Aaron Swartz has died

I woke this morning to the terrible, terrible news that Aaron Swartz has committed suicide. He was one of the early friends and boosters of the Monkey Cage, an utterly decent and brilliant young man, who seemed possessed of endless energy for a variety of good causes. He was under indictment from the Department of Justice for having downloaded millions of JSTOR articles in breach of terms of service, a crime for which they proposed to sentence him to decades of prison time. He will be missed.

8 Responses to Aaron Swartz has died

  1. Lionel Henry January 12, 2013 at 10:20 am #

    Decades of prison time for copyright infringement… Has the world gone mad?!?
    Especially considering that science articles should be public domain, not a business.

  2. RobC January 12, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    For the record, Swartz was being prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice, not the Boston DA. The indictment was for wire fraud, computer fraud and hacking.

  3. Alan T. January 12, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

    I see that Swartz co-authored the RSS 1.0 specification at the age of 14! I benefit from this work every day, including every time I read “The Monkey Cage”.

    I completely agree with Lionel Henry’s comment. Restricting access to JSTOR’s articles to a limited few does not serve the original intent of U.S. intellectual property law to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.”

    • Alan T. January 12, 2013 at 2:58 pm #

      P.S. I did not mean to suggest that JSTOR is the villain. As John Sides helpfully pointed out, they are in the process of relaxing their access restrictions. Rather, I meant to say that our IP laws do not seem to serve their original intent.

  4. Henry Farrell January 12, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    Thanks RobC – fixed.

  5. Jean Abecassis January 13, 2013 at 6:19 am #

    Every support for freedom is welcome, espescially when it breaks the law: it mean that the people in power have something ti hide and it is the duty of every free man to cunter this kind of terrorism. the only limit to freedom is the protectection of the citizen private life. any other item is fair game.
    Nobody needs weapon to defend his or her freedom : if so, the cause is not fair.
    Long life to real democracy. Aaron Schwarz, you have not died in vain

  6. Wheeler's Cat January 13, 2013 at 8:50 am #

    Good journey Aaron Schwartz. May your information never grow less.

  7. Jacob Lyles January 13, 2013 at 2:30 pm #

    Keeping his cause alive is the best tribute.