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JSTOR an Entitlement For US DoJ's Ortiz & Holder

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the lots-of-work-to-be-done dept.

Crime 287

theodp writes "If Aaron Swartz downloaded JSTOR documents without paying for them, it would presumably be considered a crime by the USDOJ. But if U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz or U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder did the same? Rather than a crime, it would be considered their entitlement, a perk of an elite education that's paid for by their alma maters. Ironically and sadly, that's the kind of inequity Aaron railed against with the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto, a document the DOJ cited as evidence (pdf) that Swartz was a menace to society. On Thursday, Ortiz insisted Swartz — who she now characterizes as 'mentally ill' — received fair and reasonable treatment from the DOJ. But that wasn't good enough for Senator John Cornyn, who on Friday asked Eric Holder to explain the DOJ prosecution of Aaron Swartz." Federal prosecutors have come under heavy criticism for their handling of the Swartz case. Legal scholar Orin Kerr provides counterpoint with two detailed, well-reasoned posts about the case. Kerr says that, as the law stands, the charges against Swartz were "pretty much legit," and that the law itself should be the target of the internet community's angst, rather than the prosecutors. "...blame the system and aim to reform the system; don’t think that this was just two or three prosecutors that were doing something unusual. It wasn’t." James Boyle, co-founder of the Center for the Study of the Public Domain, disagrees with Kerr (partly), arguing that Swartz's renown is simply drawing people together to collectively shine a light on poor legislation and poor prosecutorial practices.

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287 comments

in my opinion (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42633939)

first post

i for one welcome our new

LINUX RULES

The law is a ass. (5, Insightful)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about a year and a half ago | (#42633945)

While he may have had issues, it's dangerous to characterize different opinions as mentally ill.

Re:The law is a ass. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634027)

While he may have had issues, it's dangerous to characterize different opinions as mentally ill.

Yeah but we live in McCarthy-era, can't you tell? Well, it's a novelty really. It used to be communists, then it was minorities, then pedophiles, then terrorists, then computer hackers. Now it's the "mentally ill".

See how that works? Label, then persecute. I can't wait to see how events unfold in New York based on their new unconstitutional and persecuting gun laws.

They're coming for your guns, what are you going to do when they label you "mentally ill"?

Re:The law is a ass. (5, Insightful)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634071)

"They're coming for your guns, what are you going to do when they label you "mentally ill"?"

with no chance for a second opinion, no appeals, no lawyers, no burder of proof on anything.

Re:The law is a ass. (5, Insightful)

jc42 (318812) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634351)

... what are you going to do when they label you "mentally ill"?

And we might note how easy it can be to get such a label. One of last year's minor science/medical news stories that was picked up by some reporters, and also by a number of comedians, was a change made by the American Psychological Association (APA) to their definition of "depression". The fun part of this story was the previous definition, which included the case of a loved one dying, and a survivor's mourning continuing for more than a month. This was all it took to get a diagnosis of depression, and a "mentally ill" label. The time period has now been extended somewhat, but that won't affect the medical records from previous years.

So if someone close to you dies, you might want to be careful to hide signs of sadness when talking to medical people (or strangers ;-), lest you end up on the list of people determined to be mentally ill by a professional psychiatrist.

It really is that easy to get "mentally ill" on your medical record, to be used against you in cases like this.

Re:The law is a ass. (2)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634065)

its been going on for years, and it needs to stop.

Everytime "treating mentally ill", gets brought up in the news, its always been a highlight after some tragedy, with the implications the treatment was non-consentual, with zero burdern of proof, and no restrictions on treatments, nor any sort of legal, or public oversight.

Its been well known for a long time that if you can label someone "mentally ill", without really specifying, or rapidly chaning diagnosis, you can get most of mainstream society to stop asking questions about their care or how they are treated.

Re:The law is a ass. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634069)

it's dangerous to characterize different opinions as mentally ill.

This is very true, but anyone who takes their own life is going to be tainted by the possibility of being "mentally ill" because suicide isn't commonly accepted as the act of a "well" individual.

