New York Law School professor James Grimmelmann eulogizes Aaron Swartz, the open information and internet activist who recently committed suicide in the face of a computer trespass prosecution.
Grimmelmann describes Swartz’s journey from “wunderkind prodigy who came out of nowhere when he was 14” to “classic activist-organizer,” paying special attention to the ideas that motivated his work. According to Grimmelmann, Swartz was primarily interested in power being held by the wrong people and how to overcome it through community organizing. Swartz was dedicated to his personal theory of change and believed that people who know how to use computers have a duty to undermine the closed-access system from within.
It was this ardent belief that led Swartz to surreptitiously download academic articles from JSTOR. Grimmelmann closely analyzes the case, providing a balanced view of both the prosecution’s and Swartz’s view of the issue. Grimmelmann additionally suggests possible policy reforms brought to light by Schwartz’s case.
- Aaron Swartz, Was 26, Grimmelmann
- My Career as a Bulk Downloader, Grimmelmann
- Aaron Swartz, Coder and Activist, Dead at 26, WIRED
- Law Professor James Grimmelmann Explains How He Probably Violated The Same Laws As Aaron Swartz, Techdirt