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Caught Red-Handed, Aaron Swartz Was Prepping For Key Federal Court Evidence Hearing
The Smoking Gun ^ | January 13, 2013 | Smoking Gun Staff

Posted on 01/13/2013 5:13:19 PM PST by libstripper

At the time of his suicide, Aaron Swartz was preparing for a crucial hearing in his federal criminal case, likely his best chance to thwart federal prosecutors who had developed solid evidence against the Internet activist who was facing an April trial on a 13-count felony indictment.

The 26-year-old Swartz, who killed himself Friday in his Brooklyn apartment, was scheduled for a January 25 evidentiary hearing in U.S. District Court in Boston, Massachusetts. Lawyers for Swartz were seeking to suppress material gathered in connection with Swartz’s breach of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer network.

The January 2011 incursion netted Swartz, a Reddit cofounder who also helped develop the RSS standard, millions of scholarly papers from the JSTOR archive. He was planning to make the material public at no cost.

(Excerpt) Read more at thesmokinggun.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: hacker; prosecution; suicide; swartz
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I know nothing about this case. However, this article gives an entirely different perspective on the matter than an earlier one posted here. There does seem to have been some strong evidence against him. I'm not posting this to argue his guilt or innocence, just to add more info.
1 posted on 01/13/2013 5:13:23 PM PST by libstripper
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To: libstripper

This is the trouble with computers - everything is there forever, unlike paper records that were once simple to shred like Sandy Berger did during a congressional investigation.


2 posted on 01/13/2013 5:17:34 PM PST by Baynative (Those that work for a living are now outnumbered by those that vote for a living.)
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To: libstripper

I feel no pity for him. He is being portrayed as some sort of hero. He is basically a communist who believed that if it exists everybody is entitled to it. So he stole millions of copyrighted research documents that cost many of millions of dollars to produce. MIT was hoping to recoup some of the cost by charging folks to get access to them. He was caught red-handed. Actually, not a bad outcome.


3 posted on 01/13/2013 5:18:35 PM PST by KevinB (A country that would elect Barack Obama president twice is no longer worth fighting for.)
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To: KevinB

Oops, “was” basically a communist.


4 posted on 01/13/2013 5:20:40 PM PST by KevinB (A country that would elect Barack Obama president twice is no longer worth fighting for.)
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To: libstripper

It is curious that he didn’t want to fight them like many other hackers have done, but then, as other articles inform us, the dude was a “progressive”, one fairly active, so we may conclude that he felt betrayed by his heroes.


5 posted on 01/13/2013 5:20:46 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: libstripper

The dude could haved faced more prison time than Taliban John Walker Lindh.


6 posted on 01/13/2013 5:21:23 PM PST by Theoria
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To: libstripper

I imagine he thought he was in the right.
I imagine he thought the government was oppressive and restricting basic freedom, as he saw it.
I imagine he wanted to do something to stand up to a government that opposed basic freedom.

I understand that sort of feeling. Maybe not on the issue of Intellectual property, but on other topics, I do understand the feeling.

But if I were to feel that all bets were off, and my life was basically over because of what our government has become ... well ... I wouldn’t end it quietly in a little room by myself.

Just sayin’


7 posted on 01/13/2013 5:25:14 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Nothing will change until after the war.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

I imagine also that he voted for Obama. Twice.


8 posted on 01/13/2013 5:27:05 PM PST by Hoodat ("As for God, His way is perfect" - Psalm 18:30)
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To: Hoodat

Oh, I’m sure. I’m no fan of this Swartz guy. I’m just saying that if you’re stepping out, you might as well invite some bad guys to go with you.


9 posted on 01/13/2013 5:29:13 PM PST by ClearCase_guy (Nothing will change until after the war.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

Adjust your imaginings to the thinking of a “progressive” that this guy was, and not a more typical hacker who’s more of an anarchist.


10 posted on 01/13/2013 5:29:17 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: Hoodat

I imagine also that he voted for Obama. Twice.

a smart guy like that ? maybe 2000 times


11 posted on 01/13/2013 5:33:37 PM PST by rolling_stone
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To: libstripper

At least he had the decency to not take a bunch of other people with him.


