November 8th & 9th, 2024
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History of Control

SeaGL 2017


The talk will give an overview of the history of Digital Restrictions Management (DRM), from codes and passwords for ancient video games to remote attestation spyware and beyond. It will provide the listener with a perspective on the true purpose of DRM, which throughout its history has always been control over the user. While nominally DRM has something to do with copyright, in each step throughout its story we find again and again that domination of the user is its only ‘success’ and ultimate goal. This fact becomes glaringly obvious as we move to the era of DRM enforcement of laws, where governments try to control citizens by rewriting digital reality. The talk will conclude with what we are doing at the FSF to fight back, and what you can do to help.

Donald Robertson, III, Licensing & Compliance Manager

Donald is an attorney, and speaks on free software legal issues and activism. He handles licensing education & GPL compliance at the FSF. He resides in the Pacific Northwest. Previous speaking engagements:


Donald R. Robertson

Donald R. Robertson, Free Software Foundation

Donald Robertson, III, J.D. is the Copyright and Licensing Associate for the Free Software Foundation. He has worked for the FSF for over seven years in the FSF’s Licensing & Compliance Lab, and has been involved in free software for over fifteen years.