Category Archives: Transcripts

Chelsea Manning’s May 10 Video Statement – Full Transcription

Chelsea Manning speaks from the heart in a YouTube video on May 10, 2019.
Chelsea was incarcerated for 63 days for refusing to testify to a Grand Jury.
28 of those days were under solitary confinement conditions.

See the video here.

Complete Transcription:

Good evening.

Two months ago, the federal government summoned me before a grand jury in the Eastern District of Virginia.

As a general principle, I object to grand juries.

Prosecutors run grand juries behind closed doors and in secret, without a judge present.

Therefore, I declined to cooperate or answer any questions.

Based on my refusal to answer questions, District Court Judge Hilton ordered me held in contempt until the grand jury ended.

Yesterday, the grand jury expired, and I left the Alexandria Detention Center.

Throughout this ordeal, an incredible spring of solidarity and love boiled over. I received thousands of letters, including dozens to hundreds of them a day.

This means the world to me, and keeps me going.

Jail and prisons exist as a dark stain on our society, with more people confined in the U.S. than anywhere else in the world.

During my time, I spent 28 days in solitary confinement–a traumatic experience I already endured for a year in prison before.

Only a few months before reincarceration, I recieved gender confirmation surgery.

This left my body vulnerable to injury and infection, leading to possible complications that I am now seeking treatment for.

My absence severely hampers both my public and private life.

The law requires that civil contempt only be used to coerce witnesses to testify.

As I cannot be coerced, it instead exists as an additional punishment on top of the seven years I served.

Last week, I handwrote a statement outlining the fact I will never agree to testify before this or any other grand jury.

Several of my closest family, friends and colleagues supported this fact.

Our statements were filed in court.

The government knows I can’t be coerced.

When I arrive at the courthouse this coming Thursday, what happened last time will occur again.

I will not cooperate with this or any other grand jury.

Throughout the last decade, I accepted full responsibilty for my actions.

Facing jail again, this week, does not change this fact.

The prosecutors deliberately place me in an impossible situation: I either go to jail, or turn my back on the principles that I have.

The truth is, the government can construct no prison worse than to betray my conscience or my principles.

Thank you, and good night.

Barrett Brown and Trevor Timm at Aaron Swartz Day 2018’s Evening Event

Link to YouTube video Internet Archive VideoAudio (.wav)

Trevor Timm and Barrett Brown

Partial transcription:

Trevor Timm: Could you tell us a little bit about what the theme is of your memoir…What are you trying to get across to readers?

Barrett Brown: There are a couple sort of overlapping issues. One is that, these institutions that we’ve inherited. We should not be surprised when they fail. They weren’t invented by philosopher kings with unlimited resources and the ability to implement their vision. They grew up haphazardly by very imperfect people and are frequented and designed and maintained by certain subsets of people that sometimes are outright psychotic. And other times, when they are noble, have their hands tied.

So, we have these institutions crumbling and proving themselves to be less solid than we once assumed them to be. That’s important.

The other important aspect of our age is that we can no longer look back on the 80s and 90s or 60s or anytime prior to determine what’s possible. To determine what’s viable or probable. The framework, the environment in which human collaboration occurs has changed so fundamentally and drastically in a historically short period of time that we cannot base our course of action, or the experiments we undertake, or the things we do on what others were able to pull off. We just can’t. What we can do, is always keep in mind that all human collaboration; Human collaboration is where all this comes from. All of our states. All of our laws. All of our problems. And so when the means change, and the possibilities suddenly increase in ways that we can’t understand yet, we have to explore all of these options. And I think it’s viable to really be able to do that in an effective way in the next decade or so, with Pursuance and all of these other things that are coming out.

Trevor Timm: Absolutely. (pause) With this being Aaron Swartz Day, I’d love to hear from you; Did you actually know Aaron personally? If you did or if you didn’t: How do you think about his legacy?

Barrett Brown: I didn’t really know him. I think I encountered him once or twice online.

He (Aaron) once offered to do an FOIA request on persona management. One of my interests back then. One of these disinformation propaganda methodologies that have come out of the intelligence contract industries, and had been encouraged by various states. Something that I think is very dangerous. So he offered to do his thing on that. To explore the possibilities and see if we could get some information on it. And the interesting thing about that is that I’d sort of forgotten about it until very recently. I’m not sure where that was left. I’m not sure if he got some results back. Someone asked me about it.

But it showed Aaron Swartz knew what was important. He agreed with me on this one aspect of these propaganda methodologies being important, and he also anticipated all of us in envisioning a different kind of internet that we didn’t accept from last year, that we’d actually build from the ground up according to our values…

(Yes, the sound mysteriously goes out for 15 seconds at the end, but probably it was just operator error as there were many errors throughout the broadcast – many apologies and I PROMISE we’ll have a professional webcaster next year :,-(

DJ Spooky’s Introduction to Oscar Micheaux’s “Body and Soul” at SF MOMA

DJ Spooky will be speaking and performing at this year’s Aaron Swartz Day & International Hackathon Evening Event, in San Francisco, Saturday, November 10, 2018, 8pm.   TICKETS

DJ Spooky Looks Deeper Into the Films of Cinema Pioneer Oscar Micheaux

DJ Spooky at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 12, 2018.