12 posted on 01/13/2013 5:37:10 PM PST by E. Pluribus Unum (TYRANNY: When the people fear the politicians. LIBERTY: When the politicians fear the people.)
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To: Revolting cat!

Come full coup, the “useful idiots” are the first to be lined up and shot, because if they become disillusioned before they die they WILL fight.

I’m waiting for something to happen to Oliver Stone.


13 posted on 01/13/2013 5:38:10 PM PST by butterdezillion
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To: KevinB
You've nailed the problem with feeling sorry for him. If people who go to a great deal of effort to produce intellectual property can have it stolen by hackers like this guy, there won't be much incentive to create IP. NOBODY has the right just to go and “liberate” somebdy else’s property, which is what it looks like happened here. Indeed, the Constitution establishes the right to patents and copyrights to encourage people to engage in invention and innovation.
14 posted on 01/13/2013 5:40:02 PM PST by libstripper
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To: libstripper

Text of MIT President L. Rafael Reif’s email to MIT Community:

To the members of the MIT community:

Yesterday we received the shocking and terrible news that on Friday in New York, Aaron Swartz, a gifted young man well known and admired by many in the MIT community, took his own life. With this tragedy, his family and his friends suffered an inexpressible loss, and we offer our most profound condolences. Even for those of us who did not know Aaron, the trail of his brief life shines with his brilliant creativity and idealism.

Although Aaron had no formal affiliation with MIT, I am writing to you now because he was beloved by many members of our community and because MIT played a role in the legal struggles that began for him in 2011.

I want to express very clearly that I and all of us at MIT are extremely saddened by the death of this promising young man who touched the lives of so many. It pains me to think that MIT played any role in a series of events that have ended in tragedy.

I will not attempt to summarize here the complex events of the past two years. Now is a time for everyone involved to reflect on their actions, and that includes all of us at MIT. I have asked Professor Hal Abelson to lead a thorough analysis of MIT’s involvement from the time that we first perceived unusual activity on our network in fall 2010 up to the present. I have 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. I will share the report with the MIT community when I receive it.

I hope we will all reach out to those members of our community we know who may have been affected by Aaron’s death. As always, MIT Medical is available to provide expert counseling, but there is no substitute for personal understanding and support.

With sorrow and deep sympathy,

L. Rafael Reif


15 posted on 01/13/2013 5:41:29 PM PST by glorgau
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To: butterdezillion

Exactly. We often say that the revolution eats its children, and that the time will come when they (the Obamanoids) will be disappointed with their messiah. A prime example here. (Not to mention the Friday morning paychecks with increased withholdings.) A thief joins the Revolution only to find out that upon winning his beloved leaders become “corrupted” by the fascists and consider him a... thief!

I can tell you from my own experience that a pissed off man keeps fighting on, but a man who feels disappointed by a betrayal falls into depression and sometimes kills himself. As you said, it’s starting.


16 posted on 01/13/2013 6:08:50 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: libstripper

I believe that a brilliant yet depressed man killed himself, in part due to the bullying of an overzealous federal prosecutor using novel and extreme interpretations of the law.

It is said that the prosecutor had political ambitions, but they are now as dead as the man she goaded to his death.


17 posted on 01/13/2013 6:11:29 PM PST by Valpal1
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To: libstripper

Some background here

http://www.jerrypournelle.com/chaosmanor/?p=11443

FWIW

Regards

alfa6 ;>}


18 posted on 01/13/2013 6:14:58 PM PST by alfa6
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To: rolling_stone

>> a smart guy like that ? maybe 2000 times

ROFL!

Post ‘o the Day nominee


19 posted on 01/13/2013 6:16:31 PM PST by Nervous Tick (Without GOD, men get what they deserve.)
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To: butterdezillion
Come full coup, the “useful idiots” are the first to be lined up and shot, because if they become disillusioned before they die they WILL fight.

