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Re: <nettime> Aaron Swartz charged for downloading too many Journal arti
Nick on Wed, 20 Jul 2011 16:15:18 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Aaron Swartz charged for downloading too many Journal articles from the Library: Please sign suport petition.


On Wed, Jul 20, 2011 at 07:55:19AM -0500, Jon Lebkowsky wrote:
> JSTOR isn't free: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JSTOR. A news article says
> "Of the 4.8 million documents downloaded, 1.7 million should only have been
> available for purchase through a sales service."  However Aaron already had
> free access to the database. He's being charged with circumventing security
> or "breaking into" the system to get millions of articles quickly.

Well, the MIT connection he was using already had full access, though
according to the indictment he "[broke] into a restricted computer
wiring closet at MIT" get access.

As far as I can see the only offense against JSTOR was actually
writing a script to bypass its cumbersome web interface, so as to
download articles more conveniently. And using it to download lots of
articles.

This results in counts of "recklessly caus[ing] damage to MIT and
JSTOR" (for using their services heavily) [count 4], "wire fraud" (for
"obtaining property") [count 1], and "computer fraud" (for "using
JSTOR in excess of authorised access") [counts 2 & 3].

I am one of those people who enjoys writing bots to do things which
would take me ages on web sites. I do not relish a world in which
such actions are prosecuted as criminal by parties not related to the
websites in question.

Perhaps a better course of action for Aaron to have taken, with the
benefit of hindsight, would have been to anonymously release his
"keygrabbing.py" script and implore people from all over to help
download articles.

I see that JSTOR is an independent non-profit, it would be interesting
to see how their non-profit application worded "we intend to help the
public good by restricting access to these works by the public."






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