John Perry Barlow, in his November 14, 2001, speech at the Cato Institute that we are reading (CF, p. 38), claims that the e-book of Alice in Wonderland forbids you from reading it out loud. Unfortunately, the text of the speech does not have any endnotes or other documentation of the source for this claim. (Speeches are often sparse on documentation, but it is clear from other chapters that the speakers were given an opportunity to revise their texts for the book, so Barlow could have added notes.)
Using google, find some sites with information on this claim. You may need to be a bit creative in thinking of keywords or phrases to search for, and to dig through some irrelevant hits before you find something relevant. If you need help, please ask. Once you find one relevant hit, you should be able to use it to identify some more specific keywords or phrases to help you search for more relevant sites.
You should find sites that support Barlow's assertion, and also some that indicate he misunderstood what the actual restriction was. (That is, you should find sites that explain that there really was no prohibition against reading the book aloud, but rather a different, but poorly explained, limitation of the software.) You may not find both kinds of site initially. Keep digging until you do. Again, ask for help if you need it. You may also supplement google with other sources of information if you would like, even the old-fashioned kind printed on dead trees.
For each site you find, you will want to pay attention not only to what it has to say on the topic, but also its URL and any information indicating when it was written.
Write a short essay, directed at a typical college freshman outside our FTS, in which you explain what Barlow's claim was, what evidence it seems to rest on, and what the real story seems to be. Include some first-person information on your detective work. In particular, how easy or hard was it to find each side of the story? Also, include some assessment of Barlow's culpability. Did he just make an innocent mistake, or was he inexcusably careless? Was the countervailing information even available at the time of his speech, or did it come out only afterward? Also, aside from whether you blame him for the claim he made, how do you feel about his lack of documentation; does he deserve any blame for how hard you found it to check his facts? Are there any larger lessons you can draw from this case, and use as the focus for your essay?
Please rewrite your essay until you are convinced that the answer to each of the following questions is "yes." I urge you to ask a peer to give you feedback as well on whether he or she agrees that all the answers are "yes." When I grade your essay, I will again use these questions, both to give you feedback and to come up with your letter grade. Specifically, I will start with an A and take off one grade "notch" (e.g., from A to A-, or from A- to B+) for each question where the answer is "no". Be warned that some of the questions are so critical that if the answer is "no," then one or more additional answers are necessarily also "no." For example, if the answer to question 1a is "no," you are doomed for 1b through 1e as well.