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John Perry Barlow Does the E-G8 His Way

BY Nancy Scola | Wednesday, May 25 2011

John Perry Barlow used his time up on stage at the controversial E-G8 get-together in Paris to argue in favor of a vision of the Internet's future befitting the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the author of the "Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace." In short, the ideas floating around the Paris talks about cracking down on 'intellectual property' abuses and other means of governing the Internet threaten, said Barlow, to "functionally break the 'net."

Barlow was up on stage with France's cultural minister and the heads of some big content industry companies, but he had a few allies, at least, in the crowd. When Barlow got some applause and a hoot or two during his opening remarks for talking about "increasingly draconian methods" for imposing IP law online, he joked that "this is a different audience than I thought it was." ("The back seats," joked a fellow panelist.)

Ars Technica's Nate Anderson has a write up of Barlow's remarks, or you can watch the video above.

A more hopeful Barlow, you might remember, gave a spirited talk on the future of the Internet at last year's PdF where he dropped this gem: surveying the crowd, Barlow said, "you folks, in this room, have the capacity to be the greatest ancestors anybody has ever had."