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View Diary: Aaron Swartz Was Going Home With a Slap On The Wrist. Then The Feds Got Involved (274 comments)

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  •  Regardless of how you frame it he STOLE nothing (7+ / 0-)

    Downloading from JSTOR is like borrowing a book and he had legal access through with the password MIT gave him.  He borrowed too many and returned them. As far as JSTOR was concerned that was the end of it and  dropped their charges, encouraging MIT to so the same.  All Aaron did was violate JSTOR's TOS, somehow in your mind and these overzealous prosecutors, that rose to the level of a 13 count felony indictment.

    BTW, all of the material he accessed was provided to JSTOR for free and are actually public domain.  JSTOR has now released all those articles for free. That material belongs to ALL OF US and should have been free to everyone in the first place.

    "Information is power. But like all power there are those who want to keep it for themselves" Aaron Swartz, 1986 - 2013

    by TheMomCat on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 08:18:30 PM PST

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    •  Even giving your argument ... (0+ / 0-)

      the benefit of the doubt, Swartz "borrowed" material with the intent of making it available to others for free, thus robbing JSTOR of its rights to fees for providing a service.   And he only "returned" them after he was arrested, he didn't do it because of any attack of conscience.  If a bank robber, after arrest, returns money he stole, should the cops just drop the charges?

      And, although I haven't looked into it, I have to believe your claim that Swartz had authorized access is false to some degree; that's just not believable given that he hid his laptop (and his face) on MIT's premises.  If he had legitimate access, he could have downloaded to his heart's content from his own home, no?  Not to mention the fact that the feds and state authorities would have had no basis for bringing any charges if no crimes were actually committed.  I don't know if this case was put to a grand jury (or two), but it's likely it was and that MANY people found grounds existed for an indictment to issue.

      As to JSTOR, the material may have been provided to it without charge (again, assuming, arguendo, that what you claim is true), but JSTOR paid to make it available to the public ... and charged a fee to recoup those expenses, and eventually profit, which is the purpose of a business.  Whether or not the material SHOULD have been provided to the public for free by its authors, the authors did not make it available.  If they'd wanted to, they could all have made their work available through Scribd (and the like).  (That Scribd now charges for downloading just proves that no one is going to provide stuff for free forever; they wind up LOSING money if they do.)  I'd imagine that most of the information is also available through Google Scholar ... for free.

      If Swartz' cause was so just, why didn't he just do what JSTOR did to obtain access to the documents and then provide them to the public for free himself?  It's clear that, in many regards, despite his "genius", he just didn't think things through.

      "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

      by Neuroptimalian on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:08:04 AM PST

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