I first became acutely interested in copyright and digital-age issues at the same time. It was late 2011. The online battle over the anti-piracy bills SOPA/PIPA was reaching peak cacophony when I noticed first, that my friends were sharing a lot of scary headlines and memes that were wildly inaccurate; and second, that as a society, we had barely begun to consider the power of internet platforms to spread disinformation sponsored any party with tremendous resources.
I launched The Illusion of More in August of 2012 with a dual purpose: advocate the principles of copyright, and question the alleged value of the tech-utopian belief that information access can only lead to more enlightened, moderate societies where facts and science win the the day. The link between the two, of course, is that it is the powerful tech-utopians of Silicon Valley who are determined to remove all barriers to the flow of content on these platforms. That policy agenda began with copyright and has since encompassed privacy, antitrust, and the avoidance of liability for even the most heinous crimes. To say nothing of allowing conspiracy theory to run free until in manifest as a violent and seditious assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021. So, yes, I’m still skeptical.
As for copyright, I still believe not only in the economic and cultural value of the arts but that sustaining a vibrant and diverse community of professional artists is essential to any thriving democracy. In addition to many posts here on IOM, I tried to make that case for a wider audience in my first book, Who Invented Oscar Wilde? The Photograph at the Center of Modern American Copyright. Published November 2020 by Potomac Books. For more information, please visit my personal website.
Finally, with the launch of the latest update to IOM, I want to thank the many readers, followers, and commenters who have contributed to this blog. I have learned a great deal from nearly all of you, even the critics, and I am truly grateful that in all these years, nearly all the exchanges have been cordial and thoughtful.