From the transcription of DJ Spooky’s introduction for “Body and Soul,” by Lisa Rein for Mondo 2000:

So, Oscar Micheaux was infuriated by Birth of a Nation, and so was the NAACP. What ended up happening is that they protested it, and created a whole dynamic where they would have almost riots and controversy. They actually invented the term “blockbuster” – because people would line up around the block to see the film.

There’s a lot of legacy in Oscar Micheaux because he ended up responding against Birth of a Nation by making his own film. His most famous film is In Our Gates…

In this weird Trump Dystopian Bizarre Feverish Lunatic Dream of White Supremacy that we’re kind of trying to deprogram out of, these kinds of films, and these kinds of gatherings, are where people from different perspectives, races, classes, come together and think: “How does cinema change our vision of things?”

– DJ Spooky, during his introduction for “Body and Soul,” at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, July 12, 2018.

TICKETS

DJ Spooky’s Talk and Performance From the Creative Commons Launch in 2002

TICKETS

Aaron Swartz Day 2018: The Inside Story – Part 1: DJ Spooky At The Creative Commons Launch (2002)

Complete Transcription, Video, and “Trailer” of “Rebirth of a Nation”

DJ Spooky at the Creative Commons Launch, in San Francisco, December 2002. He is holding up an “Ad busters” flag.

From the transcription, DJ Spooky, Creative Commons Launch, 2002:

To make a long story short, when they asked me to do a piece for this, I was thinking about it. I am in the middle of about three different projects. One of them is “Birth of a Nation” I am remixing that. It’s an early D.W. Griffith film. And many copyrighted works that are pre-1920 are still accessible. The film makes kind of a statement about the ownership of culture, and of course, about ownership of memory. Collective memory.

So that’s the project that’s going to be associated with Creative Commons. What I’d like to do is show a snippet of it. I presented an early work in progress of it at the Castro Theater.

Essentially whenever you hear something and the idea is made, it’s always a sense of playing with memory. What I’m fascinated with in the Eldred case, is the idea of who controls memory. How can you recall an image or a sound that’s essentially part of a collective unconscious. How we think of things that just go through your mind every day and how you externalize that. That’s what DJing is about. It’s playfulness. It’s reverence for controlled memory. Reverence for the found object.

So essentially, that’s what DJing has become. It’s almost a basic fabric; part of the the fabric of contemporary culture. So, there’s that kind of thing, which to me it becomes kind of what I like to call 21st century – a new form of folk music or folk culture…

these issues, always migrate. You control one thing, the net will thread its way around it. And so on and so on.

That sense of control, one of the terms Larry always uses a lot, in his great book “The Future of Ideas” – if you haven’t read it yet; you should – is the idea of “creative co-authorship.” Being able to actually reach into a text and reconfigure it. And if there’s something we’ve seen throughout the 21st century, whether you are looking at the outside of things, or the underground or overground, it’s that sense of; whether you are looking at William S. Burroughs or the Jack Kerouac and the beats in the 50s, or the Dada scene in the 20s, or the early cinema people working with that, is that America has always been the place of “the mix.” But somehow, I think in the 19th century we were a net importer of intellectual property, whereas after a certain point we became a net exporter, and that’s when all these kinds of control issues come up.

Chelsea Manning, Caroline Sinders, and Kristian Lum: “Technologists, It’s Time to Decide Where You Stand On Ethics”

(Left to Right) Kristian Lum, Caroline Sinders, Chelsea Manning.

A lot of folks were wondering about what Chelsea Manning‘ meant when she discussed a “Code of Ethics” during her SXSW talk, last March. Well there’s no need to wonder, because Chelsea discussed this in detail, with her co-panelists Kristian Lum (Human Rights Data Analysis Group) and Caroline Sinders (Wikimedia Foundation), during the Ethical Algorithms track at the last Aaron Swartz Day at the Internet Archive.

Chelsea Manning, Caroline Sinders, and Kristian Lum: “Technologists, It’s Time to Decide Where You Stand On Ethics”

By Lisa Rein for Mondo 2000.

Link to the complete video for Ethical Algorithms panel.

Chelsea Manning

Chelsea Manning: Me personally, I think that we in technology have a responsibility to make our own decisions in the workplace – wherever that might be. And to communicate with each other, share notes, talk to each other, and really think – take a moment – and think about what you are doing. What are you doing? Are you helping? Are you harming things? Is it worth it? Is this really what you want to be doing? Are deadlines being prioritized over – good results? Should we do something? I certainly made a decision in my own life to do something. It’s going to be different for every person. But you really need to make your own decision as to what to do, and you don’t have to act individually.

