Oh Wait: MIT Already Made All Its Research Open; So Why Was It So Against Aaron Swartz?

from the horrifying dept

We recently picked up on a suggestion by Farhad Manjoo over at Slate that MIT should make all of its research open access as an apology for assisting in the prosecution of Aaron Swartz. Some people in our comments, reacting angrily against this idea, noted that faculty could not be forced to make their works open access by an administration. Well, it turns out that it's already happening. Daniel Hawkins pointed out that MIT faculty unanimously agreed that all its faculty members would release their works under an open access policy... back in 2009.
The Faculty of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is committed to disseminating the fruits of its research and scholarship as widely as possible. In keeping with that commitment, the Faculty adopts the following policy: Each Faculty member grants to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology nonexclusive permission to make available his or her scholarly articles and to exercise the copyright in those articles for the purpose of open dissemination. In legal terms, each Faculty member grants to MIT a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same. The policy will apply to all scholarly articles written while the person is a member of the Faculty except for any articles completed before the adoption of this policy and any articles for which the Faculty member entered into an incompatible licensing or assignment agreement before the adoption of this policy.
This is a good policy, and one you would hope that other universities would adopt as well.

But, in light of the situation with Aaron Swartz, it just makes it that much more baffling why MIT helped push the case forward and, despite repeated requests to do so, failed to join JSTOR in asking the feds to drop the case. Here is MIT, a school that has widely embraced both the hacker culture and the widespread and free dissemination of academic research, and it helped push forward and supported a massively over-aggressive campaign by the Justice Department against Aaron for embracing the same principles the school itself publicly supports. It's incredible, baffling... and disappointing.


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    My toliet is screaming again, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 7:51am

    its ok when WE do it but not ok if YOU do it

    typical

     

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    Lord Binky, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    It appears this would be the efforts of a one or two individuals that drummed up support for this push against Swartz. Now that it has turned out so badly, those individuals, as you would expect from human nature, are not in any hurry to step forward and admit it was their efforts.

     

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    Lord Binky, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    It appears this would be the efforts of a one or two individuals that drummed up support for this push against Swartz. Now that it has turned out so badly, those individuals, as you would expect from human nature, are not in any hurry to step forward and admit it was their efforts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:18am

    But, in light of the situation with Aaron Swartz, it just makes it that much more baffling why MIT helped push the case forward and, despite repeated requests to do so, failed to join JSTOR in asking the feds to drop the case. Here is MIT, a school that has widely embraced both the hacker culture and the widespread and free dissemination of academic research, and it helped push forward and supported a massively over-aggressive campaign by the Justice Department against Aaron for embracing the same principles the school itself publicly supports. It's incredible, baffling... and disappointing.

    It's only baffling if you're willfully blind. The school decided, through proper channels, to change its procedures on scholarly works that come from the school. They also, at the same time, continued to subscribe to JSTOR because of all the wonderful value that JSTOR provides. What Swartz did--and I know that you would rather die than even admit that there's a possibility that this is true--was wrong because he decided not to respect the rights of others. Swartz put himself above others. MIT didn't. It makes perfect sense that MIT would recognize that what Swartz is wrong, even considering the fact that MIT had decided its own research should be freely available. Just because they chose to make their own works freely available doesn't mean they support the illegal taking of other people's works that haven't been made freely available. The reason is simple: Unlike you, they respect other people's choices and they respect other people's rights. One day when you grow up and stop pandering to 12 year old boys, you might understand such basic things.

     

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      Lord Binky, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:21am

      Re:

      "One day when you grow up and stop pandering to 12 year old boys, you might understand such basic things."

      Honestly, the 'It's mine, I [thought,said,did,whatever] first so can't copy' is a basic childish behaviour.

       

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        bob, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:15am

        Re: Re:

        Uh, no. That's the basis of the entire economy. If someone puts in the hard work to build something, they get to decide who gets to use it.

        The childish behavior you talk about is when kids take other people's creations.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, the economy works on the basis that you trade something for something else that you value similarly. So, if you value something at zero, and the majority agree, then the market has crated the value parameter at zero.

