The case against Aaron Swartz

Max Kennerly has posted the best legal overview I’ve seen of the Aaron Swartz indictment. He analyzes whether there’s actually a case to be made, and finds many weaknesses in the indictment, concluding that “the whole case looks like the iPhone prototype saga again: a civil claim that some overly aggressive prosecutor is trying to dress up as a federal crime. JSTOR has more than adequate civil remedies for whatever transpired here.” The worse problem: “This prosecution will give every “hacker” — and I use that term in a complimentary fashion, like the UNIX hackers of old, the people who built the Internet and its tools through creativity and determination — pause before they do anything outside of a bona fide API. The chilling effects will make us all worse off.” So this relates to the ongoing question whether we can sustain the free and open character of the Internet as monied interests come increasingly into play.

Author: Jon Lebkowsky

Co-wrangler of Plutopia News Network, cohost Radio Free Plutopia. Podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. Former editor/publisher, FringeWare Review; associate editor at bOING bOING and Factsheet Five; writer at Mondo 2000, 21C, Wired, Whole Earth Review, Austin Chronicle; sub-editor at Millennium Whole Earth Catalog; blogger at Worldchanging. Digital culture maven, podcaster, writer, dharma observer, enzyme. On The WELL, Cohost of VC (virtual communities), Media, and Civil War (.ind) conferences.

2 thoughts on “The case against Aaron Swartz”

  1. Pj says:

    Why no link to what you’re commenting on? Google can find it for me, I guess, but it could also find the iPhone prototype saga…

  2. jonl says:

    Just an oversight, many thanks for pointing it out. I’ve added the link.

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