Kristian Lum and Caroline Sinders.

Caroline Sinders: Even if you feel like a cog in the machine, as a technologist, you aren’t. There are a lot of people like you trying to protest the systems you’re in. Especially in the past year, we’ve heard rumors of widespread groups and meetings of people inside of Facebook, inside of Google, really talking about the ramifications of the U.S. Presidential election, of questioning, “how did this happen inside these platforms?” – of wanting there even to be accountability inside of their own companies. I think it’s really important for us to think about that for a second. That that’s happening right now. That people are starting to organize. That they are starting to ask questions.

Aaron Swartz Ceramic Statue (by Nuala Creed) and Kristian Lum.

Kristen Lum: There are a lot of models now predicting whether an individual will be re-arrested in the future. Here’s a question: What counts as a “re-arrest?” Say someone fails to appear for court and a bench warrant is issued, and then they are arrested. Should that count? So I don’t see a whole lot of conversation about this data munging.

Read the whole thing here. Watch the whole video here.

See all the Aaron Swartz Day 2017 videos here with the New Complete Speaker Index!

Thanks to ThoughtWorks for sponsoring the Ethical Algorithms Track at Aaron Swartz Day 2017. This track has also led to the launch of our Aaron Swartz Day Police Surveillance Project, and we have lots to tell you all about it, very soon :-)

Shari Steele (w Cindy Cohn & Cory Doctorow) At the John Perry Barlow Symposium

This is from the April 7, 2018 event. Complete transcription and video available here at the Internet Archive. (A complete index of all speakers is forming here on the Aaron Swartz Day website.)

Left to Right: Shari Steele, John Gilmore, Joi Ito, Steven Levy.

Cindy Cohn: Our second panel of speakers are Shari Steel, John Gilmore, Stephen Levy, and Joy Ito. And although she ended up at the end, our first speaker up is Shari Steele.

Cory Doctorow: So Shari was the turnaround specialist that turned the EFF into the powerhouse it is today. She calls herself a “First Amendment Junkie.” And when I met her, EFF was on the rocks. John Gilmore had brought it back to San Francisco from adventures on the East Coast and they lost their digs and so they were everyone was working out of their living rooms and meeting up once a week in coffee shops and today. Well, today we’re a much bigger organization and a lot of it – well so much of it is due to Shari and her leadership. One of the places where I got to see her shine is in managing her Board, and it’s quite an irascible and amazing board. And as you heard about Barlow, he was always a challenging board member. So I’m looking forward to hearing what Shari has to say about about being the adult supervision for John Perry Barlow. [02:47:56]

Shari Steele: Hmmm. I wasn’t going to say anything about being “the adult supervision of John Perry Barlow.”

So, I started EFF in 1992, as a staff attorney, and I’m just going to give a little aside. Mitch Kapor actually detoured his plane to stop to meet me too. (Laughs) I was in Washington D.C. and I had already interviewed with Jerry Berman and Danny Weitzner, who at the time were the EFF D.C. office, and Mitch wanted to meet me and so was on his way back to Boston from someplace or other, and stopped so that I got to meet him. And I got the job. So whatever, but when I first when I first took this job we didn’t know what EFF was going to become, but I had heard of Mitch Kapor and was really interested in working with Mitch Kapor, but had never heard of John Perry Barlow. I was not a Grateful Dead fan I was not from San Francisco. I didn’t know who this guy was. It literally took one meeting for me to become a groupie. This man had more charisma than anybody I’ve ever met and his belief in the First Amendment and in a free speech, in a society with free speech ,and a vision of the Internet as being a place for free speech, resonated so powerfully with me that he became an instant buddy.

Our first real big fight related to free speech was in 1995, when Congress passed this horrible horrible law called the Communications Decency Act, or the CDA. Barlow was, and we were all, really upset about it. As soon as it passed, we knew that was unconstitutional. And, with the ACLU, EFF challenged the law. [02:49:50]

The big part of that that was horrible was the part about indecency. It was it was Congress’s attempt to regulate pornography. And in it they had this whole part about if, basically, if the internet was was not good enough for kids then it was bad. So things like, talking about sexuality, or curse words, or talking about assisted suicide. Talking about anything that would be a topic that wouldn’t be appropriate for kids, you could possibly have been fined two hundred fifty thousand dollars per violation for doing that on the Internet.