          And as for taking other people's creations, how about the fact that bands such as Radiohead, the Pogues and Metallica, don't own what they created, and those who follow have a near-zero chance of getting those creations back in their lifetimes, on account of always "being in debt" to the content funders? Does that make those same funders kids in your eyes?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            No, the economy works on the basis that you trade something for something else that you value similarly. So, if you value something at zero, and the majority agree, then the market has crated the value parameter at zero.

            And was Swartz scraping the documents from JSTOR because they are worthless? Of course not. Schools pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to access JSTOR because the service it provides is extremely useful and valuable. His purpose was to take something that is worth tens of millions of dollars and to give it away for free.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              AJ, give it up. You've lost this argument over and over again and again. JSTOR's value was in the aggregation which wasn't taken. The content was public domain. Access was authorized. No limits on quantity were made or expressed. Nothing was hacked.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:46pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                AJ, give it up. You've lost this argument over and over again and again. JSTOR's value was in the aggregation which wasn't taken. The content was public domain. Access was authorized. No limits on quantity were made or expressed. Nothing was hacked.

                Every single thing you're saying is easily disproved. JSTOR spent millions per year scanning documents, plus tens of millions in licensing the content. Those journals they provide access to are copyrighted. Swartz agreed to MIT's TOS when he accessed the wireless, and then he agreed to JSTOR's TOS when he accessed that database. He explicitly agreed not to scrape the database. The hacking was all that he did to evade their attempts to stop such uses generally and the stop his use in particular. Sorry, but your revisionist history is just sad.

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 1:22pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Please provide the contents of this TOS you speak of and the specific point in the connection process where it occurred.

                   

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                  Gwiz (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 1:32pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  JSTOR spent millions per year scanning documents, plus tens of millions in licensing the content. Those journals they provide access to are copyrighted.

                  So this should have been a copyright dispute, not a criminal case. Add the fact that JSTOR didn't want to pursue charges against Aaron and you are left with very little standing on those points.


                  Swartz agreed to MIT's TOS when he accessed the wireless, and then he agreed to JSTOR's TOS when he accessed that database. He explicitly agreed not to scrape the database.

                  My understanding is that MIT didn't present any TOS to their guest users. JSTOR probably did, although I haven't seen it confirmed that users of MIT's network were presented with one.

                  But anyways, by your logic Aaron violated JSTOR's TOS, right? Isn't that a civil dispute? And once again add in the fact that JSTOR didn't want to prosecute and there really isn't much to that point either, is there?


                  The hacking was all that he did to evade their attempts to stop such uses generally and the stop his use in particular.

                  So basically, Aaron gets charged for "hacking" for possibly violating some copyrights and a TOS. And you seem to think that is just. Wow.

                  Let me ask you a question, what if Aaron had exhibited more patience and set his script to download a rate that wouldn't be flagged as scraping? Would it be Ok in your book then, since he wouldn't have had to "evade": (your word, not mine) JSTOR's attempts to put the genie back into the bottle that only had a flimsy TOS as a cork to begin with?


                  Sorry, but your revisionist history is just sad.

                  That you seem to think that the DOJ's actions come anywhere close to just or fair in this case is even sadder as far as I am concerned.

                   

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                    Ophelia Millais (profile), Feb 9th, 2013 @ 1:13pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    what if Aaron had exhibited more patience and set his script to download a rate that wouldn't be flagged as scraping

                    That's exactly what Aaron did after being blocked the first time.

                     

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              Chosen Reject (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:28pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              There's this thing called a monopoly that breaks the free market principles where two parties mutually agree to a price. Copyrights fall under that. Only worse, because they require the removal of other's rights in order to grant that monopoly. No economist is in favor of monopolies, but change the name to copyright and suddenly idiots trip over themselves trying to justify how it's the basis for an efficient market-based economy.

              Copyright slows the spread of ideas by definition. Innovation, both in science and culture, thrives on the sharing and copying of knowledge. Copyright slows that sharing, and hinders innovation.

