Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Justice: What happened to being JUST?

Came across an article today about Aaron Swartz a 26 year old American computer programmer, writer, archivist, political organizer, and Internet activist.

This guy for as young as he is accomplished alot:

Swartz was a member of the RSS-DEV Working Group that co-authored the "RSS 1.0" specification of RSS,[2] and built the website framework and the architecture for the Open Library. He also built Infogami, a company that merged with Reddit in its early days, through which he became an equal owner of the merged company. Swartz also focused on sociology, civic awareness and activism. In 2010 he was a member of the Harvard University Center for Ethics. He cofounded the online group Demand Progress (known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act) and later worked with U.S. and international activist groups Rootstrikers and Avaaz.
On January 6, 2011, as a result of a federal investigation, Swartz was arrested in connection with systematic downloading of academic journalarticles from JSTOR.[3][4] Swartz opposed JSTOR's practice of compensating publishers, rather than authors, out of the fees it charges for access to articles. Swartz contended that JSTOR's fees limited access to academic work produced at American colleges and universities - Wikipedia 
On January 11, 2013, Swartz was found hanged in his, Brooklyn apartment. Following his death, federal prosecutors in Boston dismissed the charges against him. 
Personally I think alot of important people felt threatened because of his involvement in a campaign to prevent the passing of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) bill that sought to monitor the Internet for copyright violations and would have made it easier for the U.S. government to shut down websites accused of violating copyright. I think he believed in the freedom that is the internet, its an entity that cant be confined. According to Wikipedia, Following the defeat of the bill, Swartz was the keynote speaker at the F2C:Freedom to Connect 2012 event in Washington, D.C., on May 21, 2012. His speech was titled "How we stopped SOPA"[29] and he informed the audience:
"There's a battle going on right now, a battle to define everything that happens on the internet in terms of traditional things that the law understands... [Under SOPA], new technology, instead of bringing us greater freedom, would have snuffed out fundamental rights we'd always taken for granted".
Conspiracy... okay he was caught downloading logging into JSTOR, a database of scholarly articles, and rapidly downloading those articles with the intent to make them public, which is piracy, and is illegal. but he did it under principle. whats the use of a copyright when authors werent getting commission for their hard work but the publishers were... 
An article in Care2 "Aaron Swartz Faced a More Severe Prison Term Than Killers, Slave Dealers and Bank Robbers" by  , explains how Swartz would have faced 50 years in prison. Not even some federal crimes including, manslaughter, Selling Child Pornography, Helping al-Qaeda Develop A Nuclear Weapon etc., is punished so severely.

Read more from Care2

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