Original date of publication: February 2019
As we live in the era of piracy and quick copying, the question of forgeries and fakes stopped being that deeply discussed. Figures like Elmyr, Pierre Menard (of Borges' short story) stay outside the main discussion as people assume originality and genuinity on the basis of ... what? We either consider EULA's for software, and the fact that a certain work is on platform. The trust of someone opinion's stays as long until expert comes and grades whether it is original or not. He might wrong, but his decision is supposed to asses the value of the work.
Authorship on majority of platforms is very hard to forge, as works are dependent on accounts, but this notion is already false. One can easily create bunch of palatable tweets through marvelous 'Inspect Element' function. So far, we have not seen any major problems caused by those facile edits, but their easiness and potential should be of concern.
The question of authorship on the internet is limited to the same rules as in the world. Even appearance of the person stopped being a valid signature thanks to machine learning algorithms being able to deceive us. Deceive us from the possibility that that person was doing some action that they did not do in the real world. As if this level of forgery was not itself questioning the matter of appearance and the trust in the appearance.
The same goes for any kind of authorship, as it is matter of time where all kinds of authorship will be forged. But then, we are left with the question - what is forgery? In my opinion the truest kind of forgery is deceiving the viewers into believing that a work was done by the author in the context that was of possibility for this author. This tautology creates this global problem. Is the same work put written in the other context and by other person the same work?
Therefore, we must expect that in the possible future we might get forged works of Plato, Kafka, even forged Pierre Menard's Don Kichote by Borges! All the great opuses recreated by machine. Or will be? Are those just copies then and discoveries. How can we know, what if those were lost works? There is no Elmyr to say that he forged them, experts can only blame the machine for deceiving. But at which points we are deceived by machine, how can machines lie, if the only task given to them was to create great works! We must remember that most of artists before creation of copyright were mostly focused on art forgery, as often we are left without any ideas to create "our" original content.
To finish up, I think the question of genuinity makes only sense in legal context where the rights of copyright exist. One should not be criticise for copying, forgery, etc on its own basis. What if all the great works we have are just accepted forgeries, glorified copies, clones of original which in the end was the same?
This article first appeared elsewhere.