              HERE'S THE IMPORTANT BIT:
              None of that matters in this case. JSTOR refused to press charges. The charges against him weren't about copyrights, but the CFAA, which has nothing to do with copyrights.

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The raw material for new culture is, in fact, old culture. Nothing is created in a vacuum.

           

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          Lord Binky, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:36am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I see my neighbor build a fence around his garden to keep out a pest. They spent their time and money researching fences that do and do not work, and I idly wait by until they find a successful setup. When I see it works for them, they get to determine whether I can do the same to my garden? Sounds stupid to me, and quite easily one of the fastest ways to destroy an economy.

           

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          jackn, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 11:46am

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, its not. Who paid for the work generally gets to decide. That is work for hire and it is how the economy works. Sorry bob

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:39am

      Re:

      You appear to have forgotten the part where JSTOR's articles were, in fact, freely available to anyone on MIT's network.
      And also the part where MIT's network was freely available to anyone who wished to connect to it.
      And also the part where the "wronged" party, JSTOR, requested that the case be dropped when its "taken" files were "returned".

       

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        bob, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:17am

        Re: Re:

        Another way of looking at this is that he had no reason to download so much information. Anyone at Harvard or MIT could access it. But he wanted to release it on the torrent networks because he was a anarchy maximalist and a copyright denier.

         

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          Gwiz (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 11:29am

          Re: Re: Re:

          But he wanted to release it on the torrent networks because he was a anarchy maximalist and a copyright denier.

          [citation needed]

          Show some proof that it was Aaron's intentions to release any of the documents anywhere, otherwise you are completely full of shit.

          And what the fuck is a "copyright denier" anyways? That's about the stupidest remark I've ever seen. I don't believe anybody, on either side of this debate, thinks that copyright doesn't exist.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Least of all, Aaron Swartz. As in, he never would have done what he did if copyright didn't exist.

             

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            JMT (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 3:15pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            That's not the first time that stupid "denier" accusation has been made here recently. I think it's the maximilists new word.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 3:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            copyright denier

            Bob has used that phrase before. It was just as dumb then as it is now.

            When you don't have a good argument, you resort to just making stuff up as you go. That's my best guess anyway. How can anyone make sense of Bob anyway?

             

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          John Fenderson (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 1:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          But he wanted to release it on the torrent networks because he was a anarchy maximalist and a copyright denier.


          Legally irrelevant.

           

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:47am

      Re:

      What is baffling is that you continue to demonize an incredibly brilliant and promising individual who promoted the open access of knowledge and dedicated his personal time and money to it.

      He did not put himself over others. With his skills, he could've made millions starting his own for-profit company. Open access to knowledge for all was his goal, not the hoarding or ownership of it. He dedicated his life to the promotion of "the good of the many over the good of the few."

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re:

        He did not put himself over others.

        Of course he did. What he did was incredibly selfish. Rather than work to bring about change legitimately, he attempted to force people to change on his terms. He only cared about what he wanted. He put his own needs about the rights and needs of others.

         

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          Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 10:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Rather than work to bring about change legitimately, he attempted to force people to change on his terms.

          There's been a movement for open access for longer than we've been talking about Aaron. Thousands of academics had agreed to boycott Elsevier long before Aaron became the top story. The publishers had their chance to embrace change. Instead, they're fighting it.

          You have the gall to call him selfish, when he is fighting for access to basic scientific knowledge for everyone? Who are the ones hoarding knowledge? Who are the ones doing it for monetary gain? And Aaron is the selfish one?

          Answer me one question: whose rights was he not respecting? The only one (JSTOR) with any possible imaginary harm based on his actions were urging that all charges be dropped.

           

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          Chosen Reject (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:31pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes, and John Hancock should have been arrested as well. There was a parliament that he could have aired his grievances to. No need to go and start a revolution. The bastard.

           

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          John Fenderson (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 1:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Rather than work to bring about change legitimately, he attempted to force people to change on his terms.


          Which is exactly how every significant social advance in the US has come happened.

