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From Gutenberg to the Internet


From Gutenberg to the Internet book jacket View Table of Contents and Introductory Material
ISBN978-1-59460-972-5

From Gutenberg to the Internet

Free Speech, Advancing Technology, and the Implications for Democracy

by Russell L. Weaver

2013 $35.00 254 pp paper

Tags: Constitutional Law

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The history of free expression is inextricably intertwined with advances in speech technology. However, until recently, most forms of communication were limited and controlled by so-called “gatekeepers” who had the power to limit or control the ability of ordinary individuals to communicate with each other. With the advent of the Internet and new forms of technology (e.g., personal computers, iPhones, etc.), people have much greater capacity to communicate with each other. Although both governments and private entities have attempted to control discourse over the Internet, new technologies have enabled ordinary individuals to more easily communicate with each other and to participate in the political process. As a result, the Internet is reshaping political debate and political action all over the world.

“Writen in a light style, the book is extremely easy to read, yet it is succinct and concise. The cover image depicting Gutenberg on the screen of an iPad is downright witty (which is rather rare when it comes to scholarly tomes on the subject of jurisprudence).… One of the greatest merits of the book is that it immediately urges the reader to think further.… Weaver’s book is a thoroughbred American work, but it makes useful reading for us, too. Although certain authors have cautiously proposed that European regulations should be more closely aligned with the American ones, we are still far from that. However, even today it would be hard to understand the European media regulations or even the operation of the media without being aware of the American answers to similar questions. The Internet, moreover, is a new medium which raises issues that cannot be fully resolved at governmental or even regional level. It is for these reasons that the developments of thought about the Internet in the United States are important to us as well, and Weaver’s book take us closer to understanding these developments.” — András Koltay, The Democracy of the Internet? (June 23, 2014)


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