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16 First Amend. L. Rev. 200 (2017-2018)
Cheap Speech and What It Has Done (to American Democracy)

handle is hein.journals/falr16 and id is 217 raw text is: 




     CHEAP SPEECH AND WHAT IT HAS DONE (TO
                AMERICAN DEMOCRACY)

                       Richard  L. Hasen*

                         INTRODUCTION

       In  a remarkably   prescient  article in a 1995   Yale Law
Journal symposium on Emerging Media Technology and the
First Amendment,' Professor Eugene Volokh looked ahead to
the coming   Internet era and correctly predicted many   changes.
In Cheap Speech and What  It Will Do, Volokh could foresee the rise
of streaming   music  and   video  services such  as Spotify  and
Netflix,2 the emergence  of handheld   tablets for reading books,3
the demise  of classified advertising in the newspaper  business,'
and  more  generally  how  cheap  speech  would  usher  in radical
new  opportunities  for readers, viewers, and listeners to custom
design  what   they read,  see, and  hear,  while  concomitantly
undermining   the  power  of intermediaries  including publishers
and bookstore  owners.'
       To Volokh, these changes were exciting and
democratizing.   Volokh's   predictions   were  not   perfect-for
example,  he expected  we  would  be using high-speed  printers to
print out columns  from  our favorite newspaper  columnists,' and
he grossly underestimated   how   cheap  speech would   wreck  the
economics   of the newspaper  business.' He  also could  see some
dark  sides to cheap  speech, such  as the  Internet lowering  the
organizing  costs for hate groups such as the Ku Klux  Klan.' But

Chancellor's Professor of Law and Political Science, UC Irvine School of Law. An
earlier version of this article was prepared for delivery at Distorting the Truth: 'Fake
News' and Free Speech First Amendment Law Review symposium, University of
North Carolina School of Law, October 27, 2017. Thanks to Joe Birkenstock, Bruce
Cain, Erwin Chemerinsky, Sarah Haan, David Kaye, Brendan Nyhan, Ann Ravel,
Eugene Volokh, Sonja West, and symposium participants for useful comments and
suggestions, and to Julia Jones for excellent research assistance.
1 Eugene Volokh, Cheap Speech and Whatlt WillDo, 104 YALE L.J. 1805 (1995).
2 Id. at 1808-18; see also id. 1831 (What people would like, I believe, is to choose
from home-at any time convenient to them-any TV show or movie they want, just
as they choose a book in a bookstore, only more conveniently and less expensively
(or even free, since the medium might still be advertiser-supported).).
3Id. at 1823.
4 d. at 1841-42.
SId at 1848-49.
6Id. at 1820-21.
Id. at 1842 (The loss of classified revenues, coupled with the cost savings and
opportunities for extra profits from electronic distribution, should help push
newspaper publishers into going electronic . . .. [E]ach electronically delivered
newspaper will have ads calculated to fit the particular subscriber's profile-age, sex,
and whatever other information the newspaper gets at subscription time, or can
deduce from the mix of stories he's ordered.).
' Id. at 1848.

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