The constitutional status of cyberspace will ultimately turn on the analogies, and the analogies are up for grabs. In Scrambling for Protection, Patrick Garry argues that the new electronic media look much less like twentieth-centiry broadcast networks than like the eighteenth-century printing presses that were at the core of the original understanding of the First Amendment.
In our age of media revolutions, Patrick M. Garry offers guidelines for constitutionally redefining the press, and maintains that the First Amendment press clause must broaden the scope of its freedoms to include the communication activities of a much larger public.
At a time of much blind speculation and knee jerk thinking about the future of the media, Mr. Garry offers a good deal of thoughtful common sense and a useful historical perspective on communications policy relating to the new media, the old media, the government and the courts.
Garry's book is an inventive redefinition of the almost forgotten 'press clause' of the First Amendment. Long dormant, the clause now can breathe again.
Garry convincingly argues that technology and democracy can go hand-in-hand. . . . He delves back into the eighteenth-century to argue that the press as it was when the Bill of Rights was written resembled electronic bulletin boards more than contemporary newspapers do. Garry does much to make it look as if FCC regulations are now just about as obsolete as typewriters.
Mr. Garry's book will resonate among all those who cherish freedon of speech and the special role, in this country, played by the First Amendment.
Patrick M. Garry is associate professor of law at the University of South Dakota. He is the author of numerous books, including An Entrenched Legacy: How the New Deal Constitutional Revolution Continues to Shape the Role of the Supreme Court.