Re:The law is a ass. (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634209)

That's nothing more than cultural bias.

Plus there's always context. This wasn't just some teenager worried about not being asked to the prom. This was a kid that was facing having is entire life destroyed apart by the government.

That kind of situation is quite often NOT portrayed as a sign of mental illness when the result is suicide. (even in the West)

Re:The law is a ass. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634411)

"That's nothing more than cultural bias."

Irrelevant. That view is prevalent in Swartz's culture.

"This was a kid that was facing having is entire life destroyed apart by the government."

Six months in jail does not destroy a life, particularly where Swartz's livelihood would likely not have been impacted.

Oritz "terribly upset" (about her career) (5, Insightful)

boorack (1345877) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634147)

Carmen Oritz routinely destroys other people lives in order to advance her career without any signs of conscience. For me this is psychopatic behavior. And if her career is the only thing she actually cares of, I'd even call her narcissistic psychopath. Unfortunately, the economic and political system in US promotes psychopaths at the cost of basically everyone else.

I wouldn't pay much attention to what she has to say, she just covers her ass. Psychopaths typically don't show any remorse for their actions - when caught on misbehaviors and lies, they tend to cover it with even bigger bunch of lies.

Re:Oritz "terribly upset" (about her career) (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634187)

Carmen Oritz routinely destroys other people lives in order to advance her career without any signs of conscience.

Also known as "prosecuting people". And to think, all those poor people did was break the law.

Re:Oritz "terribly upset" (about her career) (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634215)

Yes. Because we all know that everyone is presumed guilty and everyone that is ever noticed by the state deserves to be destroyed.

There is some irony that this is playing out in Boston.

Re:Oritz "terribly upset" (about her career) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634291)

Ah, I see where you're getting confused. Maybe you should familiarize yourself with the concept of a "court", where the "prosecutor" presents "evidence" to a "judge" and "jury", and the "defense" argues the case of the "accused",
I've quoted some keywords that should be enough to get you started. I expect you have a lot of reading to do.

Re:Oritz "terribly upset" (about her career) (2)

skywire (469351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634519)

The formal features you cite are not of themselves sufficient. Only if they are comprised of and used by individuals with a sense of proportion and fairness will there be justice. That's what this story is about.

Re:Oritz "terribly upset" (about her career) (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634551)

your comment seems purposely obtuse. but maybe you're
just saying that a prosecutor's job is to throw the book at
everybody paying little to no heed to the evidence.

the reason this seems obtuse to me is it seems clear to
me that that would not be in accordance to civil & democratic
society.

Re:Oritz "terribly upset" (about her career) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634295)

I fear that you are correct. :(

Re:The law is a ass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634369)

it's dangerous to characterize different opinions as mentally ill.

I believe I've seen claims that Swartz was suffering from depression, which is probably what this refers to. Clinical depression isn't a "differing opinion" per se.

Google could get this law changed (2)

whoever57 (658626) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634375)

If Google put into their website terms that anyone in law enforcement or a member of congress was not allowed to use Google's services, how long would it be before breaking a site's terms was no longer a criminal act?

Actually, even if Google does not do this, how about a grassroots campaign to do it?

Re:Google could get this law changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634407)

If Google put into their website terms that anyone in law enforcement or a member of congress was not allowed to use Google's services, how long would it be before breaking a site's terms was no longer a criminal act?

Ah, yes, the reliable, well-tested-in-court Obvious Illegal Pornography And Copyright Infringing Website Warning Trick. Because, as warez sites and child pornography peddlers have learned, the sure-fire way to keep law enforcement officials from knocking on your door is a big sign that says "NO COPZ ALLOWED", preferably in big, uneven painted letters (some of which are backwards), just like when you were kids and wanted to keep those icky girls out of your tree fort. It's foolproof!

