Initially these companies tried to do this using rights restricting software also known as Digital Rights Management (DRM) and restrictive laws such as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the US and a myriad of laws like it in other countries in the world. Now that there is signifigant consumer backlash against the idea they have attempted to try and 'rebrand' the idea behind it with the new name Digital Consumer Enablement (DCE). Regardless we've learned from the gardening industry that you can call it manure, shit, poo or fertilizer. The end product is still the same and smells just as bad.
I was recently reading an article on the Windows Vista Operating System and was initially shocked to see that Microsoft is trying to leverage it's power in the marketplace to force vendors to comply to their draconian and unrealistic expectations in order to allow them to better implement DRM technologies and make it more difficult and expensive for hackers to crack these DRM/encryption schemes. The only thing these technologies will do is slow them down it will not stop them, take a look at AACS as a failed DRM scheme. Their discs are being cracked even before they are released to the public.
Since it is obvious that big business is not willing or able to respect our rights in regards to what we want to watch and when or what software we desire on our computers (Sony Rootkit anyone?). We as consumers and supporters of the Open Source community must stand up for our rights. I believe the time is right for the Open Source community to finally and truly support some Open Source Hardware projects. Only when you control or at least are capable of auditing both the hardware designs as well as the software that runs on it can we be sure that there is no funny business going on in our computers.
In order to support a thriving Open Source Hardware project people would need to cough up money. Also there are risks involved in hardware projects that simply are not there in the Open Source software community such as theft of physical hardware and other such things which have no impact on software development. The question I pose to readers is... Is it time for Open Source Hardware Development? It would definitely ensure that we as a community is not threatened by the potential of 'vendor lock-in' in the future that is for sure.