The Gutenberg Printing Press

Many of the issues and changes recognized today in connection with the Internet first appeared with printing technology: copyright and intellectual property, free speech and censorship, advertising and propaganda, exchange of ideas in dispersed "virtual communities" across political boundaries, large-scale scientific data collection and dissemination, and the undermining of established authority by "unauthorized" sources of opinion and information.


Printing history and development (Digital Encyclopedia)

H.G. Wells from A Short History of the World (1922)

Censorship: The Council of Trent (1542)

Project Gutenberg


Amazon: The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe (Elizabeth Eisenstein)

As the Gutenberg press spread through Europe, printing and selling books and other material emerged as an important commercial activity.  Legal systems adapted gradually to recognize the rights of authors to the economic value of their ideas.  One of the key challenges facing the digital age is the question of how to apply the notions of intellectual property to digital content, including software, audio and video content, databases, and other forms of information.