[Aaaron Swartz]…was essential in the development of two tools I use every day (RSS and Reddit), and though his guerilla attempt to upload all papers on JSTOR was perhaps unstrategic, it was certainly noble enough in cause. Before his death Aaron was facing nearly 35 years in prison for his role in mass-downloading JSTOR articles, which is an insane penalty for attempting to share information. We don’t know why Aaron chose to take his life, but when @la_feufollet and I tried to brainstorm a tribute to him, my first thought was a guerilla PDF uploading campaign in honor of his fight for open access.
I have been a constant proponent of open source in terms of academic research and other intellectual work. The benefit to the creator and users of openly sharing information is much greater than the value of royalties for articles that might be typically read by 4 or 5 people.
The draconian persecution without resort to reason, of people who work with digital information and understand how sharing can enrich society beyond monetary compensation in some instances needs to be discussed, slowed down, and stopped. The US will not prosper from trying eke out every commercial penny from efforts that will enrich the world and lead to greater commercial and other successes because of the power of shared information and collaborative thinking.