Digital Locks And The Automation Of Virtue

"Digital Locks and the Automation of Virtue" in Michael Geist ed, From "Radical Extremism" to "Balanced Copyright": Canadian Copyright and the Digital Agenda (Toronto: Irwin Law, 2010).

This chapter examines the social and moral cost of digital locks. I trace the concept and construct of a lock all the way back to the mythical Gordian knot, revealing two essential features of locks. First, I argue that locks are important not only for what they restrict, but for what they permit. I develop this idea in the context of digital locks using the concept of automated permissions. Second, I argue that the restrictions imposed by locks come with a social and moral cost; namely, that the adoption of a universal digital lock strategy could undermine the cultivation of moral virtue.

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