Commies back the socialist until the commies can take over then they eliminate the socialist useful idiots first as they are known to have betrayed their own countrymen.

20 posted on 01/13/2013 6:20:12 PM PST by rolling_stone
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To: Theoria

Exactly. A case of prosecutorial over-reach by an ambitious US Attorney and power-mad DoJ. This is the same DoJ that declined to prosecute Jon Corzine for mis-appropriating hundreds of million dollars in customer money in the MF Global scam. I work in the brokerage industry and have seen people go to jail for only mis-appropriating THOUSANDS of dollars.


21 posted on 01/13/2013 6:22:34 PM PST by Conservative Vet
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To: butterdezillion

Come full coup, the “useful idiots” are the first to be lined up and shot

I recall a conversation I had with a hippy friend over
forty years ago. He was convinced that eventually
people of his age and bent would control the reins of
government. Then he added, “When the young don’t agree
witn us and try to revolt.....Boy, will we STEP on THEM!”


22 posted on 01/13/2013 6:23:40 PM PST by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
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To: KevinB
I feel no pity for him. He is being portrayed as some sort of hero. He is basically a communist who believed that if it exists everybody is entitled to it. So he stole millions of copyrighted research documents that cost many of millions of dollars to produce. MIT was hoping to recoup some of the cost by charging folks to get access to them. He was caught red-handed. Actually, not a bad outcome.

Let me play devil's advocate for a moment, as I am very familiar with this case and the exploit he utilized to download the data from JSTOR.

Being that the overwhelming majority of the data and journals that he downloaded and intended to make available for public use were funded by grants from the government (ie taxpayers), would the rightful owner of said material not be the American public? Do you willingly give your tax funds to the government to utilize in proprietary research? Does that not pi$$ you off, as it does me?

23 posted on 01/13/2013 6:28:20 PM PST by RobertClark (It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we'r)
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To: libstripper

There was a lot at stake for A LOT of special interests with this case. The MPAA and RIAA were loitering around like rabid dogs awaiting a ruling that could be applied like a two ton brick to file sharing cases. This case stinks to high hell and the Justice Dept. chose a target that held a very large bullhorn. I have a lot of suspicions, but I’m far from willing to strap on my tin foil hat - but I’ve got it handy......


24 posted on 01/13/2013 6:39:15 PM PST by RobertClark (It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we'r)
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To: rolling_stone

Yep. It all goes according to the standard script.

People who don’t know the past are destined to repeat it. This country has been deliberately dumbed down and demoralized, and we are going the way of all societies groomed to be sheep to the slaughter.

The one danger the communists face is if they take off the sheep’s clothing too soon, before the people are fully ready to be taken over. If there’s one hope this country has left, it is that Obama bared his teeth too soon. I guess we’ll see.


25 posted on 01/13/2013 7:03:37 PM PST by butterdezillion
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To: RobertClark

A LOT of people are jumping to a whole lot of unfounded conclusions here.
To ALL:
Familiarize yourself with this case the feds brought before you condemn this kid. HE fought them and he won. You don’t win with this administration. And if by some miracle you do, you will pay the heaviest price they can possibly extract from you.
Aaron Swartz spearheaded just such a miracle and the price was just too high for him to pay.
First of all, he was NOT, as they erroneously say, a ‘co-founder’ of reddit. We are being subjected to a torrent of misinformation designed to do what the government ALWAYS soes when it has overstepped, and that is to confound and confuse issues and bury the truth using its press footsoldiers.
LOOK for the truth. Aaron Swartz was as untypical as any genious ever was. Do not attempt to stick him into some neat little niche he where he does not belong.


26 posted on 01/13/2013 8:06:20 PM PST by MestaMachine (Sometimes the smartest man in the room is standing in the midst of imbeciles.)
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To: MestaMachine
"Aaron’s commitment to social justice was profound, and defined his life."

