For those who aren’t informed, Aaron Schwartz was an outstanding member of the free and open culture movement. He believed in reform to current copyright legislation. He was associated with admirable groups such as the EFF, Creative Commons, MIT, Demand Progress, and more. At age 22, he killed himself.
To start off, he hacked JSTOR. His motivations for the hack was not greed. He wasn’t seeking ANY benefit for himself. He did it because he believed that it is unfair for only the scholarly elite. He believed that everyone should have free access to information. JSTOR and MIT did not want to press any criminal charges; however, the prosecutors insisted.
Also, be aware that he did not actually “hack” JSTOR. According to Wikipedia,
[Aaron Swartz] set up a laptop to mass-download articles from JSTOR.
What Can You Do?
First off, there already is a petition that sends a letter/email to your law-makers which is on Demand Progress, the project that Aaron Schwartz created. Check out the
Demand Justice for Aaron petition.
Also, an even better thing to do is to follow by his example. If you own a website/blog, YouTube Channel, or any other copyright(able) media, please license it under the Creative Commons License. It will show your support for a free and open Internet.
Another thing to do is to post about this on Facebook, tweet about it on Twitter, and try to bring as much awareness as possible. The more, the merrier. Make sure to link to the Demand Progress petition above.
If you have the time and effort, I highly recommend that you start a website, YouTube channel, or anything similar to that and use it to show your support for the free culture movement.
On the brighter side, I just found a torrent from The Pirate Bay containing the 35 Gb of JSTOR data. It was set up in memory of Aaron Swartz. Make sure to seed it so everyone is able to download because, the download is going pretty slow for me.