Cheap Speech Creation
54 University of California, Davis 2405 (2021)
51 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2022
Date Written: January 3, 2022
As we look back on Professor Eugene Volokh's predictive article about cheap speech, it is worth examining what other elements of the speech and media landscape, as well as the supporting legal infrastructure, have changed over that same period. This Essay focuses on the substantial reduction in the cost of speech creation, as opposed to distribution. After briefly discussing the accuracy of many of Volokh's most important predictions, it examines innovative technological changes that have enabled a larger number and more diverse range of people to engage in speech creation because of the rapidly shrinking costs of doing so by employing user-friendly interfaces. It provides examples of speech of profound public concern that has resulted from such changes. The Essay then traces the corresponding evolution in First Amendment doctrine and legal scholarship that has expanded the concept of what types of speech creation are covered by the free speech clause. Finally, it addresses some negative externalities of cheap speech creation, and how the law might confront the challenges presented by such costs without sacrificing speech creation's critical expressive value.
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