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Thread: Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles

  1. #11
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    Re: Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Ikari View Post
    That's the point of research. Why the hell would you put all the time and effort into figuring something out if you're not going to write a paper and tell people what you've figured out? And from what it seems, this was a subscription based catalog (most likely from the sounds of it journals and such) which he was granted access to through MIT. MIT pays for that subscription and allowed access to it. It's like my University. I have access to all those too. Journal of Applied Physics. Physical Review Letters, Physical Review A, blah blah blah blah. I've downloaded COUNTLESS articles. Hell, my published articles are in those databases (well the PRA one anyway). This is academia and how academia works. This is nothing more than a witch hunt and I do firmly believe someone should be getting in trouble for fraudulent charges and false arrest.
    While you and I agree on most issues, I have to side with MIT here. Being a musician, I understand the loss with the ability to make a living due to someone stealing your intellectual property. It is theft, pure and simple.
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    Re: Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles

    Publishers make huge amounts of money off the governement. I'm quite confident that the vast majority of the research articles this guy downloaded were written with public funding, summarizing research that was conducted using public funding - probably all under the same grant.

    A scientist's notoriety and career itself is heavily dependent on publishing in these journals - it's pretty much required. But, when the scientist submits something for publication, he must agree to transfer the copyright to the publisher. The scientist gains notoriety, but no direct financial benefit.

    The journal editor may receive small compensation for reviewing the article, but the other 2 or 3 peer reviewers do so free of charge (it looks good on their CV). The publisher does very little work, but sells its journal packages to libraries for tens of thousands of dollars per year. Some of the larger publishers pull in well over a billion dollars a year off of publicly funded work and smart, hardworking people who typically make less than 100k a year.

    So:
    Government pays for research -> Scientist performs work -> Publisher takes copyright, prints the work, and sells it for huge profit -> Government (libraries) buy the work it funded so that others can gain the benefit.

    It's not quite that simple, (i'm selling the publisher short a bit), but that's the gist.

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    Re: Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles

    While you and I agree on most issues, I have to side with MIT here. Being a musician, I understand the loss with the ability to make a living due to someone stealing your intellectual property. It is theft, pure and simple.
    Except for the fact that downloading an artist's music does not remove that artist's ability to make a living.

    I don't see how this is hacking whatsoever. As an MIT student, he has access to the same amount of data on JSTOR as any other student, the only difference being that he chose to access it all at once. Now they're trying to claim that because he accessed too much data at once that he's stealing it? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    The question seems to be whether or not he violated MIT's ToS by spoofing his Mac address. IMO mounting a criminal trial on the basis of a violation of ToS is absolutely absurd, as ToS are a contractual agreement. At the very most, this should be a civil case.

    Also I'd like to point out that JSTOR did not press charges, and has basically implied that they disagree with the trial.
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    Re: Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles

    Quote Originally Posted by danarhea View Post
    While you and I agree on most issues, I have to side with MIT here. Being a musician, I understand the loss with the ability to make a living due to someone stealing your intellectual property. It is theft, pure and simple.
    It's not theft, it's piracy. There is a difference. But since that line of reasoning has already been debated time and time again, I'll just say that if you don't understand the distinction by now, then you never will.

    Would you be content knowing that your living means other people are going to jail or being fined into oblivion so that your right to making profits is secured? That's what this is about. It's not about people stealing ideas and plagiarizing (which is mainly what IP laws were created for), but some imaginary right to continue to make profits. In the case of big corporations, the public is being attacked so that they can maintain obscene profits.

    The IP system is broken. It needs fixing. I support any and all means that the online community has at its disposal to undermine the current system. I feel sorry for the little guy, but unfortunately the big haunchos have defiled the entire IP system with their corruption and they need to be brought to their knees.

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    Re: Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Khayembii Communique View Post
    Now they're trying to claim that because he accessed too much data at once that he's stealing it? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    The question seems to be whether or not he violated MIT's ToS by spoofing his Mac address. IMO mounting a criminal trial on the basis of a violation of ToS is absolutely absurd, as ToS are a contractual agreement. At the very most, this should be a civil case.
    As I understand it, the massive penalties and fines come from the fact that "the indictment alleges that Swartz, at the time a fellow at Harvard University, intended to distribute the documents on peer-to-peer networks."

    Since no such distribution ever occurred, I'm at a loss to see how they have a case. How can you put someone to jail for decades based on an unproven assumption? Shouldn't we wait for someone to commit a crime before we sentence them for it?

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    Re: Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles

    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor
    Since no such distribution ever occurred, I'm at a loss to see how they have a case.
    The case isn't about his intent specifically, it is about his violation of MIT's ToS by spoofing his MAC address. I'm guessing his "intent to distribute" merely factors into the motives behind the alleged hacking.
    "I do not claim that every incident in the history of empire can be explained in directly economic terms. Economic interests are filtered through a political process, policies are implemented by a complex state apparatus, and the whole system generates its own momentum."

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