So along with this lawsuit, and that was, of course, the EFF and ACLU way of fighting it. John Perry Barlow in his way of putting pen to paper, or typing on the keyboard, came up with his Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace. I loved this thing from the very start. Cindy and I were just talking about this the other day. [02:51:04]

So I re-read it particularly getting ready for today. A whole bunch of this was about sovereignty. The way he wrote it was was basically daring governments from around the world to come in and regulate cyberspace and saying “you have no business here.” But the reason why I loved it was because the reason why he felt that cyberspace was so important to defend was speech. It was about the free speech. And here’s a quote from the declaration:

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

As a first amendment attorney yes as a first amendment attorney those those words still still give me chills. So in 1997, those indecency provisions of the CDA were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Yay us. And ten years later Barlow, was asked to defend or talk about his Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace. And he kind of talked a bit about the sovereignty your stuff but he gave us some more beautiful language that I’m going to share with you here. [02:52:27]

“I still dream of a world where anyone could express anything he or she chooses, no matter how odious or unpopular, without fear of official reprisal. I dream of a world where anyone else can either here or ignore those expressions as they choose, but will at least be able to make that choice with similar immunity. I dream of a world where anyone who wants to know something will be able to learn the truth about it, regardless of his or her economic status, social standing or race. I imagine a future where intelligence will be the primary economic resource and the location of one’s cerebral cavity will be irrelevant to the earning potential of its contents. I have not given up on the idea that as a species we can be more humane and fair. Nor have I forsaken the notion that the greater understanding bred by universal access to knowledge is the key to increasing these qualities in us.” [02:53:30]

Yeah. And that’s the thing about Barlow. He wanted to hear all different kinds of viewpoints. He knew more people who had divergent ways of looking at things, because that’s how he grew. That’s how he thrived. He was always learning. He always wanted to know more. He was always encouraging voices. He was always encouraging people to talk to each other. To have conversations where you normally wouldn’t maybe have thought that this was somebody that you might have something in common with. He was fascinating, and he was dynamic, and he helped us create an Internet that has all sorts of fascinating and dynamic speech in it. Thanks. [02:54:23]

Q & A

Cindy Cohn: Thanks. Maybe for Shari or any of you actually. Looking to the future (garbled question) So I believe if I can rephrase this “looking to the future how can freedom of the press or freedom of the Internet be manipulated by would be tyrants and how do we fight it?” I added that last part myself.

Shari Steele: Is that a hypothetical? I’m having little bit of trouble with this because I think we are seeing how it can be manipulated by would be tyrants, and that’s it’s pretty terrifying actually, because it requires us to be diligent about about paying attention and about following trails and about being honest with what actually is happening. The people who have the knowledge sharing that with us. I don’t know how that’s going to play out. I know that right now it makes it very scary. It brings a darkness to the communications that are not not making me feel comfortable.

***

Cindy Cohn: Here’s one maybe for Shari. Some people are advocating for an Internet Bill of Rights or a digital bill of rights. Net neutrality is now controversial (Cindy looks up and says “not in my house.”) How can we be sure that government regulation is appropriate for something like the Internet which is supposed to protect free thought. I did. I took some liberties with that question. [03:46:55]

Shari Steele: It’s a really hard one. So government regulation is a double edged sword. And anytime that we are trying to bring the government in you have to make sure that there isn’t overreaching. And a piece of legislation, as it gets started, as it was originally introduced often gets compromised in ways that you sometimes can’t even imagine what’s going to happen to it. That’s all a very long winded way of saying that it would be very difficult for me to answer that question in a vacuum. A particular piece of legislation is really the way you need to look at these kinds of issues as to whether or not it could be the solution that you’re looking for. I’m not doing day to day long legal work anymore, so I think that there are probably better people including Cindy, to answer this question so maybe she has something more enlightened than what I just shared. [03:48:04]

Cindy Cohn: Sure. I think that a way to parlay that. See what she does. I do think that the questions we need to ask ourselves is not whether the government should pass laws that regulate the Internet or whether it shouldn’t. I think there were some fundamental questions about that maybe early on, but the internet has always been a place where a law was going to apply in one way or another, and we have to ask ourselves the harder questions which is “How do we want law to apply in the online environment? And how do we make sure that we protect freedom from law even in this space where there’s going to be laws.” So Shari’s right. We do look at each question individually. I’ve never been sure that we needed an Internet Bill of Rights because we have a Bill of Rights. I’ve never thought that we needed Universal Declaration of Internet Rghts because we have an International Declaration of Human Rights and until we have the AI and we have to figure out what that codicil looks like. I think those rights will hold for us. If we’re smart, and we’re thoughtful, and we think carefully about how we want to apply them in this new context. I don’t think people need to worry. I don’t think we want to start from scratch again about whether we think the right for freedom of expression is something we want to protect or whether we think people want to be protected against search and seizure or whether we think people want to be able to be protected against summary execution. I think humanity’s thought all that through already and we came to mostly the right decisions. We need to make sure that we’re hyper careful about how those things get presented in in this new environment. And frankly that’s been my worry for the last 28 years and I don’t think we’re done yet. [03:49:58]

Transcription by Lisa Rein (Co-founder Aaron Swartz Day & Creative Commons, and friend of John Perry Barlow). Lisa Rein used Teme to start – and then cleaned it up by comparing it to the video, over many days :) Corrections are very much appreciated-please send them to: lisa[@]lisarein.com.