Re:The law is a ass. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634485)

Also she uses the same arguments, the Nazis used: 'As the law stands, the charges against $victim were "pretty much legit,"'

The thing with laws is, that half of them today do not protect against harm, but *cause* harm, to profit a few selected assholes.

But as I say: Laws are meaningless. Good people know what's right and what's wrong themselves. And bad people don't give a shit about them anyway.
And when bad people *become* the law... this here is what we end up with.

In addition.... (5, Insightful)

RatPh!nk (216977) | about a year and a half ago | (#42633961)

First let me say that my area of research is medicine. There is a lot of tax payer funded research that is inaccessible to the public despite their hand in its creation. I think that this aspect needs to be discussed, as well.

Re:In addition.... (5, Insightful)

Sir Homer (549339) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634035)

There is a lot of tax payer funded research that is inaccessible to the public despite their hand in its creation. I think that this aspect needs to be discussed, as well.

I don't even see anything to discuss. Seriously, how the hell is this acceptable?

And Swartz's super serious multi-felony crime was trying to fix this situation? Every time I look back at this case, it befuddles me. The only insane people here are the prosecution, and they need to be called out on it and punished along with everyone involved in this travesty of justice.

Re:In addition.... (2, Insightful)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634111)

There is plenty to discuss, Tax payers dollars are used to fund research, which the tax payers have no access. What is doing in the "public good", is kept from the public.

Then comes your "appeal to authority". Because something is currently illegal, its automaticly above debate in MORAL standing. The argument here, is SHOULD what swartz did have been a felony under law. Thats what is up for debate. I am reading a book called "they though they where free", its about german non-resistance to nazi rule. In Germany, conformity and social acceptance carried a higher responsiblity than avoiding terrible authoriarian politics.

We'vve spent the last 30 years trying to smash our own culture of independence and free thinking, critical for protecting ourselves against things like this by ensuring there is always someone to stick up to unjust authority.

Re:In addition.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634391)

Barack Obama eats food bought with my taxes and shits in toilets bought with my taxes. Why don't tax payers have access to his poop?

Re:In addition.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634513)

because on his charter it is not claimed that he does the shitting for us.

Re:In addition.... (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634531)

Good points, and with regard to the laws and legaly system in America, a few years back a lawsuit brought against one of the two major legal databases owners/purveyors in the USA (alleging the fabrication and rewording of legal-setting case precedents to alter court law) was widely covered in the European press, yet received absolutely no publicity in Amerika. A most important and crucial factual point from the blog site:

http://dissentingdemocrat.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/aaron-swartz-r-i-p/ [wordpress.com]

“Reed Elsevier” is one of two companies which collectively own the Law in the United States. The other company, Thompson-Reuters (formerly Thompson-West) along with Reed Elsevier collect statutes, regulations and case law from the various States input the compilations into computers, collate it and add notes and then turn around and sell the Law to lawyers and the very governments that produce it. So if you, or the lawyer you pay, want to know what the law is on any topic, you will have to pay one or the other, and sometimes both, of these companies for the privilege.

And interesting to note the Thompson-Reuters is now owner of the text analytics software firm, ClearForest (also used at NASDAQ, FBI, NSA, Credit Suisse, and financed by the same private equity firm which gave us Narus -- now a Boeing subsidiary, but still active in helping to arrest, torture and murder pro-democracy activists in China, Egypt, Syria, etc.).

Re:In addition.... (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634145)

This is what you get when corporations and special interests are the ones writing the laws. Congress knows by now that they just need to wave their hands and make a show of caring until the outrage blows over and then they can go back to business as usual. They only have to worry about getting elected every few years, and by then most people will have forgotten about this. Hell, if you asked any handful of random people about it now, I'm pretty sure most of them wouldn't know what you're talking about. Educational institutions have their own special brand of corruption. I'd be surprised if anyone was even formally reprimanded for this, much less lost their job over it.