           

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            Jay (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 2:18pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It makes me wonder if Martin Luther King were a pirate, should he have gotten 30 or 40 years for infringing on bussing rights of the day.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:48am

      Re:

      Many academic publishers are close to a feudal approach to collecting knowledge. Creation, review and editing are provided free to them by the academics. The academics may also have to pay page costs to get published.
      It is the publishers who are grabbing academic works, and charging the academics for the pleasure of both being published and the to access each others works. The only 'rights' that were being violated were those of the publishers who have a near feudal relationship to the academic sources.

       

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        bob, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:24am

        Re: Re:

        While I agree that journal prices are outrageous, especially given that the scientists do much of the work without compensation, it's totally bogus to call this "feudal." The scientists have been able to release pre-prints for decades. They don't need the publishers at all and they're free to release their stuff any way they choose.

        Yet still they go back to the publishers. Why? I can't tell you, but perhaps they get something from the relationship. If the publishers don't edit, typeset and curate the results, the scientists would be forced to do it themselves. Maybe they just can't handle that.

        When you look at the costs of hiring someone to do all of that, the sky high subscription costs look cheap. Honest. I've tried to price it out myself and it's not pretty. People cost money and they want health care.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 10:23am

          Re: Re: Re:

          For most journals, all the editing is done by the academics, and Latex is commonly used by academics so they control the typesetting. The publishers only provide printing, distribution and curation services.
          The journals gained their power because pre-Internet they were the only way for academics to publish. Academics have an imperative to publish if they wish to advance their careers.
          The relationship between academia and the traditional journals is so one sided that that while feudal may be a bit harsh, it is a case of publishers taking advantage of the academics.
          A revolt is now i progress as academics move towards open access publishing, they have decided that their publishing costs may be better spent on services that they control.

           

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          John Fenderson (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 1:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The scientists have been able to release pre-prints for decades.


          This caries a bit depending on the journal, but generally, once the researcher has paid the journal to publish the paper, they are given a limited number of free reprints. Once those are gone, they have to buy them like everybody else.

          Yet still they go back to the publishers. Why? I can't tell you


          I can. It's not because the journals themselves are doing anything so wonderful. The journals don't do much. They don't even do any editing or page layout services. They do require other researchers to review the papers submitted to the journals, but that's part of the scam: the researchers are not compensated for this work. It costs the journal almost nothing.

          It's because of the publish-or-perish aspect of research. If you don't regularly publish in one of the select acceptable journals for your field, your career suffers. It's as simple as that.

          I've known a lot of researchers, and I've never heard a single one with anything good to say about academic journals or the extortion they engage in.

           

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      bob, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:14am

      Re:

      Well said!

      And let's not forget that he lead the network staff on a cat and mouse chase as he willingly avoided their security mechanisms. After a few weeks of headaches, I can see why they want to throw the book at him.

      Plus it's absolutely clear that he wasn't taking all of that information for his own use. He was going to release it on the torrent networks and brag about it to the tenured law professors who egg him on.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:28am

        Re: Re:

        Well, if you can open a door, you can obviously avoid all security measures available to everyone ever.

        If you happen to have basic networking knowledge, you can obviously cause a complete breakdown in societies everywhere.

        Moreover, is this information not already on the torrent sites?

         

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        Gwiz (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

        Re: Re:

        He was going to release it on the torrent networks and brag about it to the tenured law professors who egg him on.

        Once again, put up or shut up.

        Show me some proof that Aaron was going to release the documents to anyone. I have seen none so far. If you have some evidence of this, post it. Otherwise you are simply talking out of your ass and making shit up again.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:16am

      Re:

      Wow, this Anonymous Coward isn't clear on what Swartz did, which was to download JSTOR works that were in public domain.

       

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        bob, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:25am

        Re: Re:

        Actually, close to none of them were in the public domain. Get your facts straight. They were copyrighted and the copyright was assigned to the journals.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:38am

        Re: Re:

        Wow, this Anonymous Coward isn't clear on what Swartz did, which was to download JSTOR works that were in public domain.