Complete transcription and video available here at the Internet Archive. (A complete index of all speakers is forming here on the Aaron Swartz Day website.)

A Little Note About All John Perry Stuff We’ve Been Publishing Lately

Hey you guys! We hope you know that you are not expected to read all of this John Perry Barlow Syposium content at once. On the contrary: there is so much of it because it’s not going to matter until later: when someone is researching that particular topic, about something relevant, happening in the present.

These posts are not about John Perry Barlow as much as they are discussing relevant questions about the future of our movement and our world.

Yes siree, we here at Aaron Swartz Day are into the present, and protecting the rights of living people. Not wallowing around in the shadows and sadness of the past; unless those shadows cast light on a current topic.

It was one of the requirements of Aaron’s family and friends that these events be celebrations and calls to action. (Although it’s important to continue to spread awareness about what happened to Aaron, as we keep learning.)

Why is it so important to look back on these and all events? Because, unfortunately, history tends to repeat itself. Not knowing that an idea has already been tried, and would have worked except for that one thing, is, potentially, our strength and their greatest weakness.

When they divide us, we are less likely to share this kind of information with each other. That’s why we need to share this kind of information with everybody constantly.

Our only hope is to index the truth faster than the powers that be can whitewash it.

Again, these indexes are for the future. Believe us, they will come in handy. Our archivists have learned from past experience: It’s a lot easier to index the present while you’re in it. And the inaccurate associations that historians often draw is a testament to that.

Plus how often is it that you get to index a historical time period while you are living it? That is the position that the Aaron Swartz Day team has found itself in. (That’s what our main partner, Internet Archive, tries to do on a daily basis.)

Alas, it would appear we have to fight many of the battles over again that we worked so hard on in the past. Net Neutrality, the First Amendment, and having control of our own bodies, just to name a few.

So, hang in there, as the content starts flying out, over these next few weeks and months.  It might not seem like everything is connected at first, but it is.

Pam Samuelson at the John Perry Barlow Symposium

(Left to Right) Mitch Kapor, Pam Samuelson, Trevor Timm, Cindy Cohn

This is from April 7, 2018. Complete transcription and video available here at the Internet Archive. (A complete index of all speakers is forming here on the Aaron Swartz Day website.)

Cindy Cohn: [01:16:30] Our next speaker is EFF current board member Pam Samuelson. Pam is the Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law at the Berkeley Law School and co-director of the Berkeley Center for Law and Technology. She’s been a member of the Board of Directors of EFF since 2000, and is proud to have succeeded John Perry Barlow as the Vice Chair of that Board. Although Barlow did make us give him another role which was the Rockin Vice Chair. I think it’s the Rocking Chair. Yeah, sorry about that.

She is also co-founder and chair of the Board of the Authors Alliance, a Non-profit Organization that represents the interests of authors like Barlow who want their work to be more widely available and who want to take advantage of opportunities to share their work in digital networked environments. Her most Barlowesque writing was “The Copyright Grab,” published by Wired, in January 1996. Now I’m going to try to riff Cory a little bit. Cory wanted to point out that the Internet has these natural pairings between kind of what Cory called “loony-ass visionary types” and serious, incredibly well-informed, sober, razor sharp adult supervision. (Often, women.) [01:18:12]

And I certainly inherited your role (looking over at Mitch Kapor) as the hyperbolectomy person for John Perry and as Cory points out those pairings are frequently devastating to our audience. You line them up Barlow and we’ll knock them down with the logic. I think the original one of these pairings was Pam Samuelson and John Perry Barlow on the question of copyright and the Internet. Pam?

Pam Samuelson: So, as requested. I will start with a quote that I really like from John Perry Barlow. “Think of the net as an ecosystem. It is a great rain forest of lifeforms. Ideas, which like organisms, these patterns of cells for reproducing, evolving, adaptive information that express themselves, and schemes of carbon, require other organized organisms to exist. Imagine the challenge of trying to write a song if you’ve never heard one. As in biology. what has lived before becomes the compost for what will live next. Moreover, when you borrow or for that matter, “steal” an idea that first took form in my head, it remains where it grew, and you, in no way, lessen its value by sharing it. On the contrary, my idea becomes more valuable, since in the informational space between your interpretation of it and mine, new species can grow. The more such spaces exists, the more fertile is the larger ecology of mind. [01:19:47]

