Newsworthy indeed… after an extended hiatus, I am finally enthralled enough to engage in dialogue on the free culture movement that began not long ago.
For those familiar with the death of Aaron Swartz, and his previous involvement with “illegally” accessing and downloading thousands of JSTOR academic articles to the public domain, his sudden death and the months leading up to it are full of both mystery and tragedy. JSTOR did not press charges against Swartz for releasing information. That much is true. So who is to blame? Was he targeted by federal authorities? To what extend should his actions been punishable? What role did MIT play in his arrests and prosecution & even his suicide?
The supposed “neutrality” of MIT in this case is upsetting…is this the money talking? What does the 180 page report on MIT’s involvement really suggest? What does Aaron’s death say about the rhetoric of news presentation? So many questions have gone unanswered. I feel a sense of duty to his free cultural movement, and to the Millennial Generation– we need to inform others about this suggestively abusive case. I know where I stand as a new media & free culture activist; I am under the impression that I have much to learn about the history behind this case, but I am still certain that as a member of the digital age, we are all entitled to share information. I am fulfilling that purpose.
“In an open letter, the M.I.T. president, L. Rafael Reif, applauded the “careful account” that he said set “the record straight by dispelling widely circulated myths.” The report, he said, “makes clear that M.I.T. did not ‘target’ Aaron Swartz, we did not seek federal prosecution, punishment or jail time, and we did not oppose a plea bargain.” -NY Times
As unclear as everything may seem, it is imperative that we decide what is right….each of us have as much power as Aaron once did..
What do you believe?
180 page MIT Report: http://swartz-report.mit.edu/docs/report-to-the-president.pdf