Who was Aaron Swartz? Why is he dead?

Mr. Swartz was arrested in January 2011 after downloading more than four million scholarly articles from the fee-based online archive JSTOR to gain access, he evaded multiple efforts to block him, and even entered an unlocked closet in the basement of a campus building to plug directly into the network. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/31/us/mit-releases-report-on-its-role-in-the-case-of-aaron-swartz.html?ref=us

in 1995 JSTOR met with representatives of the Royal Society of London, and an agreement was made to digitize the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society back to its beginning in 1665. The work of adding these volumes to JSTOR was completed by December 2000.

Mr. Swartz had long argued for public access to many kinds of important documents hidden behind walls of copyright. What he intended to do with the documents has not been established, but he was a co-author of a “guerrilla open-access manifesto” that stated, “We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world.”
The criminal case drew worldwide attention, in part because Mr. Swartz was just 26 at the time of his death and because the maximum possible sentence, initially said to be more than 30 years, suggested prosecutorial bullying to critics of the case, and illustrated the harshness of laws like the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
Mr. Swartz had long argued for public access to many kinds of important documents hidden behind walls of copyright. What he intended to do with the documents has not been established, but he was a co-author of a “guerrilla open-access manifesto”

Robert Swartz, Mr. Swartz’s father, said the university was anything but neutral, pointing to aid that it provided to prosecutors as part of the investigation. M.I.T., he said, “should have advocated on Aaron’s behalf.” Instead, he said, the report depicts an institution that aided a “vindictive and cruel” prosecution, and “shows no compassion whatsoever.” Through its actions, he said, “M.I.T. in fact played a central role in Aaron’s suicide.”

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