So, Barlow’s major contribution in the field of copyright. And, he really did.Was “The Economy of Ideas” article that was published in 1994 in Wired magazine. And honestly, it’s been cited 742 times in the law review literature. Which, I’m telling you; there are people in my field who would just die to get that many citations, ok? So, Barlow made an impact on my field, but the wider impact of that article was really to galvanize a lot of people in the community who kind of came to understand that copyright – this obscure thing that we didn’t really like to think about – actually had some impact on our lives especially on the Internet. [01:20:40]

So, I wanted to spend most of my time talking about a conference that I was at, in Amsterdam, in the summer of 1996. And one of the keynotes of that conference was John Perry Barlow and consistent with “The Economy of Ideas” article, he started talking about the vision of the digital future as digital information was vaporous cargo, which exists either as a pure thought or something like thought, voltage conditions, darting around the net at the speed of light. Copyright might have made sense to thrive in the analog world, because Gutenberg notwithstanding, it was still hard to make a book. But copyright in the digital era, he thought, just didn’t work at all. [01:21:35]

And he spoke of efforts to keep the sinking ship of copyright afloat as taking three forms:

(1) A frenzy of deckchair rearrangement.

(2) Stern warnings to the passengers that if she goes down they will face harsh criminal penalties.

and

(3) Serene glassy eyed denial.

The other keynote speaker at this particular conference was Bruce Lehman, who was, at the time, the Head of the Patent and Trademark Office, and the Chief Intellectual Property Officer for the Clinton Administration. And he had just published this white paper on intellectual property and on the Internet, in which every temporary as well as permanent copy of any copyrighted work anywhere had to have permission in order for those digital copies to be made. An ISP should be strictly liable for every infringement of users, they would have a responsibility to monitor everything in everybody’s files, in order to make sure that there was no infringement, and everything was going to be a locked up. There was not going to be any fair use anymore. We don’t need fair use, because everything can be licensed. And this kind of heavily proprietary really really locked down everything approach was scary because this guy was the head of the government in charge of this particular policy. OK? [01:23:02]

So what we needed was a poet to galvanize and to make us all really understand and appreciate what was an alternate future to that which Bruce Lehman was setting out for laymen. Barlow was a dangerous charismatic anti-Christ. And for Barlow, Lehman was the captain of the ship that was sinking, of copyright, and so having these two people go at it was really one of the things to really remember.

Now it’s important actually that John Perry Barlow’s essay about this new economy, and the speeches that he gave, really did galvanize a lot of organizations and a lot of people, to become copyright activists. And I think that was a really important thing. Part of why was so different was that civil liberties organizations typically have thought “Oh copyright doesn’t matter, it’s a business law subject. It doesn’t have anything to do with us. And Barlow really got that copyright had a civil liberty dimension that we all really needed to appreciate, and we needed to make our voices about what copyright should do available to the world. [01:24:24]

So a favorite passage that I have from him about that is:

“When the primary articles of commerce and society look so much like speech as to be indistinguishable from it. And when the traditional methods of protecting ownership have become ineffectual attending to the problem with broader and more vigorous enforcement will inevitably threaten Freedom of Speech. The greatest constraint on your future liberties may come not from the government, but from the corporate legal departments laboring to protect, by force, what can no longer be protected by practical efficiency or by social consent.”

I think these kinds of words really inspired those of us connected with EFF, to really go out there and defend fair use. To defend our Freedom of Expression. To push for policies that were much less awful than the policies of Bruce Lehman was going for and if you think that copyright isn’t in too bad shape today, it’s partly because that galvanizing, which Barlow was part and parcel of, really worked. [01:25:32]

And the positive values of sharing have inspired so many other organizations, and I think it’s important to say: Many of you out there use Creative Commons licences, you enjoy the sharing of content, and John Perry was there at the launch of Creative Commons and it is now global and millions and millions of people use it, and it’s part of his legacy too.

So thank you and let’s celebrate his life.

Amelia Barlow at the Barlow Symposium

Amelia Barlow. at the Internet Archive’s John Perry Barlow Symposium, April 7, 2018.

This is from April 7, 2018. Complete transcription and video available here at the Internet Archive. (A complete index of all speakers is forming here on the Aaron Swartz Day website.)

Amelia Barlow: I want to just say I have the easiest job in this room. I would say. Because all I have to really do up here is say thank you, to all of you. I want to say thank you for embodying these ideas that were shared today. Continuing his legacy in the way that you work in the way that you live your lives. Also thank you for being the immune system, and protecting us from tyranny.

When he passed he entrusted us with the most valuable asset that I could possibly imagine, which is you. All of the people in this room. All of the people around the world who he cared about and cared about him.

This vast web of infinitely interesting and radical human beings that he gave to us. And I really appreciate that. So one of his guiding beliefs that I found really interesting is like the conservation of energy and this principle. No idea was created or destroyed. As you’ve heard many times today. So in that – all these all of this creativity is pulled from and return to this sort of cosmic soup or the Noosphere as Alden told me. This endless creative force has to be drawn upon anywhere at any time by anyone. As he shuffled off his meat prison. It seemed to be at the end there. He told me I was his squishy ware. There was almost an eruption of creative force. This sequestered essence that was living inside of him and he was immediately returned to this this collective soup pot. I feel like as he’s passed he’s almost bigger and bossier and more ubiquitous than ever. Certainly my life has been taken over.

