet of Things (IoT) means that we will have thermostats in our homes—will the power company be able to access and change the temperature? Who will control our insulin pumps and cars with microchips? The world is becoming a computer we're swimming in, and the fact that we can't see the code and make sure we're safe is scary.

DRM stops people from finding the dumb mistakes, the purposeful mistakes. The mistakes we need to find. The code we need to see.

Cory Doctorow on the Real-World Dangers of DRM was authored by Nicole C. Engard and published in It is being republished by Open Health News under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0). The original copy of the article can be found here.