The Previous and Way forward for The Web: A Symposium for John Perry Barlow

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The Past and Future of The Internet: A Symposium for John Perry Barlow



The Duke Regulation and Expertise Assessment has launched a particular version devoted to analyzing the authorized and philosophical legacy of John Perry Barlow: co-founder of the Digital Frontier Basis; junior lyricist for the Grateful Lifeless; biofuel entrepreneur; thinker; poet; hacker Zelig; and pushed, pleasant weirdo.


Barlow died an premature dying in early 2018 after a lingering sickness (septicemia from an contaminated toenail cuticle, significantly), and the breadth of the students on this journal are a testomony to his broad attain.


I used to be privileged to contribute an essay myself. Different contributors embody the copyright scholar James Boyle (beforehand), who additionally edited this version; EFF Govt Director Cindy Cohn (beforehand); Yochai “Wealth of Networks” Benkler (beforehand); Julie Cohen (beforehand); Jonathan Zittrain (beforehand); Peter Jaszi (beforehand); Pam Samuelson (beforehand); Charlie Nesson (beforehand); Jessica Litman (beforehand) and different good and insightful writers and students.


The problem additionally consists of a few of Barlow’s most influential essays just like the Declaration of Independence of Our on-line world (beforehand) and “Promoting Wine With out Bottles.”


I am unable to wait to dig into this! This is a few of Cindy Cohn’s essay, “Inventing The Future: Barlow and Past”:


Barlow was making an attempt to make use of the pressure of his will and mighty pen to convey future to cross in a world the place it was removed from sure. He was making an attempt to get out forward of what he knew can be the highly effective forces in opposition to freedom on-line.

To be truthful, I didn’t actually perceive that at the beginning both. I used to start out my early Web legislation shows with a quote from Ecclesiastes: “there may be nothing new beneath the solar.”5I would then proceed, like American litigator, to tie the liberties of the long run Web to the precedents within the founding of the nation. I might tie nameless on-line audio system to Publius of the Federalist Papers. I might tie the necessity for digital encryption to the bodily encryption programs utilized by Madison and Jefferson. Later I might tie the battle in opposition to mass surveillance to James Otis’ battle in opposition to common warrants. Since Barlow’s assertions had been factually unsuitable—after all individuals might be held accountable for what they did on-line so long as their toes touched down within the jurisdiction of some authorities someplace—I frightened that he risked us dropping the civil liberties and human rights on-line that so many had labored so laborious to win offline.


Looking back, we each had helpful methods for convincing completely different audiences to guard freedom on-line. It’s simply that I aimed for the Supreme Court docket whereas Barlow aimed for the sky. Not like me, he gave an enormous voice to the dream that the digital world might be an opportunity for a recent begin in opposition to the incumbents—governments, telecommunications corporations, film and document cartels and extra. His imaginative and prescient drew strongly on that highly effective American concept that one might, like Huck Finn,“ gentle out for the territory” to start out anew.


The Previous and Way forward for The Web: A Symposium for John Perry Barlow [James Boyle/Duke Law and Technology Review]


(Picture: Hugh D’Andrade, EFF, CC BY, modified)

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Cory Doctorow

I write books. My newest are: a YA graphic novel referred to as In Actual Life (with Jen Wang); a nonfiction e book in regards to the arts and the Web referred to as Info Would not Need to Be Free: Legal guidelines for the Web Age (with introductions by Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer) and a YA science fiction novel referred to as Homeland (it is the sequel to Little Brother). I communicate far and wide and I tweet and tumble, too.

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