All posts by Robert Darnton


Milton, Locke, and Net Neutrality

To gain some perspective on the debate about Internet neutrality, we would do well to consult John Milton and John Locke. The Federal Communications Commission is considering the creation of a fast broadband lane that would permit companies like Netflix to purchase more-rapid delivery from Internet-service providers like Verizon. The defenders of net neutrality oppose that proposal and invoke ideals expressed in manifestoes such as the “Digital Declaration of Independence”: “We hold this t…


Free to All

Some have detected a revolutionary message behind the choice of today as the date to launch the Digital Public Library of America—a project to make the holdings of libraries, archives, and museums freely available in digital form to all Americans. They’re right.

“On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five,” as Longfellow put it in “The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere,” Paul Revere did not merely warn the farmers of Lexington and Concord that the redcoats were coming. His “midnight messag…