(Quote from accolades to him found elsewhere.) Is that enough? A young communist dies, and it's certainly not an occasion for a celebration, but neither is it an occasion to declare sainthood. Hackers pursued by the government have in the past been associated with the anarchists or libertarians, and they fought on, and they went to jail. This young man was a Communist (to you perhaps a euphemistic "progressive"), and bets here are that he felt betrayed by the leaders of his movement in the White House and the Justice Department. The Revolution ate one of its own!

27 posted on 01/13/2013 8:16:53 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: Revolting cat!

JSTOR was charging fees for access, but NOT paying royalties to the content creators. A non profit that keeps the pay of its executives and officers on the down low.

The social justice this young man sought was the end of the featherbedding of the government-academe-corporate troika.

That the public have access to the public commons they paid for.


28 posted on 01/13/2013 8:46:51 PM PST by Valpal1
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To: Revolting cat!

“(to you perhaps a euphemistic ‘progressive’)”

Why the insult, RC?
You quote what someone else said about him as if that was the beginning and end of it.
What do you KNOW about this kid other than what you have read in the press?


29 posted on 01/13/2013 9:03:03 PM PST by MestaMachine (Sometimes the smartest man in the room is standing in the midst of imbeciles.)
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To: MestaMachine

Sorry, that wasn’t meant as an insult, but the euphemism is prevalent, here also.

I don’t know anything about the kid except what I have read in the press, do you? Then share it with us.

What I have read however was that he was an leftist activist and a true believer. “Social justice”. Oh yes, a familiar phrase, very likely familiar to a leftist activist. According to Thomas Sowell it means whatever the speaker means at the moment. In another place the same Thomas Sowell talks about something called the “cosmic justice”, which is what the Left seeks. It is (social justice) in any case something vague, and as a post above tells us it means in this case wrestling control of some database from some organization to benefit some narrow groups. It can mean anything at all, and because of it believers in it are confused people.

Forest and the trees. Those obsessed with the government focus on the Justice Department. Others focus on the freedom of information. I focus on this activist leftist seeing him in historical terms and without giving him the benefit of a doubt just because he’s dead. There have been others before him, true believers, who following a Revolution remained true believers, and if they were not eliminated by the Stalins and Berias they often committed suicide.

An anarchist, or a libertarian would fight on. A Conservative too. And here we reach the gist of the matter (all assuming that the information about this young man’s fervent leftist beliefs is correct). The trees in the forest. Unlike the anarchists etc, the leftists believe, and this is the fundamental tenet of their beliefs, that the government is or can be a force for the Good, with a capital “G”. Imagine young Aaron’s disappointment when he finds the government of his hero pursuing him a seeker of social justice!

We’ll find out more perhaps, but I am confident, and the shenanigans of the Justice Department don’t particularly interest me in this case.


30 posted on 01/13/2013 9:21:33 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: Revolting cat!

Seems like you might be somewhat confused on who are the communists, and who was attempting to promote intellectual property rights in this case.

Aaron Swartz, JSTOR, academic publication, and the public good.

Aaron Swartz was a Harvard University student who used his computer skills to collect a large number of scientific journal articles from JSTOR, the institution which controls the publication and release of most academic journals and which is also trying to achieve control of many historical publications. Many of those publications were scanned in the Google activity which is now stalled in litigation; I have seen no criminal charges brought by the Obama Department of Justice against the operatives who did the Google scans.
...
Swartz had downloaded some 5 million academic journal articles. His contention was that JSTOR collected money for access to academic journal content, but did not pay the authors or copyright holders, and made it prohibitively expensive for millions of potential readers to access results of publicly financed research. JSTOR is a non-profit corporation.
...
Swartz’s death will undoubtedly spark new debates on intellectual property and the purpose of copyright. In particular, aggressive copyright protection of articles describing and reporting scientific activities largely funded by public or tax exempt sources, may not serve the constitutional purpose of copyright law:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

31 posted on 01/13/2013 9:46:39 PM PST by meadsjn
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To: libstripper

The yob (sorry prayers for his family) felt like the rules didn’t apply to him because he was special and had a wider vision. The guy was a thief and couldn’t understand that when you do the crime you will do the time.

