Didn’t know much about Aaron Swartz until recently. He committed suicide after the fear of being in prison for almost all his life. He was a great programmer, activist, full of great ideas about free information and with many dreams. At age of 14 he co-authored the RSS 1.0 project. He seems to have been a great combination of good intentions, intelligence and fairness. He dreamed of freely sharing information, of finding a way around to the stupidity of patent laws (seriously some of them are truly ridiculous). Big loss for those who fight for fairness in this world. There are two interesting blog posts I read so far about him, one from a someone who knew him personally danah boyd and other post arguing in his defense and the unfairness of the 35 year sentence. His family’s official statement is here, they blame MIT and JSTOR for this.
“Punishment sometimes don’t seem to fit the crime,” and definitely it was not fair to condem him for 35 years of prison just because he wanted to share the scientific articles of MIT to the world. People do that all the time. Sometimes you can get a scientific article just by asking the author. I feel saddened when these things happen, specially if it involves smart, creative and good people. Who knows the great things he could have done for humanity… RIP for Aaron Swartz.
Good bye Aaron Swartz.
Here some explanation about some of the irony of Intelectual Property.
P.S: I refer to a great site in Spanish for “Hacktivistas y Cultura Libre” where a friend and former Scientist of Yahoo Labs! actively participates.
Update: Now, you can liberate knowledge in JSTOR LIBERATOR site! People like Aaron can leave this world but they will influence others to continue unfinished tasks.