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I don't think that would really do it here. The problem is not (just, or even primarily) the laws against criminal copyright infringement. The problem is the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, the Wire Act, RICO and the complete set of federal laws passed during the heyday of organized crime that are so broad and with such disproportionately insane penalties that they can be used to put just about any arbitrary subject of Her Majesty the Queen Prosecutor in prison for the rest of their natural lives.

Fixing one statute isn't going to cut it; they'll just keep on at it with the ones remaining. The fix has to be systemic or it's nothing but a band aid on a gunshot wound.

Changing the law is the aim, no doubt, but as with anything, progress is much easier when you're seen as having strength and being on the side of the angels. Having legally and properly dispensed with a conspicuously abusive US Attorney does a tremendous amount to discredit the opposition. And it puts other attorneys on notice that their preferred tactic—hitting people with a raft of charges the freezing or exhausting their assets before a trial—is on the public radar as a deeply illigitimate and almost certainly unconstitutional approach to handling what are, increasingly, political crimes.

I completely agree that we should make every legitimate effort to have this prosecutor removed from her position, along with anyone who uses similar tactics. You have to start somewhere.

My point is simply that this is a systemic problem. We can't have one prosecutor removed and then stop. We have to make this entire model of prosecution illegitimate. It's going to take a sustained, organized movement to make real change.

Which isn't to say it can't be done. It damn well has to be done. But it isn't going to be easy.

That's not how politics works. It's never been how politics works. This is why most people simply ignore Silicon Valley and the Internet when it comes to political issues.

If the likes of 4chan or reddit attack a federal prosecutor personally, all they will do is spur political action against reddit and 4chan. The underlying cause of their action will be ignored and forgotten.

(Note: SOPA is not an exception; major Silicon Valley companies spent serious amounts on lobbying to get that bill dropped. The internet opposition had exactly zero impact on its political fate.)

Key words: "legally" and "properly". In other words, the opposite of what Anon or 4chan could be expected to do.

Identifying the tactics used to effectively strip people of their rights to open trials is the object here. Juries exist specifically to guard against abuses like this. If the DOJ has found a way to make getting in front of one exceedingly risky and certainly ruinous, then they should be called to account for what is a clear subversion of basic Constitutional protections.

We can't get Aaron back. But we can make sure that everyone understands why he found himself in such a desperate situation in spite of having done nothing to warrant the insane penalties he was facing.

I hear you complaining but I don't hear your solution.

That's a good point... "The charges filed against Mr. Swartz include wire fraud, computer fraud, obtaining information from a protected computer and criminal forfeiture."


I still like the idea of doing something bigger to help keep this situation from happening again.

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