He took a coward’s way out and has left the usual devastation in his wake


32 posted on 01/13/2013 10:39:31 PM PST by Nifster
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To: libstripper

These social justice types and their supporters feel its their right to decide who should make a profit and who shouldn’t.

Modern Robin Hoods - take from the rich and give to the poor and they decide which is which. It’s amazing that he has any support here on FR other than sympathy for a wasted life. That support would doubtless evaporate pretty quickly if it was their business that was being hacked.


33 posted on 01/14/2013 12:30:12 AM PST by expat1000
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To: expat1000

Just an observation on JSTOR - government funds are often used to generate the information, and government pays for access to the information for its employees. Cough up some moar, taxpayers.


34 posted on 01/14/2013 5:26:20 AM PST by rusty millet
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To: rusty millet

Thanks. I do know that and admit that this is not the best of examples to make my point, but hacking into computer systems because one individual thinks the contents should be ‘free’ is just wrong.


35 posted on 01/14/2013 5:33:41 AM PST by expat1000
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To: Nifster; expat1000
It's hilarious reading comments from FR n00bs who obviously know NOTHING about the early history of Free Republic.

Ignorance writ large.

36 posted on 01/14/2013 5:47:05 AM PST by kiryandil (turning Americans into felons, one obnoxious drunk at a time (Zero Tolerance!!!))
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To: RobertClark; MestaMachine
There was a lot at stake for A LOT of special interests with this case. The MPAA and RIAA were loitering around like rabid dogs awaiting a ruling that could be applied like a two ton brick to file sharing cases. This case stinks to high hell and the Justice Dept. chose a target that held a very large bullhorn. I have a lot of suspicions, but I’m far from willing to strap on my tin foil hat - but I’ve got it handy......

Young Aaron is beginning to look more and more like a hero.

There are quite a few posters on this thread who need to get a clue (OBVIOUSLY not you two guys!).

37 posted on 01/14/2013 5:50:09 AM PST by kiryandil (turning Americans into felons, one obnoxious drunk at a time (Zero Tolerance!!!))
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To: MestaMachine

We are on the opposite sides of this one, my friend.

File sharing is to hacking what copying a CD for a buddy is to forcible entry.


38 posted on 01/14/2013 6:25:30 AM PST by expat1000
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To: RobertClark

If the grants fully funded the research and production of the articles - no MIT resources were used and there was no expectation by the government of any repayment - my view could be different.


39 posted on 01/14/2013 6:46:58 AM PST by KevinB (A country that would elect Barack Obama president twice is no longer worth fighting for.)
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To: expat1000

expat, this kid stopped the online piracy act from passing. He also killed obama’s killswitch for the internet that would have allowed him to shut us down should HE deem it necessary. He developed RSS. He developed web.py, a web structure now used by many business...among other leaps in software and programming.
And he didn’t charge a penny for any of it. He tried to use his talent to make the world a better place. He started this at the ripe old age of thirteen. He was an idealist, not a communist. He was a giver, not a taker. But his love and his obsession was computers and how they could bring knowledge and culture to the whole world.
I said before, he doesn’t fit in a niche. He was more of an explorer. Those who had political motives used him. Those who didn’t admired him. He belonged to nobody and owed nobody anything.
He beat the obama administration TWICE. They made an example of him by not simply prosecuting him, but by persecuting him, upping the ante when all charges SHOULD have been dropped while knowing he was deeply clinically depressed. They did it maliciously and they might as well have shot him because either way he was a dead man walking.
He didn’t deserve it and he does not deserve the malevolence directed at him that I have seen.
He wasn’t evil. Naive, maybe. But evil? No.


40 posted on 01/14/2013 6:56:32 AM PST by MestaMachine (Sometimes the smartest man in the room is standing in the midst of imbeciles.)
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To: meadsjn

Just because a thief steals something that you also think ought to be free, doesn’t mean he’s on your side, even if you happen to be both right in this particular case. We are not discussing intellectual property rights, we are discussing the man’s political views, which we understand (perhaps incorrectly) to have been radically Left. Read his blog which is still up. Here’s a lovely piece on Bush: http://www.aaronsw.com/weblog/001119


41 posted on 01/14/2013 9:42:04 AM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious!)
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To: kiryandil

Even funnier to read self righteous comments from those who think they know everything about a poster based upon the starting date for posting. I know it seems hard to believe but some folks lurked for a very long time before joining. Jim was always very well known in my mom’s town.


