contracts) are done on the net, but it also provides a new medium in whichto defame or infringe copyright.
Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man
. 1964.Marshall McLuhan was a media analyst as well as an English professorat the University of Toronto. He built on and extended the ideas ofpreceding works by Harold Innis. (Innis,
The Bias of Communication, 1951.
)McLuhan's media analysis demonstrates the importance of the role and impactof media on our social and economic organizations."We become what we behold, we shape our tools, and thereafter ourtools shape us." This general idea relates as much to the development ofPapyrus as it does to the printing press and the internet. For McLuhan, thecommon striving of mankind is a search for innovative solutions to ease thelabour of our bodies and transcend space and time. Stone is hard to move butlasts a long time. Cars move faster and serve to replace or extend the reachof our feet but only last a few decades. Typography developed as a landmarkmedia extension of our oral culture, and electricity (the medium of theinternet) resembles an extension of mind and impulse itself. Electronicmedia transcend the barriers of space and time into the realm of thesimultaneous virtually defeating the limitations imposed on us by space andtime. The internet is potentially permanent and mobile.A culture dominated by typography tends to be rational, sequential,linear, authoritarian, while a culture dominated by electricity is similarto a pre-literate society and resembles the oral tradition, non-sequential,mythological, simultaneous, and non-authoritarian."It is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of humanassociation and action." According to McLuhan, the history of socialorganization is controlled by media and driven by technological inventions.Every new technological development in the uses of media result in a neworganizational state structure. This idea suggests that accompanying thetechnological development of, for example, papyrus, Rome was able to extendits reach and form an empire relying on the power of the medium of paperused to organize, count and record inventory, stock and population census.The greater flexibility of papyrus over other organization mediums, such as