1/13/2013: I wrote about the incident below back in 2011. JSTOR decided not to prosecute, but US Attorney Carmen Ortiz did – asking for 30 years imprisonment. Aaron Swartz committed suicide a few days ago, at age 26. The NYT has a story here and open access websites have many memorials, including boingboing.net and this from Swartz’s partner in the famous PACER episode, Carl Malamud. (Malamud also persuaded the Oregon Legislature to stop enforcing copyright limits on publishing state laws, and helped get the Oregon DOJ to post its Public Records Manual online.) A memorial page is here: http://www.rememberaaronsw.com/
2011 update: It turns out this is the same Robin Hood, aka Aaron Swartz, who worked with Carl Malamud to make the federal court “PACER” database freely available. Story here, excellent software here. The difference, of course, is that court records are not copyrighted, while journal articles are. Hence the arrest.
7/19/2011: If I understand this NYT story right, this 24-year-old Robin Hood was arrested for stealing the entire JSTOR database from MIT so he could post it on file sharing sites for anyone to download.
So? JSTOR was set up as a non-profit, with donations from the Mellon Foundation, to make academic journal articles easily available online. Now it’s a feeding trough for a bunch of overpaid execs who hide my research behind a paywall. I count 8 with compensation above $250,000. From old data on their 2009 IRS form. Offices on 5th Avenue?! Plus it has a sucky interface. I pity these people if Carl Malamud decides to get involved.