& Free Speech
This note considers reprography technologies such as the photocopier,
VCR and mimeograph. It highlights issues such as censorship
and consumer uptake. It also points to major studies.
The following pages cover -
- mimeographs, photocopiers, fax machines and other devices
- the Walkman, iPod and MP3 players
- personal video recorder technologies (including remote
service recorders), standards and the shape of viewing
rewards - questions about rights management technologies
(ECMS or DRM), broadcast economics, taxation and compulsory
The net has been hailed as "the world's largest
photocopier" - a device that fosters plagiarism
and copyright breaches and that
enables authors to share their diaries
or disseminate text, graphics,
video and audio across the globe.
This note discusses some precursors of the web, including
technologies such as the facsimile machine and the mimeograph.
It also considers contemporary devices such as the iPod and
the TiVo, along with precedents such as the Walkman and the
The web is not the 'end point' of technological progression,
the result of a teleological advancement towards a seamless
global communications network. It is also not without precedent.
As we have commented elsewhere on this site, it is arguable
that earlier technologies such the telegraph
and printing have been far
been far more significant, despite eschatological pronouncements
by enthusiasts (such as characterisation of the net as "the
most transforming technological event since the capture of
fire" or web 2.0 "as
the most important thing since the invention of the book").
Looking at how societies have assimilated reprographic technologies
in the past, including questions about regulation (for example
censorship) and questions
about commercialisation or culture, is of value for understanding
the 'digital environment' and making sense of its future development.