Thanks to Henry, I've just learned that Aaron Swartz has been arrested for hacking into JSTOR and downloading a ton of articles. According to Wired, if convicted, Swartz faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
The grand jury indictment accuses Swartz of evading MIT’s attempts to kick his laptop off the network while downloading more than four million documents from JSTOR, a non-for-profit company that provides searchable, digitized copies of academic journals. The scraping, which took place from September 2010 to January 2011 via MIT’s network, was invasive enough to bring down JSTOR’s servers on several occasions.
Swartz is a co-founder of Reddit and is 24 years old.
Henry writes in the comment section,
There is a lot of messy debate here that is ready to explode. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the reasons that JSTOR didn’t want to go ahead with this was precisely because it feared having a cause celebre, with an articulate, intellectually attractive and selfless defendant, explode out of it. And I confidently predict that there is going to be one very unhappy prosecutor who has no idea of the major political shitstorm that she is kicking up by doing this. Aaron is very rightly beloved by a whole lot of people – he’s spent the last several years providing unpaid help for a variety of good causes.
I have to think that one or two of the authors whose papers were downloaded are secretly happy that someone read their papers.