The Press Clause and the Fourth Wave
The most logical guide for resolving the expansive, growing problem of publisher's rights in the networked technology era, despite its flaws, is the press clause. The foundational theoretical, historical, and legal concepts point toward a twenty-first-century interpretation of the press clause that is focused on whether or not the publisher's message represents a public good. The public-good approach avoids the relatively futile expeditions into the identity of the messenger or the form of the message, instead concentrating people attention upon the contribution of the message within the various networked publics. The public-good perspective also prepares us for the fourth wave of the Internet, with its armies of artificially intelligent communicators already engaging with individuals in a variety of ways. The Supreme Court's precedents in press-related cases point toward an understanding that the press clause protects the publication of a certain type of information, that which represents a public good to society.