Ultimately this is how the system works. The system was built by corporations and a few very loud somewhat small special interest groups. The system is not there to protect the little guy or let them go about their lives with a minimum of intrusion. It was built to suck the life out of the worker drones before tossing them aside. Anything that interferes with the profitability of this process will be dealt with harshly. And while we see this as a tragedy and an illustration of how broken the system is, I'm sure that some executive in a boardroom somewhere is rubbing his hands and thinking how unlikely it is that anyone will attempt this sort of sharing again in the future.

Re:In addition.... (4, Insightful)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634479)

I don't even see anything to discuss. Seriously, how the hell is this acceptable?

Ultimately it comes down to money (and I don't mean that in a snide conspiracy way). It costs a fair bit of money to create and operate a system as expansive as JSTOR, not to mention the high cost of acquiring the journals themselves. Academia never completely got its act together, so the final solution was for a private entity to operate it, the non-profit Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Since then they've been rolled into the equally non-profit ITHAKA, which operates JSTOR to this day.

It should come as no surprise of course that even as a non-profit, JSTOR has to charge for access to journals for two reasons. First, they need to provide access control as per any content licensing agreements with journal publishers - most of whom are non-profits themselves and need to pull in enough revenue to publish their journals - as otherwise everyone would read JSTOR for free and not purchase journal subscriptions (and since JSTOR would not be bringing in any revenue, they could not pay the journals either). Second of course is that operating the JSTOR system costs money, and if journals could be freely copied out, everyone would take the good stuff (and admittedly probably take good care of it) but then cancel their JSTOR subscriptions. This would leave behind a number of smaller journals that are suddenly not getting digitized and archived. The whole academic journal system is one big case study in the tragedy of the commons: everyone wants it for free, but no one wants to pay to operate the journals or the storage systems.

Consequently, whether journal access is free or not is really up to Congress, as only government can solve the tragedy of the commons. If Congress were to task the LoC with creating an equivalent system and funded that mandate (i.e. made everyone pay for it) then an open system could be built or JSTOR acquired. Congress already provides a bit of funding for JSTOR in a roundabout way, as ITHAKA has received some small grants from various government departments over the years, including the Library of Congress. So this pretty much comes down to Congress increasing their funding for these projects.

Until then however, JSTOR will remain behind a paywall. Someone has to pay the costs of the journals and the systems, and if it isn't the public then it will be a private system.

TL;DR: JSTOR would be free if Congress would pay for it rather than leaving this up to private industry

So, people don't kill people (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42633965)

The law kills people...

Precedent (5, Funny)

sesshomaru (173381) | about a year and a half ago | (#42633985)

"On Thursday, Ortiz insisted Swartz â" who she now characterizes as 'mentally ill' â" "

Yeah, they used to say that about dissidents in the Soviet Union, too.

Re:Precedent (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634043)

Quite true, and quite extensive.

Political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union [wikipedia.org]

Is that all you got? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634131)

Yeah, they used to say that about dissidents in the Soviet Union, too.

And Christian heretics, Rival Kings, Pharoahs, Senators, Mandarins, Greek Philosophers, Abolitionists...

OK, sometimes they mixed it up with other choices like demonic possession, homosexuality, epilepsy, and more.

The key to remember is that people judge and condemn others. Sometimes it is fair. I do see some kooky opinions. Sometimes it is not.

Re:Precedent (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634511)

Thank you...

Re:Precedent (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634619)

"On Thursday, Ortiz insisted Swartz -- who she now characterizes as 'mentally ill' --"

So how long has she been investigating him . . . ? And now his 'mentally ill' issue comes up . . . ?

Sorry, I don't buy that. That boy was investigated so thoroughly, she knew where every pimple on his ass was. She is trying to toss him into the 'mentally ill` tank with the current catch of shooters, hoping that 'mentally ill' now tags someone as a criminal, in the public eye.

She is just trying to save her political career. She had her eyes on Senator or Governor of Massachusetts.

Whatever... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42633987)

I have no idea what the summary talks about.

Blame Both (3, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42633993)

While true that, in theory, prosecutors are just enforcing the law, they have significant discretion when it comes to things like even bringing any charges in the first place. As any victim of petty crime and they will usually have a tale of how the police or prosecutor just didn't bother doing anything even though the law said crime was committed.

