posted Jun 01, 2003
in Communication Ethics

Communication Ethics book part for Hand Copying. (This is an automatically generated summary to avoid having huge posts on this page. Click through to read this post.)

Let's create a graph to look at how various parameters affect the ability to do something profitably, examined over time. (Though not strictly in chronological order as it is often difficult to place a date on when a given technology became truly practical.)

Pre-Gutenberg Practical Information Transmission

You'll note there's only one black-dot, which is hand-copying material. You'll also note that the graph has no axis labels. This is because there are, in reality, a lot of things that could go on those labels, like cost-per-copy (extremely high), time per copy (a lot), number of customers waiting for product, etc., and there are even more as time goes on, so we're just going to pretend that the graph is two dimensional so we can fit it on the paper. I'll talk about some of the noteworthy parameters as we go through.

At this point, there was no such thing as copyright. Copying was an unmitigated good for a society. Numerous documents have disappeared from history because they weren't copied, now existing only as obscure references by other works which were successfully copied.


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