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Of course, all of these other cases are ridiculous as well. And there have been protests about many of them. Should we not protest one injustice because another has been committed?

> Look at the lot of it in this blokes name, not just one tiny insignificant part of it.

Do you believe that everyone here cares only about Aaron Swartz, and not the rest of these issues?

The death of Aaron Swartz is a particularly painful wake-up call, but it doesn't mean that people care only about him. It helps that he was a particularly sympathetic character, and that many people in this community knew him personally or were directly involved in his work and writing. Kim Dotcom is a international millionaire, who was violating copyright for substantial personal profit, and who had a mansion with a built-in bunker for just this sort of problem; and has been able to use his wealth and power to much more successfully defend himself. Bradley Manning is more sympathetic, but he did violate his duty to his country by revealing many secret documents that he had access to, without being particularly selective about anything that really showed abuses.

Aaron, on the other hand, was merely trying to preserve access to a large body of academic and scientific work. Nothing he did ever indicated that he intended to profit from his downloading. Heck, he never even distributed any of it. And while he used some techniques that were further into the grey-zone than many of us would try, the prosecution was so clearly out of proportion with the "crime" as to make the absurdity apparent to almost anyone (and the fact that it's treated as a crime rather than a civil matter is patently absurd as well).

It has always been the case that martyrs, or particular example of people persecuted by a system, are far more effective than general complaints about entire populations. There were millions of black people who had been treated unfairly, made to use separate bathrooms, drinking fountains, sit in the back of the bus, before Rosa Parks decided one day that she wouldn't take it any more and refused to move, leading to her arrest, and subsequently leading to bus boycotts and the case that eventually worked its way to the Supreme Court ruling that segregation on the bus system was illegal.

Putting a face on injustice is so much more effective than simply talking about it in the abstract. And when that face is a brilliant and well loved young man, who had many influential connections in the tech industry, who was working in the interests of knowledge and social justice, rather than some kid downloading the latest Hollywood blockbuster or an international millionaire trying to make a buck, it will be much more effective.

The stakes have been raised. We cannot sacrifice our future, and our freedom, in the interests of failing business models.




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