Internet legend John Perry Barlow a former Wyoming rancher and Grateful Dead lyricist is best known for his A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, a statement of the natural liberty and the anti–sovereignty of Cyberspace, which in part led to his moniker the Thomas Jefferson of Cyberspace.
At the time the Manifesto was written, Barlow had already written extensively on the Internet and its social and legal phenomena, as well as being a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation EFF.org along with fellow digital rights activists John Gilmore and Mitch Kapor. "The Economy of Ideas", the classic essay he published on digital copyright in March 1994 for Wired magazine (he has been on the masthead since Wired was founded), which is taught in many law schools also made allusions to some of the ideas he would write about in his Declaration. The manifesto was written primarily in response to the passing of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (which was later overturned) in the United States which the EFF saw as a threat to the independence of Cyberspace and was published online on February 8TH, 1996 from Davos, Switzerland while he was attending The World Economic Forum.
Barlow is a fellow at Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet & Society and spends the majority of his time on the road, lecturing and consulting civil rights, freedom of speech, the Internet and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, of which he serves as vice–chairman of their board of directors. He is also on the board of directors for Freedom of the Press Foundation along with Daniel Ellsberg, Laura Poitras and others. Barlow is currently the only person to be inducted into both The Internet Hall of Fame and The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.