Re:Blame Both (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634241)

Yes. THAT.

If you had your life savings swindled from you, you would see just how quickly these prosecutors would be willing to ignore the perpetrators. The feds and their state equivalents will likely just blame you for being the victim and just ignore you and the crime you just reported.

"But they are just enforcing the law" rings hollow when you have been on the other side of the scales and have been ignored.

Justice is a sham and these people are just "career minded opportunists".

Menace to Government (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42633995)

Aaron Swartz is dead now. You've lost your persecution leverage against him personally.

My question is: Now, how are you going to stop his message? How do we serfs penetrate this invulnerability/hypocrisy force field that employees of our government are "entitled" to?

Tear it down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634003)

These prosecutors are nothing unusual- completely dedicated to enforcing the letter of the law, with no regard or concern for justice.

Perk of an elite education (2)

rwade (131726) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634009)

Rather than a crime, it would be considered their entitlement, a perk of an elite education that's paid for by their alma maters.

The list that is linked to does not include Stanford...but that is where Swartz started college. The suggestion that he did not have access to an elite education is rediculous under the circumstances. So not only is the premise of the idea that people as alums of certain schools would not be prosecuted for pulling every journal off JSTOR and putting it out on the web laughable but the particulars not really compelling. Stanford is a pretty good school.

Re:Perk of an elite education (4, Insightful)

alostpacket (1972110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634085)

Indeed, this is hate mongering. JSTOR dropped the charges and is putting out an olive branch (granted it's a tiny one). Now if this were about pushing publicly funded articles and papers to the Library of Congress or otherwise opening that up to the public, then that is a discussion worth having. Trying to paint the prosecutors as part of a privileged "elite" evil is unproductive. The issue is getting the public access to public information, not the perceived hypocrisy of who currently has access.

Re:Perk of an elite education (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634529)

You're completely missing the point. Swartz' actions weren't about getting access for himself but for the rest of us, all of us. He indeed had access but was against the exclusivity.

Read http://archive.org/stream/GuerillaOpenAccessManifesto/Goamjuly2008_djvu.txt [archive.org]

Re:Perk of an elite education (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634609)

The suggestion that he did not have access to an elite education is rediculous under the circumstances.

Yes, it would be ridiculous, that's why no one is making it.

The point of bring up this policy is that Swartz was not working for the benefit of Stanford alumni. He was working to benefit EVERYONE, including people who can't even afford community college.

Eric Holder (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634039)

I see they are complaining about Holder having access and if a normal person did it would be considered illegal. Why are people not complaining about Holder's department being responsible for the deaths of hunderds of Mexicans and then covering it up? Judical Watch [brevardtimes.com] is now being told that their FOIA request should be considered illegal when attempting to get documents to find out why guns were given to Mexican criminals. We are told Holder had nothing to do with it, Obama had nothing to do with it, yet the documents are being held secret via "Executive Privledge" which would ONLY pertain if they related to communications directly between Obama and Holder. So by invoking Executive Priviledge they are telling us they are both involved.

How many people have to be killed by this administration before people will finally say enough is enough and force them to release information on what really happened. BTW, the ATF whistleblower that first brought this all to light was just fired from his position for being a whistleblower, yet we hear no outrage about that either.

Just add this story as YET ANOTHER DEATH at the hands of Eric Holder, and watch him go on like nothing happened with no reprocussions to him or his office. How many people have to die/be killed before ANYONE will hold Holder accountable. Janet Reno was responsible for killing 86 in Waco and was never held accountable, Holder has at least doubled that number without even the hint of a charge. It looks to me like the DOJ has become the assassination wing of the DNC when they control the White House, and they don't have to even answer questions.

off-topic.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634281)

This should be +1 interesting, -100 off-topic. Seriously mods.

