Barlow on Internet and the Law

"I come from a place where law is a very recent arrival. When I was in the cattle business, I never signed a contract. In Sublette County, Wyoming, lawyers are for people who are too gutless to shoot. In fact, I'd rather be shot. I think that a society that becomes as legalistic as the one that we live in loses all track of ethics as a method of controlling itself. There's an inverse relationship between ethics and law. The Internet is developing very, very fast. And law has a rate of development that is second only to geology in stateliness. It's a fundamental mismatch. So we're going to have to come up with systems that are a lot more like the ones I grew up with. That has some ugly side effects, like vigilantism, which I have already seen happen."

"One of the things about a legalistic society is that it proceeds from the assumption that people are bad, which I don't personally think is true and I think we're going to have a chance to find out on the Internet."