Aaron Swartz committed suicide because of the US DOJ’s persecution of him over the JSTOR journal articles. Carl Malamud is the man who persuaded the Oregon Legislature to stop trying to claim copyright to Oregon Law, and who helped me get the Oregon AG’s Public Records Manual online, despite legal threats from John Kroger’s Oregon DOJ.
There are a lot of moving obituaries and remembrances of Aaron here. Carl’s explains how much good this man did in his 13 incredibly effective years of fighting for the cause of transparency and open government:
But JSTOR was just one of many battles. They tried to paint Aaron as some kind of lone-wolf hacker, a young terrorist who went on a crazy IP killing spree that caused $92 million in damages.
Aaron wasn’t a lone wolf, he was part of an army, and I had the honor of serving with him for a decade. You have heard many things about his remarkable life, but I want to focus tonight on just one.
Aaron was part of an army of citizens that believes democracy only works when the citizenry are informed, when we know about our rights—and our obligations. An army that believes we must make justice and knowledge available to all—not just the well born or those that have grabbed the reigns of power—so that we may govern ourselves more wisely.
He was part of an army of citizens that rejects kings and generals and believes in rough consensus and running code.