Digital Locks, Digital Rights Management, and the DMCA: Beyond Copyright

  • When: 11:00-11:45 AM, Thursday, June 18
  • Where: Room 224, Oechsle Hall
  • Presenter: Ron Griggs, Vice President for Library and Information Services, Kenyon College

In Cory Doctorow’s recent book, Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, he argues (as Doctorow’s First Law) that “any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you, and won’t give you a key, they’re not doing it for your benefit.” Digital locks prevent behaviors far beyond what copyright law requires and the Digital Millenium Copyright Act turns ordinary folks into criminals when we try to act within our rights.

In this talk, I will trace the developments in digital lock technology, highlighting some of the most egregious examples of overreaching. After a side trip into the theory of general purpose computing based on Universal Turing Machines (and a tiny bit of math), we’ll take a look at a possible future in which digital locks are essential parts of a pervasive surveillance culture.

About the Presenter

Ron Griggs has been the Vice President for Library and Information Services at Kenyon College since 2008.  Ron joined Kenyon in 1991 as the Director of Networks, Systems, and Technical Services after a nine year career as a U.S. Navy officer focusing on cryptology and information security.