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

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    Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles

    Well-known coder and activist Aaron Swartz was arrested Tuesday, charged with violating federal hacking laws for downloading millions of academic articles from a subscription database service that MIT had given him access to. If convicted, Swartz faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.

    Swartz, the 24-year-old executive director of Demand Progress, has a history of downloading massive data sets, both to use in research and to release public domain documents from behind paywalls. Swartz, who was aware of the investigation, turned himself in Tuesday.
    The article can be found here (Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles | Threat Level | Wired.com).


    Personally, I think that this is total BS. So what if he released info that you should have to pay for? Seeing as how its academic information, IMO it should already be free.
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    Re: Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles

    Legally they have a right to the information and to distribute it as they see fit. But the real issue here is that they have a wanted in their hands and don't want him to let go. Hopefully he doesnt end up a psuedo-political prisoner.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Invisible View Post
    The article can be found here (Feds Charge Activist As Hacker For Downloading Millions of Academic Articles | Threat Level | Wired.com).


    Personally, I think that this is total BS. So what if he released info that you should have to pay for? Seeing as how its academic information, IMO it should already be free.
    A lot of research is funded by private organizations who still have intellectual property rights.
    Publicly funded research, I think, should always be free, but why do you have a right to the research of others? How are we supposed to maintain research funding if nobody is paying for the information that results from that research?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lutherf View Post
    We’ll say what? Something like “nothing happened” ... Yeah, we might say something like that.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Deuce View Post
    A lot of research is funded by private organizations who still have intellectual property rights.
    Publicly funded research, I think, should always be free, but why do you have a right to the research of others? How are we supposed to maintain research funding if nobody is paying for the information that results from that research?
    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.
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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.
    Yes, in this particular case I think it's not appropriate to charge him with a crime, but I was talking about the general idea that academic research is always public domain information, which is what the OP appeared to be saying.
    He touched her over her bra and underpants, she says, and guided her hand to touch him over his underwear
    Quote Originally Posted by Lutherf View Post
    We’ll say what? Something like “nothing happened” ... Yeah, we might say something like that.

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

    Yeah wouldn't it be nice. We'd have a ballin' time debating n such if we could just link freaking journals.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Invisible View Post
    Personally, I think that this is total BS. So what if he released info that you should have to pay for? Seeing as how its academic information, IMO it should already be free.

    Okay, can't speak to the specific situation well because I'm not very knowledgable about it, but this comment just blew my mind...

    Simply because you feel that something should be free does not in any way make theft of it something that should be just shrugged off. This is the same type of thing people who try to justify their theft of online music and games and movies use.

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    Okay, can't speak to the specific situation well because I'm not very knowledgable about it, but this comment just blew my mind...

    Simply because you feel that something should be free does not in any way make theft of it something that should be just shrugged off. This is the same type of thing people who try to justify their theft of online music and games and movies use.
    I agree with what you say, yet it will not drown out our cries of REVOLUCIóN! :P

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Zyphlin View Post
    Okay, can't speak to the specific situation well because I'm not very knowledgable about it, but this comment just blew my mind...

    Simply because you feel that something should be free does not in any way make theft of it something that should be just shrugged off. This is the same type of thing people who try to justify their theft of online music and games and movies use.
    Ok. Maybe I did not make my point clear due to my anger.

    What I want is free academic information. I don't think that one should be able to charge someone to access information that can be used for educational purposes. Other than that, when it comes to music, movies, games, inventions, etc. I have no problem with people charging for that because overall those are not used for educationally enlightening purposes.
    "And in the end, we were all just humans, drunk on the idea that love, only love, could heal our brokenness."

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

    What Swartz did is what people do all the time, he just did it on a scale that made him more noticeable.

    Part of what makes universities appealing is that becoming a student gives you access to all of their database subscriptions. I agree with what Swartz did in principle... you shouldn't have to pay for access to knowledge. It's elitist and backward. I understand IP laws. I don't agree with them in the digital context.

    There are enough universities paying for subscriptions continuously to support the journals that gather the works that they can suffer a hit like this.

    This is just another show trial to try and reinforce the dinosaur's way of doing things.

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