Monday, December 17, 2012

Copying as speech redux

This NYT article on the history of the paper trail includes a discussion of the expressive value of copying the Pentagon Papers:
Mr. Ellsberg obsessively made copies of his copies, even enlisting the help of his children in what she describes as an act of radical self-publishing. “Even though we think of copying now as perfunctorily ripping something off, he was expressing himself by Xeroxing,” [Professor Lisa Gitelman] said. ... The Pentagon Papers were a landmark, in her view, not just in the antiwar movement, but in a “Xerox revolution” that allowed citizens to seize hold of official documents, and official knowledge, and turn them to their own purposes as never before.

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