42 posted on 01/14/2013 10:54:31 AM PST by Nifster
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To: Nifster

Why don’t you give us all a synopsis of the WP/LAT case against FR, clownboy, then compare it with your comments about Aaron Swartz?


43 posted on 01/14/2013 11:02:06 AM PST by kiryandil (turning Americans into felons, one obnoxious drunk at a time (Zero Tolerance!!!))
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To: Nifster
He took a coward’s way out and has left the usual devastation in his wake

It's always endearing when keyboard warriors with zero knowledge have such strong and brutal comments. Devastation? Seriously? Nobody was hurt, he didn't sell the articles and nobody lost money. He was making a point and a legitimate one. Being in academia, the problem of whether or not journals should be so expensive (prohibitive for individuals) is an important one and discussed by every scientist/mathematician and academic I know. The recent disputes between the Nature publishing group (the premier journals in all of science) and many of the prominent american universities over massive costs are well documented.

This is Not an intellectual property issue. This is not the same as pharmaceutical companies being upended by cheap generic drugs. The scientific content in journals is Not intellectual property. The authors do not get paid, the referees do not get paid and their research funding is unrelated to the journals while the scientific editors are essentially volunteers. But still journals are amazingly expensive. Why? Many of the journals (even the non-profits) have amazingly high margins. Why? In the past they were printing costs and the like but now most of the downloads are online. And if you are thinking about maintaining server costs etc, remember the traffic on journal publications isn't exactly high so bandwidth costs are tiny.

Such a level of bitterness and anger regarding something you are completely unaware is pretty unfortunate.
44 posted on 01/14/2013 1:25:58 PM PST by kroll
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To: kiryandil

Jim Robinson did NOT commit suicide to avoid prosecution or a court case....end of story


45 posted on 01/14/2013 2:25:09 PM PST by Nifster
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To: Nifster

In other words, you CAN’T give us a synopsis of the WP/LAT case against FR.

‘Nuff said.


46 posted on 01/14/2013 3:35:40 PM PST by kiryandil (turning Americans into felons, one obnoxious drunk at a time (Zero Tolerance!!!))
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To: kiryandil

Not ‘nuff said.

People on Free Republic were posting articles from various newspapers. They were posting entire articles as I recall not just short excerpts or intros. The Washington Post and the LA Times sued under fair use and copy right law violation. free Republic lost.

And your point is exactly what???


47 posted on 01/14/2013 6:38:21 PM PST by Nifster
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To: Nifster

I guess you forgot about the part where the Clinton White House enjoined the WP & LAT to initiate the lawsuit, then directed it to a Clinton-appointed federal judge, in order to make the case come out as they desired.

Kind of like what happened to this kid Aaron...


48 posted on 01/14/2013 8:34:29 PM PST by kiryandil (turning Americans into felons, one obnoxious drunk at a time (Zero Tolerance!!!))
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To: Nifster
The Washington Post and the LA Times sued under fair use and copy right law violation. free Republic lost.

Well, to be entirely accurate, Clinton's pet federal judge CRAFTED the fair use & copyright "decision" to suit the goals of the Clinton White House.

As we know, Bill Clinton has enormous respect for the rule of law and for the authority of federal judges, which is why he perjured himself, obstructed justice and tampered with witnesses, and basically spit in the eye of the federal judge at his deposition.

The system slapped him down like it slapped down Jon Corzine. **snicker**

49 posted on 01/14/2013 8:41:07 PM PST by kiryandil (turning Americans into felons, one obnoxious drunk at a time (Zero Tolerance!!!))
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To: kiryandil

And Jim did not off himself as a solution.


50 posted on 01/15/2013 11:22:58 AM PST by Nifster
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