        That's not true as most documents on JSTOR are copyrighted. Regardless, what's your point? Even if we pretend like the entire database was comprised of public domain works, that doesn't mean that it's not hacking or wire fraud to do what Swartz allegedly did. Please explain how "public domain" changes the analysis in the slightest.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Most? Is that a fact or a guess? There are hundreds of years of documents on JSTOR. Anything older than what, 1923? is public domain, so, there's a possibility that there are more documents on JSTOR that are public domain than aren't. The JSTOR archive that was released on the torrent networks 2 years ago when Aaron was arrested was stuff from the 1600's. Thats 300 years before documents fall back into copyright from the public domain. 300 years of documents that could easily add up to being more than the last 90. (its also plausible that there are more in the last 90 than the previous 300. I'm just illustrating that its not a slam dunk conclusion that the majority is one or the other)

          Public domain changes the analysis completely. Who would they have been protecting? The public from the public? If 100% of the documents were public domain, well, then why would they need to fight to prevent someone from accessing them? In that case, they most likely would not have. They might not really have had much of a business model if they did, as I don't think universities would be paying $50k a year for access to public domain documents. I would wager that a cloud service could host those for couple hundred dollars a month. If it was public domain, they never would have been trying to limit him as much, if at all. I mean, why would they need to? To "protect" one of the most robust networks in the world? Yeah, right. Wake me when MIT has a major network outage because EVERYONE on campus is downloading something. I doubt that would even bring it to its knees.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:27pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Further, if they were public domain, it wouldn't be wire fraud. He wasn't doing it to take money from someone. He wasn't defrauding anyone of anything. If its public domain, anyone could make money from it, and you wouldn't be able to stop your neighbor from publishing the same works if they were. To me the wire fraud should never have been on the table to begin with, but thats another discussion.

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          How exactly is what he did hacking?

           

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      John Fenderson (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      Just because they chose to make their own works freely available doesn't mean they support the illegal taking of other people's works that haven't been made freely available.


      Sigh. You're almost completely misrepresenting the Swartz situation in nearly every way. I would have thought that at this point, no matter what one's opinion of that case, the basic facts of it would have been understood by everyone. I guess not.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:20am

    It's the Aaron Swartz SHOW

    stay tuned for the DAILY Aaron Swartz milking..

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:44am

      Re: It's the Aaron Swartz SHOW

      Sad, but true. No other website has milked the Swartz story more than Techdirt.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 10:42am

        Re: Re: It's the Aaron Swartz SHOW

        And yet, each one gets comments, gets you to comment, and gets Mike money from advertising.

        So, wait, you want him to NOT do the things you people do? IE: make money on every jingle, song, and diddy, even repeatedly, when its clear you are double dipping?

        You guys are.. preposterous.

         

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:23am

    I'd say they got under severe pressure from the US Govt... Ultimately they may share a small part of all guilt but the real culprits here is the US Govt.

     

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      jjmsan, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:42am

      Re:

      I would bet that a lot of students get federally back loans and grants. You have to be on an approved list for your students to be eligible. This gives the government a lot of leverage.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 8:25am

    "Just because they chose to make their own works freely available doesn't mean they support the illegal taking of other people's works that haven't been made freely available."
    They just support making other people's works freely available to anyone who wanders onto their campus with a wifi enabled device?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:41am

      Re:

      They just support making other people's works freely available to anyone who wanders onto their campus with a wifi enabled device?

      Yes, they allowed visitors who agreed to the school's and JSTOR's terms of use to access the database. So what? They also went out of their way to STOP Swartz from accessing the database, and he persisted despite knowing that his use was not permitted. It's hilarious the hoops you guys will jump through rather than just admit he did something wrong.

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 10:15am

        Re: Re:

        You understand that the majority of people who have expressed an opinion here are fully willing to admit Swartz violated a law. That's not the dispute at all.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 10:44am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'd argue he violated a Terms Of Service, not any law, but of course, we are morons because we don't have a singular mind and opinion like this guy.

