Cattle rancher, lyricist for the Grateful Dead and internet pioneer who became a digital rights activistJohn Perry Barlow, who has died aged 70 after a long period of ill health, started as a cattle rancher, wrote lyrics for the Grateful Dead, and then became a digital rights activist and a champion of free speech on the internet. His ideas captured the mood of a generation that believed people could reinvent themselves in a new virtual world with no government controls and no national boundaries. And, by the way, where they could share digital music and movies without paying for them. As Barlow pointed out, digital goods, unlike physical goods, could be infinitely replicated at zero cost.
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