Aaron Swartz - Controversies - JSTOR


On Tuesday, 19 July 2011, Swartz was charged by U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts with wire fraud, computer fraud, unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer, and recklessly damaging a protected computer, in relation to downloading roughly 4 million academic journal articles from JSTOR. According to the indictment against him, Swartz surreptitiously attached a laptop to MIT's computer network, which allowed him to "rapidly download an extraordinary volume of articles from JSTOR." Prosecutors in the case claim Swartz acted with the intention of making the papers available on P2P file-sharing sites.

Swartz surrendered to authorities, pleading not guilty on all accounts, and was released on $100,000 bail. Prosecution of the case continues, with charges of wire fraud and computer fraud, resulting in a potential prison term of up to 35 years and a fine of up to $1 million USD. JSTOR put out a statement saying it would not pursue civil litigation against Swartz.

Jerry Cohen of Burns & Levinson said the government's choice to pursue criminal charges when JSTOR and MIT had resolved their civil concerns with Swartz reflected a trend of increasingly-zealous prosecution in federal courts.

On September 7, 2011, JSTOR announced it had released the public-domain content of its archives for public viewing and limited use. According to JSTOR, it had been working on making those archives public for some time, and the controversy, which involved, according to a press release, "an individual who was indicted for downloading a substantial portion of content from JSTOR, allegedly for the purpose of posting it to file sharing sites", impelled JSTOR to "press ahead" with the initiative.

Read more about this topic:  Aaron Swartz, Controversies

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