You may recall that following the indictment of Aaron Swartz for downloading some JSTOR papers, a guy named Greg Maxwell decided to upload 33GBs of public domain papers from JSTOR
and make them available via The Pirate Bay. He had the papers for a while, but was afraid that he'd get legally harassed for distributing them. However, it appears the opposite has happened. Copycense
points us to the news that JSTOR has now agreed to allow free access to all of its public domain material
. In the announcement about this, JSTOR's managing director admits that Maxwell's actions had an impact on this effort, though she claims that JSTOR was planning to do this already:
On a final note, I realize that some people may speculate that making the Early Journal Content free to the public today is a direct response to widely-publicized events over the summer involving an individual who was indicted for downloading a substantial portion of content from JSTOR, allegedly for the purpose of posting it to file sharing sites. While we had been working on releasing the pre-1923/pre-1870 content before the incident took place, it would be inaccurate to say that these events have had no impact on our planning. We considered whether to delay or accelerate this action, largely out of concern that people might draw incorrect conclusions about our motivations. In the end, we decided to press ahead with our plans to make the Early Journal Content available, which we believe is in the best interest of our library and publisher partners, and students, scholars, and researchers everywhere.