This is right.
It's more than just about creating social and legal controls over a technology that threatens traditional power structures, though personal computing has done that - just look at how social networking has supported political revolts across the world. Governments and their business patrons fear this power shift.
So, how have they responded?
The western national economies have transformed their income streams from production to rent collection, which has been ongoing since the 1970s. This has devalued all forms of manufacturing, where raw materials are converted to useful things through work, thus devaluing those who perform labor in the process. It's not automation that has destroyed manufacturing in the United States. In fact, that claim is ridiculous on its face, since - by definition - automation increases productivity which presumably should lead to long term industry success.
No, instead, free capital flows shifted productive work overseas where for cheap labor - sometimes slave labor - was available. This is called 'globalism'. But we should view the term a misnomer, due to the disparity between how easy it is to transfer capital across national boundaries versus how labor is locked into the nation state by borders and immigration law. It's not 'global free trade', it's arbitrage. This has happened not just in lock-step with deregulating the financial industry - Wall Street - at the expense of labor, but also because of it. For the power shift from government to the financial sector has had the effect of diminishing the political power of citizens - and especially labor - in the process. Because it's pretty damn hard for the poor to exercise real political power. That transformation benefitted both power bases in government and the financial sector.
But how does all this relate to computing lock-down and DRM?
It's the model for how to understand vendor lock-down in computing. For open computing platforms decentralize power by freeing people to use computing in ways never intended by the vendor (or government). This used to be called innovation. Back in the 1970s, every personal computer was open. The Apple II shipped with a manual that included schematics. Bus specifications were open. Computers booted to BASIC, a programming language by default. Now, not everyone wants to program and computing shouldn't be viewed strictly from that mindset. But, consider what happened to the minicomputing market as a result. Digital, for example, went bankrupt trying to maintain their vendor lock-in due to competition from open systems - primarily the IBM-PC and its clones we still use today. Because people like freedom, even when they don't directly use that freedom to tinker and create themselves.
So, I'm arguing that in the same vein that the financial industry gained protected privileges (deregulation) which gave it market advantage over labor, so too are titans of the software and tech industry, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Oracle, etc have bent law and regulation to their benefit, at the expense of small competitors and even their own customers. Like 'deregulation' for Wall Street, the tech industry has it's own legal maneuver, this time through copyrights, patents, and trademarks, all of which are a form of government regulated monopoly protection.
And all this in the Orwellian name of 'freedom'. In the financial industry, they called it 'free trade'. In the tech industry it's, 'freedom to innovate'. But in both cases the freedom isn't to decentralized down to small business or citizens, it's centralized up toward the largest market players. It's a freedom to engage in monopoly control over markets, whether the labor market, the tech market, or any other market where players are big enough to buy protection from legislators and the court system. Protection, not from other big industry players - by and large - but protection from small competitors who might innovate their way into market dominance, and protection from customers who might choose alternatives were the markets actually opened instead of locked down.
This is about as far from the ideals of Adam Smith and David Ricardo as can be imagined. Smith opposed the power of government intertwined with monopoly players, and actually supported the creation of labor unions. He, opposed free trade when it opposed the interests of nations and its citizens. Which Ricardo's Theory of Comparative Advantage expands upon. Financial industry globalization destroys labor's comparative advantage, by locking labor in while freeing capital. Abuse of 'Intellectual Property' law destroys the tech market by locking competitors and customers into systems where certain privileged industry players collect streams of income from all market activity. Just like a tax.
It's a rentier economy. Where businesses no longer compete to build useful things, they compete for control over legislative bodies for government protection from markets and those who use them. This is not a market economy. It's a form of neo-capitalist feudalism, where, like lords under the protection of a king (government), assert total control over serfs (citizens / markets) within their domains.
And that's why walled gardens and DRM locked down PCs are taking over. This threat of criminalizing the use creation or use of open platform is simply a manifestation of that. Open computing is not akin to a lock-pick, it's real market capitalism. The very last thing monopolists want. And don't think this transformation is limited to finance or the tech industry. It's happening in lessor or greater levels across all markets, across all nation-states. This is the great transformation of power from voting citizens to feudal protectorates. Humanity is seeing nothing less than the manifestation of a new international tyranny based along different political structures than the nation-state, but with the same oppressive result.