the fascinating crudeness of early digital rights management 

Has the mentality actually changed? My suspicion is that these messages express the same underling disposition as can be found in the present day, now dressed up in carefully crafted ideological clothing. From Gates, by Stephen Manes and Paul Andrews, loc 6969:

Late in 1985, Sheldon Richman of the Washington Times reported that his brand-new copy of Microsoft Access had displayed a message that went something like this: “Internal security violation. The tree of evil bears bitter fruit; crime does not pay. The Shadow knows. Trashing program disk.” What followed was a horrendous racket from the disk drive. Spin control time: Microsoft’s Jeff Raikes told the press that a programmer had slipped the “idle threat” into the program unbeknownst to his superiors and that it had been excised. End of story. Well, not quite. Clever computerists suddenly began hunting for and finding such messages in most of their Microsoft applications—and revealing their discoveries to the press. “How can a $70 million company like Microsoft tolerate this idiocy?” InfoWorld’s John Dvorak fulminated. Years later developer Jeff Harbers would admit that the racket—harmless though scary—had been his design, a general feature of the application’s copy-protection code that wasn’t supposed to show up except when snoops and crackers ran debuggers to sneak a look at it. The message itself had been the work of a summer intern from Caltech.