           

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            John Fenderson (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 1:49pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, it's pretty clear he trespassed. As near as I can determine, that's the only law he broke, and even though it's trivial, it is a law.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 2:20pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I don't know if you can even make that claim stick. Is it trespassing if you go into a store that is open the public. I know if you do something and they ask you to leave and not come back, then THAT would constitute trespassing, but until they actually tell you, I don't think they could actually charge you with trespassing. I didn't hear of any confrontation where they asked him to leave before the police arrested him so I don't know if you could say it was trespassing with their well known open campus policy.

               

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        Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:30pm

        Re: Re:

        You do realize that there was no TOS notice that you had to agree to to gain access right?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 12:51pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You do realize that there was no TOS notice that you had to agree to to gain access right?

          Huh? Read the indictment: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2012/09/swartzsuperseding.pdf

          He had to agree to JSTOR's TOS in order to access it.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 1:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Ok that is the prosecutor's claim initial claim which may or may not be true. Prosecutors make crap up all the time in indictments that they can't prove. Where is the wording of the TOS and where does it appear in the connection process? Had it gone to trial they surely would have to provide evidence to support this claim. But they don't need to do that if they can sufficiently scare him into a plea now do they.

             

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    Wally (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    Well, while he was at MIT...Aaron Swartz had an issue with the wireless network being extremely slow and cumbersome. Even with the wired network it was not befitting of a college campus. So he simply spoofed his MAC Address and figured out the issue. I'm guessing the IT department's pride was bruised when Swartz diagnosed their speed issues.

     

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    Matt Williams (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    It's worth noting that CERN and associated experiments require all research to be published as open access. See http://scoap3.org/

     

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    jackn, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    "reacting angrily against this idea, noted that faculty could not be forced to make their works open access by an administration"

    Well they should be able to force them. Seems like a work for hire situation.

    And esp if they are using grants. They are work for hire for me. I (and the rest of the taxpayers) own the copyrights.

     

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    Bengie, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    1) MIT has an open public access to JSTOR for ANYONE
    2) JSTOR has public domain content
    3) Aaron downloaded lots of public domain content over free public access.

    HACKER, ZOMG!

    Well, he did violate JSTOR's EULA that stated you can't automate mass downloading content.

    I guess violating an EULA is grounds for 50 year in prison.

     

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    DV Henkel-Wallace (profile), Feb 8th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Probably Institutional structure and blindness

    Speaking as an MIT grad: although I'll wait until Hal's investigation is done, my theory is that this was driven by the IS department. When I was there, IS was basically like the IS/IT department of any big corporation: monolithic, conservative, and not particularly interested in the "mission." Academic departments (especially EECS of course, but also ME, aero-astro, architecture and I'm sure many more) took care of their own computing needs rather than deal with IS, which mainly dealt with the libraries, administration, business school and the like. And MIT is a pretty loose place, so if IS decided "Gadzooks, Hakorz!" and wanted to run with the ball probably the administration figured there was something to it and the academic departments probably didn't even notice.

    There is some good news: 1> there's a new president, so there's no axe to grind / backside to cover at the top in terms of doing diagnosis. 2> Hal Abelson has incredible integrity and is also the main guy responsible for the existence of open access like Open Courseware so was an outstanding choice to look for problems.

    My guess up front could be wrong -- perhaps there was mendacity involved. But I will believe whatever report Hal produces, and I will be quite astonished if it's anything other than IS running essentially open loop and nobody else paying attention.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 11:45am

    what hasn't come out yet is what threats were used against whom, or what bribes were given to whom, if MIT didn't do what the DoJ wanted. that information could make a bit of difference

     

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    Androgynous Cowherd, Feb 8th, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    Embraced??

    In legal terms, each Faculty member grants to MIT a nonexclusive, irrevocable, paid-up, worldwide license to exercise any and all rights under copyright relating to each of his or her scholarly articles, in any medium, provided that the articles are not sold for a profit, and to authorize others to do the same.


    Sounds rather like a CC Noncommercial license.

    Here is MIT, a school that has widely embraced both the hacker culture


    Embraced? MIT practically originated it; MIT (and especially the AI lab there) was one of the major wellsprings of the culture, decades back.

     

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