Tim Berners Lee on Aaron Swartz

  We have lost... Aaron was a huge, magnificent person. I suppose when people talk of a meteoric career you can think of a meteor as something amazing and bright. Also, alas, as something short. A spark, that in Aaron’s case is out - but what an incredible spark he was! Blazing across the dark sky of ordinary people, broken systems, a shining force for good, a maker of great things. Continue reading Tim Berners Lee on Aaron Swartz

License Haiku (Aaron Swartz: The Weblog)

License Haiku Update: More licenses at QuickTopic, raph’s weblog. I think that people really use software licenses to express intentions, and don’t really read the details of the licenses. So I think that licenses should be made as simple as possible, so that they don’t disagree with intentions… thus, haiku licensing: PD: do what you feel like / since the work is abandoned / the law doesn’t care MIT: take my code with you / and do whatever you want / but please don’t blame me LGPL: you can copy this / but make modified versions / free in source code form MPL: like LGPL / except netscape is allowed / to change the license GPL: if you use this code / you and your children’s children / must make your source free RIAA: if you touch this file / my lawyers will come kill you / so kindly refrain posted June 20, 2002 11:08 PM (Politics) # Nearby http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/000360 Enjoy the Day... Brian Sullivan

Aaron Swartz: He wanted to save the world. Why couldn’t he save himself?

He was fascinated by large systems, and how an organization’s culture and values could foster innovation or corruption, collaboration or paranoia. Why does one group accept a 14-year-old as an equal partner among professors and professionals while another spends two years pursuing a court case that’s divorced from any sense of proportionality to the alleged crime? How can one sort of organization develop a young man like Aaron Swartz, and how can another destroy him? http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/02/aaron_swartz_he_wanted_to_save_the_world_why_couldn_t_he_save_himself.html Enjoy the Day... Brian Sullivan

Memory to myth: tracing Aaron Swartz through the 21st century | The Verge

As he said in 2012 in his "How We Stopped SOPA" speech: It will happen again. Sure, it will have yet another name, and maybe another excuse, and it will do its damage in a different way. But make no mistake: the enemies of the freedom to connect have not disappeared. The fire in those politicians’ eyes hasn’t been put out. There are a lot of people, a lot of powerful people, who want to clamp down on the internet. And to be honest, there aren’t a lot who have a vested interest in protecting it from all of that... We won this fight because everyone made themselves the hero of their own story. Everyone took it as their job to save this crucial freedom... If we forget that, if we let Hollywood rewrite the story so that it was just big company Google who stopped the bill, if we let them persuade us that we didn’t actually make a difference, and we start seeing it as someone else’s responsibility to do this work, and it’s our job to just go home and pop some popcorn and curl up on the couch to watch Transformers — well then, next time, they might just win. Let’s not let that happen. http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/22/3898584/aaron-swartz-profile-memory-to-myth Enjoy the Day... Brian Sullivan

Memory to myth: tracing Aaron Swartz through the 21st century | The Verge

Aaron knew that the internet had transformed how knowledge could be shared, and had seen first-hand that different approaches to intellectual property were possible. He’d helped to create them. The technical limitations, once identified, could be isolated and solved. The structures could be worked out within the boundaries of the law. What remained were the moneyed interests who stood to lose from the emerging transformation of intellectual property. The copyright fights of the early ‘00s showed that these organizations were willing to use the law and bully ordinary people to enforce those interests. It also showed that, where the law failed, they would use their wealth and visibility to try to change the law. http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/22/3898584/aaron-swartz-profile-memory-to-myth Enjoy the Day... Brian Sullivan

Memory to myth: tracing Aaron Swartz through the 21st century | The Verge

Creative Commons After his work on RSS, Aaron dropped out of high school and became a frequent speaker at tech conferences. He met Lawrence Lessig and worked with him, Abelson, and Eric Eldred on the newly-formed Creative Commons. Lessig and the other founders of Creative Commons had articulated the need for a less-restrictive form of copyright that could still speak the language of existing copyright law. They didn’t know how to translate the legal architecture of copyright licenses into software. A text article could include a footnote identifying it as protected under Creative Commons. But once an MP3 file went onto a website or a file-sharing network and got separated from its README document, it didn’t matter what copyright option its creator chose. A typical user looking to share or modify the file had no way to tell what was permitted and what wasn’t. And since Creative Commons at the time sought to be a searchable archive for donated works, the nonprofit needed an easy, standard way to gather and sort files according to the type of license associated with it. Creative Commons copyright needed to be machine-readable. Luckily, Aaron Swartz was both an expert on metadata and a true believer in the project of sharing knowledge and creative work as widely as possible. He had a mind that appreciated the finer parts of law and the finer arts of deftly-deployed code. He joined Creative Commons as an RDF Advisor, and helped develop embed codes that could be incorporated manually or automatically to mark files’ copyright protection. Lessig may be why the legal protections and possibilities of Creative Commons exist, but Aaron’s work (and that of those who succeeded him) is why you can mark a photo’s copyright protection when you upload it to Flickr, or perform a search restricted to CC material to find pictures you can legally share on your website. http://www.theverge.com/2013/1/22/3898584/aaron-swartz-profile-memory-to-myth Enjoy the Day... Brian Sullivan

Copywrong – The New Yorker

Before the Internet, the social cost of this obstacle was minimal. Only a few people had the time and the inclination to travel to where they could see or listen to archived broadcasts. But today, when everything can be made available to the entire world at minimal expense, it seems absurd to hold enormous amounts of content hostage to the threat of legal action from the odd descendant. “That a vast existing cultural patrimony, already paid for and amortized, sits locked behind legal walls, hostage to outmoded notions of property, when at the flick of a switch it could belong to all humanity—that is little short of grotesque, ” http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/10/20/crooner-rights-spat Enjoy the Day... Brian Sullivan

The Darker Side of Aaron Swartz – The New Yorker

blog post titled “Why Am I So Upset About Aaron Swartz’s Suicide?” in which he asked himself why the death of someone he didn’t know, and had never heard of until his arrest, had affected him so profoundly, when most tragedies in the news—wars, natural disasters, school shootings—left him cold. “Aaron Swartz is what I wish I was,” he wrote. “I am a bright technologist, but I’ve never built anything of note. I have strong opinions about how to improve this world, but I’ve never acted to bring them to pass. I have thoughts every day that I would share with the world, but I allow my fears to convince me to keep them to myself. If I were able to stop being afraid of what the world would think of me, I could see myself making every decision that Aaron made that ultimately led to his untimely death. This upsets me immensely. I am upset that we have a justice system that would persecute me the way it did Aaron. I am upset that I have spent 27 years of my life having made no discernible difference to the world around me.” http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/03/11/requiem-for-a-dream Enjoy the Day... Brian Sullivan

The Darker Side of Aaron Swartz – The New Yorker

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. . . . Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable. . . . We can fight back. Those with access to these resources—students, librarians, scientists—you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not—indeed, morally, you cannot—keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/03/11/requiem-for-a-dream Enjoy the Day... Brian Sullivan

The Darker Side of Aaron Swartz – The New Yorker

Stealing is wrong. But downloading isn’t stealing. If I shoplift an album from my local record store, no one else can buy it. But when I download a song, no one loses it and another person gets it. There’s no ethical problem. The evidence that downloading hurts sales is weak, but even if downloading did hurt sales, that doesn’t make it unethical. Libraries, video rental places, and used book stores (none of which pay the artist) hurt sales too. Is it unethical to use them? http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/03/11/requiem-for-a-dream Enjoy the Day... Brian Sullivan