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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My Submission To The Canadian Copyright Consultation 2009

What I do know is that copyright 101 is forever changed. Copyright law in the age of the Kindle is no longer merely about ownership of the means of (re)production. It is also about access to knowledge, personal privacy, the citizen’s right to read anonymously and the consumer’s right to control the devices that she owns.

When the Ministers complete their copyright consultation on September 13th and begin to draft new laws projected for the spring of 2010, I hope that they recognize the power of the laws of robotics, reject an approach that would enable The Ministry of Truth, and offer-up a legislative regime that truly balances the copyright owners interests with the rights of citizens, as twice promised.

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