Tonight: NEASIST Discussess the Fair Use of Database Content via US v. Swartz

Tonight, 11/8, from 5:30 – 7 pm, the New England Chapter of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (NEASIST) discusses an upcoming case where someone made academic journal articles available to the public, US v. Swartz.

Champions Sports Bar, Marriott Hotel
Kendall Square plaza (next to the Red Line)
50 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02142

Aaron Swartz has been charged with felonies for accessing JSTOR via the MIT network, getting many articles, <strike?and making them publicly accessible elsewhere (correction in the addendum). Tonight’s conversation focuses on many aspects of his actions and the consequences.

I thought I had posted about this situation before, but apparently not. The NEASIST blog post points to some articles for background.

Disclosure: I know Aaron.

Addenda: 11/08/2012 I am mistaken about what Aaron did with the articles. All he had done with them was download them.

The meeting was not a presentation or summary and discussion as many of us hoped it would be. We made small talk waiting for someone to start the meeting. When it became apparent that wasn’t what was happening, some of us talked about US v. Swartz. Since many of us had come to learn about the situation and its present status, we weren’t really prepared to have any indepth discussion about it. The folks I chatted with came up with far more questions than insightful perspectives.

01/13/13: It is with great sadness that I share the news of Aaron’s death. I will miss him and his brilliant mind.

Kevin Poulsen of Wired Magazine summarizes some of Aaron’s accomplishments: “When he was 14 years old, Aaron helped develop the RSS standard; he went on to found Infogami, which became part of Reddit. But more than anything Aaron was a coder with a conscience: a tireless and talented hacker who poured his energy into issues like network neutrality, copyright reform and information freedom. Among countless causes, he worked with Larry Lessig at the launch of the Creative Commons, architected the Internet Archive‚Äôs free public catalog of books,, and in 2010 founded Demand Progress, a non-profit group that helped drive successful grassroots opposition to SOPA last year.” He also reports that MIT is investigating their “… involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present. [MIT’s president] asked that this analysis describe the options MIT had and the decisions MIT made, in order to understand and to learn from the actions MIT took.”

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