But I just I feel like, in closing to this beautiful symposium. I just want to say that never before have you been able to draw more immediately and completely upon him. And I want you to feel that. So if you would do me – indulge me I guess I should say. And I want everybody to stand up. Please. [03:55:26]

I want you to stand up and close your eyes. I want you to take a moment. And really drink him. I want you to feel his essence. His thoughts. In this room. Feel him in the person next to you. I want you to feel him in the glorious light streaming through these windows. Feel him in the love in your heart. Feel him in the magic of opening yourself to this creative force. In this raw spirit. This unbridled freedom that he now has attained. [03:56:20]

1) Be patient. No matter what.

2) Don’t bad mouth. Assign responsibility. Never blame. Say nothing behind any other’s back that to you’d be unwilling to say in exactly the same tone and language to his face.

3) Assume the motives of others are never to them, less noble, than yours are to you.

4) Expand your sense of the possible.

5) Don’t trouble yourself with matters you truly cannot change.

6) Expect no more of anyone than you yourself can deliver.

7) Tolerate ambiguity.

8) Laugh at yourself frequently.

9) Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.

10) Never forget. No matter how certain; you might be wrong.

11) Give up bloodsports.

12) Remember your life belongs to others as well. Do not endanger it frivolously and never endanger the life of another.

13) Never lie to anyone for any reason. Lies of omission are sometimes exempt.

14) Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.

15) Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your own mission and pursue that.

16) Reduce your use of the first personal pronoun.

17) Praise at least as often as you disparage.

18) Never let your errors pass without omission.

19) Become less suspicious of joy.

20) Understand humility.

21) Forgive.

22) Foster dignity.

23) Live memorably.

24) Love yourself.

25) Endure.

26) Don’t be a dick.

Thank you.

***

Transcription by Lisa Rein (Co-founder Aaron Swartz Day & Creative Commons, and friend of John Perry Barlow). Lisa Rein used Teme to start – and then cleaned it up by comparing it to the video, over many days :) Corrections are very much appreciated-please send them to: lisa[@]lisarein.com.

Mitch Kapor Explains How He & John Perry Barlow Recorded Their Meeting with the CIA – at the #BarlowSymposium

(left to right) Mitch Kapor, Pam Samuelson, Trevor Timm, Cory Doctorow, Cindy Cohn

This is from April 7, 2018. Complete transcription and video available here at the Internet Archive. (A complete index of all speakers is forming here on the Aaron Swartz Day website.)

Below is Mitch Kapor’s entire opening talk AND his two Q & A answers. CIA story here.

Cindy Cohn: So let’s start with our esteemed panel.. let me start with Mitch Kapor. He’s a pioneer of the tech industry and a longtime startup investor. He founded Lotus Development Corporation and designed Lotus 1 2 3. The first killer app which made the personal computers ubiquitous in business. He’s the co-founder with Barlow and John Gilmore of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. He was the founding chair of Mozilla, creator of the Firefox web browser, and currently he works to bring together the worlds of business and social impact and to diversify the tech ecosystem.

One of the things that Mitch gave us, that we still use all the time at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is the idea that architecture is politics. That the idea of embedding cooperation, mutual aid and the sense of civic duty into the Internet’s protocols and operations makes our world better, and that we need to continue to push for that.

So now, without further ado, Mitch Kapor.

Mitch Kapor: Thank you Cindy, and hello to everyone. So many old friends and familiar faces here today. I thought I would read just five short sentences from EFF’s first public statement. “Across the electronic frontier.” It bears both of our names as authors but as you’ll hear it’s really in John’s voice and it sets the tone for what was to come. [01:10:00]

(He starts reading:) “Over the last 50 years the people of the developed world have begun to cross into a landscape unlike any which humanity has experienced before. Cyberspace, the repository for all digital or electronically transferred information, will be the venue for most of what is now commerce, industry, and broad scale human interaction. It is the homeland of the information age. The place where the future is destined to dwell. Certainly the old concepts of property, expression, identity, movement, and context, based as they are on physical manifestation, do not apply succinctly in a world where there can be none. Sovereignty over this new world is also not well-defined. It is therefore a perfect breeding ground for both outlaws and vigilantes.” [01:10:58]

So first of all, this was in 1990. If you can think back, or look back if you’re not old enough to have been there, just prehistoric times. Five years before the web as we know it was even born. Almost no one was on the Internet. It was still very much a research and military driven network that was just beginning to be made available to the public. But Barlow absolutely nailed its essential character and what was going to happen. And that was his genius. And that expression of it was quintessentially Barlovian and it was visionary and poetic. But what he said had enormous practical consequences. And my role in this; I did a bunch of things. I brought some money. I brought some entrepreneurial energy. But as John liked to say I always came equipped to provide Barlow with a hyperbolectomy.

