Talk:A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace

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Removal of Plagiarism Claims[edit]

I removed stuff about some plagiarism because it stated it is supported by no one but the claimant. -kdonovan11 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 141.161.130.57 (talk) 04:39, 18 November 2008 (UTC)

Misquoting[edit]

I'm thinking of removing "His response was 'we all get older and smarter'". In the context of how he is cited, I think it grossly misrepresents the idea of the quote. At this point in the wiki article, I strongly felt as if he retracted his declaration and ideas in it, even when the previous sentence states that this refers to his optimism; again in that context, optimism seems more like meaning "naïvety of the idea" instead of what he really means in the full Reason Magazine article from which he is quoted:

To clarify, in that article, he hasn't abandoned the idea, his optimism was in regard to not implicating oneself too much with politics (because he was seeing it as basically too much work for what you could get out of it) and instead try to bypass it. But now he sees his (social) libertarian ideas more in danger with how the general situation has evolved since ten years (DMCA, Patriot Act, etc) that he now sees mingling with politics a more imperative avenue than he considered before. His optimism refer specifically to the original idea that by doing their things and trying to bring into light issues without engaging head on into the political, this "political" eventually would just "see the light" and things would "sort themselves out". That was the optimism he was talking about, as clearly explained in the Reason Article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.81.15.136 (talk) 17:03, 5 September 2007 (UTC)

A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace


Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

(We the free people of the world of Cyberspace, address, declare and insist that on behalf of all free people of the future world that you and your ideas of government that dwell in the past and are made of tangible matter leave us alone. You truly are not welcome among us and have no sovereignty where we gather.)

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

(We the people are truly free of all elected governments and we do not seek to be governed by one. In this declaration the only authority we the people have, is that of liberty and freedom itself. We the people declare that we ourselves equally own the global social space of Cyberspace. We ourselves are building in a natural and independent way a new world order that is free of the tyrannies you wish to impose on us. In the new world Cyberspace, you have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods that can impose your will over us. We the people have no reason to fear you and nor will we ever.)

Governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. You have neither solicited nor received ours. We did not invite you. You do not know us, nor do you know our world. Cyberspace does not lie within your borders. Do not think that you can build it, as though it were a public construction project. You cannot. It is an act of nature and it grows itself through our collective actions.

(Some believe that Governments derive their powers from the consent of the electorate. This, we the free people now know that this ideal is untrue. Once Governments have been elected, they impose upon us their ideals, will, and not that of thoughts that have elected them. The free peoples of Cyberspace have not solicited our votes and we do not give them to you, therefore you have no jurisdiction over us the free of Cyberspace. You do not know who we are and have little idea of our free world. We have no borders and you are, and will always be, unable to build them around us. Through are own free collective and individual actions Cyberspace will grow natural regardless of your will to dominate us. We truly are the new free peoples of Cyberspace.)

You have not engaged in our great and gathering conversation, nor did you create the wealth of our marketplaces. You do not know our culture, our ethics, or the unwritten codes that already provide our society more order than could be obtained by any of your impositions.


You claim there are problems among us that you need to solve. You use this claim as an excuse to invade our precincts. Many of these problems don't exist. Where there are real conflicts, where there are wrongs, we will identify them and address them by our means. We are forming our own Social Contract. This governance will arise according to the conditions of our world, not yours. Our world is different.

Cyberspace consists of transactions, relationships, and thought itself, arrayed like a standing wave in the web of our communications. Ours is a world that is both everywhere and nowhere, but it is not where bodies live.

We are creating a world that all may enter without privilege or prejudice accorded by race, economic power, military force, or station of birth.

We are creating a world where anyone anywhere may express his or her beliefs, no matter how singular, without fear of being coerced into silence or conformity.

Your legal concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context do not apply to us. They are based on matter, there is no matter here.

Our identities have no bodies, so, unlike you, we cannot obtain order by physical coercion. We believe that from ethics, enlightened self-interest, and the commonweal, our governance will emerge. Our identities may be distributed across many of your jurisdictions. The only law that all our constituent cultures would generally recognize is the Golden Rule. We hope we will be able to build our particular solutions on that basis. However, we cannot accept the solutions you are attempting to impose.

In the United States, you have today created a law, the Telecommunications Reform Act, which repudiates your own Constitution and insults the dreams of Jefferson, Washington, Mill, Madison, DeToqueville, and Brandeis. These dreams must now be born anew in us.

Your increasingly obsolete information industries would perpetuate themselves by proposing laws, in America and elsewhere that claim to own speech itself throughout the world. These laws would declare ideas to be another industrial product, no nobler than pig iron. In our world, whatever the human mind may create can be reproduced and distributed infinitely at no cost. The global conveyance of thought no longer requires your factories to accomplish.

These increasingly hostile and colonial measures place us in the same position as those previous lovers of freedom and self-determination who had to reject the authorities of distant, uninformed powers. We must declare our virtual selves immune to your sovereignty, even as we continue to consent to your rule over our bodies. We will spread ourselves across the Planet so that no one can arrest our thoughts.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before?

John Perry Barlow Davos, Switzerland February 8, 1996 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tezatskeg (talkcontribs) 17:05, 6 February 2010 (UTC)

Adding more detail[edit]

As an influential writing that, early on, defined one prominent stance on the philosophy of cyberspace law, this article should be expanded upon. The Declaration itself goes into more depth than is explained in the section discussing its content, and there could certainly be more analysis on the future implications of the writing, where it has been mentioned/cited/used, other related works that it gave rise to, and its relationship with current cyberlaw. Also, the introduction could be expanded to give a brief but substantial summary of the Declaration. --Psykonautiks (talk) VM 01:28, 26 September 2011 (UTC)