Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz, founder of Reddit, was a computer programmer that attended Harvard University which he later decided to drop out. As a teenager Swartz developed code that made web files free for the public to use. Also, he helped create the tool that allowed users to subscribe to online information. Swartz was a genius and knew how to hack into many websites. He was caught breaching the website JSTOR and stealing numerous scholarly articles. He ended up downloading 4.8 million articles which is highly illegal due to the fact that you need to make an account and pay for certain articles on that website. Swartz was caught and arrested by the federal government and was charged with wire and computer fraud. He was sentenced to 35 years in prison and had to pay one million dollars worth of fines. the 26 year old was found dead by a controversial suicide. Swartz was found by his friend and the cause of death was that he hung himself. It was known in an interview that he struggled with severe depression and has had suicidal thoughts. I believe that the sentencing pushed him over the top. Some can say that he was killed by the government but I believe that our government would not do something like that. He already was caught and forced to pay fines and serve jail time, what would be the reasoning for murdering this young man? I believe in what Swartz was doing for our country because he wanted to allow access to everything on the internet. All these laws are just a way for companies to make money and it is hindering our development as a country. People should be able to share information because if it is on the World Wide Web it is for the public to use. 

The intellectual property law uses patents, trademarks, and copyrights to protect owners of property. What Aaron Swartz did showed us that even with these laws to protect our property you really are never safe. He was easily able to hack the system so that shows a weakness in our government. Who knows how many other people have been doing this just havent been getting caught. I feel that he was caught because he stole such a large quantity of articles from JSTOR. I still think that the United States should revise this IP law because information on the internet deserves to be shared because it will make our society a better place to live in. The internet is going to keep growing and is becoming a huge part of our society, it is only right that we allow information to be shared freely on the web. 


1. American Intellectual Property Association (2012). What is IP Law? Retrieved from http://www.aipla.org/about/iplaw/Pages/default.aspx

2. Schwartz, J. (2013, January 12). Aaron Swartz, Internet Activist, Dies at 26 – NYTimes.com. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/13/technology/aaron-swartz-internet-activist-dies-at-26.html?_r=0


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