But at the same time, you should know, that so many of the stories that he told were literally true, not literarily true. So, for instance, as he wrote in Crime and Puzzlement. I really did detour my jet to Pinedale, Wyoming. I was on a trip from Boston (where I lived at the time in Silicon Valley) and I could not stop thinking about the dangerous ignorance of the law enforcement’s vendetta against teenage cyberspace vandals and I needed to talk to the only other person I knew who really got it and that was John Perry Barlow. And I flew the jet and stopped in Pinedale, and we connected, and you know the connection was one, a bit the way alien abductees sharing their UFO experiences have. They’re just trying to make sense of this weird thing that’s happened to them, and how to tell it to the larger world. (And that was his metaphor by the way.) [01:13:27]

And thus was born a partnership and like a rock band, unsurprisingly we took our show on the road, not to the Fillmore, but to hearing rooms in the Senate and the house, and inside the bowels of the CIA (where we smuggled in listening devices), into the heart of Silicon Valley, into more than a few dark basements of teenage hackers, and more than one courtroom. (Note! More on the CIA recording in the Q & A answer below).

Yes, the EFF got its start as a civil liberties organization, and for decades, I resented the way The Wall Street Journal characterized us as a “hacker defense fund,” but you know that’s not completely unfair. The issue was it wasn’t just that. Civil liberties were a place where Barlow and I came together, despite our very different politics. But the legacy of EFF, and what we created and what he brought to it, was far more than that.

In hindsight, the biggest impact that I think we had, was in raising consciousness. That these issues matter: property, expression, identity, and movement, and that things were changing, and they were going to change a lot and soon. And there was an urgency to get ahead of the issues before the issues got ahead of us. And to do it in a way that was as thoughtful and as generous of spirit as possible. [01:15:12]

And one of the moments of which he and I were both justifiably proud, was when, the first time, we saw in one room, the hackers and the feds shaking hands and seeing each other as human beings and not faceless enemies. Well, it’s nearly 30 years later now. If anything, I think we underestimated the transformative impact of information technology. And while the crises of today are deeply, deeply troubling, I believe we’re all better off for having gotten an early start; even if, as is surely the case least, if you ask me, we got some of it right and a lot of it wrong. But Barlow never gave up hope and neither should we. And I can feel his generous and optimistic spirit right here in the room today inspiring all of us. Thank you. [01:16:30]

*****

Audience Question: “What did you disagree with Barlow about?”

Mitch Kapor: We really disagreed about whether government could have a constructive role in addressing some of the considerations to get appropriate (Stops. Thinks.)

Well, look at it this way: I thought there was a place for appropriate regulation; public policy around telecommunications and infrastructure, and led EFF on a death march to Washington D.C. and its early days, to try to bring that about. And John, at that point, was a pretty resolute libertarian; the less government the better. I lost that battle entirely, both in D.C. and how it was resolved and EFF became, and was, staunchly libertarian. John Gilmore and I and others, in that phase of things. So it was only later that I came to understand that really the only thing that liberals and libertarians agree about is civil liberties. On pretty much everything else, they’re on you’re on opposite sides. Nonetheless, the fact that we disagreed didn’t reduce the intensity of feeling we had for each other. [01:56:10]

****

Audience question: Can you describe a moment that you and John had that frightened you?

Mitch Kapor: Yeah I alluded to it. We were invited into the CIA, this is early days, to just talk about the issues that we were we were working on. And in Langley, in the headquarters. I’ve never been there. I don’t think John had ever been at that point. And it’s this big fortress and there are lots of signs about no recording devices and turn everything in. And John and I conferred and we devised a plan. We said “well, can we bring in our laptops?” This is in the early 1990s. Yes, actually if you check the laptop, (they said) you can bring your laptop.

Our laptops were recording devices. This was brand new at that point that our Macs had mics in them and audio capture software and this wasn’t a common thing and we said to each other “I wonder if the CIA knows this?” [02:01:50]

So we were scared. And they didn’t know that. And we went in and recorded the meeting inside the bowels of the CIA. Quite illegally. We thought of it as a sort of science experiment. I mean, we didn’t just want to make claims that the government was cluefull or clueless. We wanted to see. Since they made such a big point about the security saying you know understood that Mac duo had a…and they didn’t. But we were pretty nervous going in. That’s a true story!

Transcription by Lisa Rein (Co-founder Aaron Swartz Day & Creative Commons, and friend of John Perry Barlow). Lisa Rein used Teme to start – and then cleaned it up by comparing it to the video, over many days :) Corrections are very much appreciated-please send them to: lisa[@]lisarein.com.