Chapter 10 of Dan Gillmor’s book delved into the legal issues of content on the Internet. The problem with the Internet is that there are no clear cut lines of what is and is not acceptable. On one side of the argument people have the right to free speech, while on the other side of the argument people have the right to be protected from material that could harm then. This leads to many legal disputes. It basically seems as though it comes down the rights of one person versus the rights of another. Ultimately it seems up to the individual to decide what kind of information they want to expose themselves to. If they find a website offensive, they do not need to visit it. It is the same with any form of media. If you do not like something on the television or radio, turn the channel. If you do not like something in a newspaper, turn the page. Unfortunately, there is no possible way that an agreement will ever be reached on what should be allowed and not allowed on the Internet. What offends people varies so much from individual to individual. Geographical constraints also present problems of enforcing content on the Internet. All content on the web is accessible to anybody with a computer. There is no international Internet police to decide what is acceptable versus unacceptable. If the government in Australia does not like the content published on an American made website, does the Australian government have the right to take action? To me, this seems unfair. If one country says something is legal and another country says something is illegal, which one has the ultimate authority? Also, what is protected by free speech in one country may not be in another country. The option of zoning the web would deal with some geographical differences in opinion. However, it defeats the free flow of information that the Internet provides.

Chapter 11 goes into copyright laws and the legality of copyrighted works online. The Internet has led to a significant loss of revenue in the music industry. The illegal sharing and downloading of music can often be difficult to monitor. Even when protective software is set up, people will find away around it. However, in many ways, sharing music on the Internet can be positive for the music industry because it can increase the circulation and exposure of music. In many ways, copyright laws go too far. Corporations today are so concerned with profits that they want to be sure they make every possible penny that they can. Can this go too far? Absolutely. Gillmor discusses the possibility of all copyrighted material requiring a price to be used. If this was true, society would be at a serious loss. If authors were not able to quote other works without first paying, they would be unlikely to do so. Learning and the flow of information will be impeded.

In Chapter 12 of We the Media Gillmor concludes by emphasizing the importance of the Internet and comparing its significance to the invention of the printing press. I agree with his comparison. The Internet, like the printing press, gave people access to a plethora of information that they never knew existed. This new accessibility of information can only benefit society and make people more educated and informed.

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