... for which they paid heavily (4, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634061)

I don't understand the point of this article. Holder and Ortiz (or somebody, if they were on scholarship) paid for those college educations. If one of the perks of that payment is lifetime journal access, what on earth does it have to do with this case?

If this was an overzealous prosecution, then it should be investigated, and possibly procedures changed to prevent it in the future. And I certainly agree that journal access has become utterly disproportionate.

But most of what I read about this case is a rush to judgment that makes no more sense than the prosecution is being accused of. And articles like this bolster that impression, jumping to conclusions and engaging in character assassination because we liked one guy and therefore hate the other guys.

Things need to be fixed, but that's best achieved with clarity, not more obfuscation.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634079)

The fact that the fruits of scientific research are available only to people who "paid heavily" is precisely the objection.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (3, Insightful)

alostpacket (1972110) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634253)

Is it? Or is this article an attempt to paint and shame the prosecutors as privileged? I suspect it's the latter.

JSTOR is a not-for-profit and dropped the charges against him. They offer some articles to individuals for free, and now have opened more articles via the Alumni Access program. What they do isn't evil. Rather, they could do more, provide more access. So why are we sitting debating about what access the prosecutors had to JSTOR? It's irrelevant to the larger conversation.

The discussion we should be having:

1) Should all scientific studies be public domain?

2) If so, how should access be provided? Who pays to maintain upkeep?

3) Should all publicly funded science be made public? (probably and obvious yes here)

4) If so, how should access be provided? Who pays to maintain upkeep?

I'd like to think Scwartz's goal was bigger than these small-minded, egotistical prosecutors. Lets talk about how we can open up the data, not how to engage in a witch hunt. Prosecutorial overreach, to me, is a separate conversation.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (4, Insightful)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634303)

The meme that the public does not have access to this stuff is just wrong.

There are large public libraries that offer public access to JSTOR. For example the Boston Public Library.

JSTORs fees are graduated based on the size of the library, so even a small library can afford access.

Many universities offer library cards to the public; for example my employer paid for my Princeton University Library card for about 10 years. Not cheap but in fact it gave me access to pretty much the sum total of all human knowledge. And maintaining a collection like that is clearly not free.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (2)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634445)

I'd like to think Scwartz's goal was bigger than these small-minded, egotistical prosecutors. Lets talk about how we can open up the data, not how to engage in a witch hunt. Prosecutorial overreach, to me, is a separate conversation.

I agree we should talk about something bigger than specific people, but Swartz was extremely interested in injustice in addition to information freedom, so I don't see it as an either-or. We can talk about how to open data, and we can also talk about how to reform the American criminal-justice system. After all, the latter led more directly to his death.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634481)

How could JSTOR provide more access without raising fees? They are already non-profit.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634625)

There is some evidence that they are technically incompetent. Their servers were crashed by one kid with a laptop downloading too many articles too fast.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (1)

symbolset (646467) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634615)

It is the objection. The entire point of doing this research and writing these papers is to "expand the pool of human knowledge". That is the whole motive of "publish or perish": that knowledge be shared, tested, and built upon so that we might have progress in science. Not progress for the privileged few, but progress for all. Not progress slowed by general release of the knowledge after "forever less one day" but right away.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634495)

The fact that the fruits of scientific research are available only to people who "paid heavily" is precisely the objection.

Tuff shit.

You aren't entitled to scientific research results even results paid for by public money. There is a ton of research that is paid for with public money that is also classified. This whole outrage stems from a false assumption about scientific research.

Everything in my lab was paid for off grant money but the public is not entitled use any of that equipment. My salary is paid of grant money too but the public is not entitled to any thing I have bought with my salary. So you are not entitled to free access to my research either.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634539)

If the best argument you can make against change is stating the current situation, limiting how many people see your research is money well spent.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634503)

A Princeton university access library card costs $275/year.

The Boston Public Library has JSTOR.

I don't think this is having to "pay heavily".

Re:... for which they paid heavily (4, Insightful)

theNAM666 (179776) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634193)

Moreover, if either Holder or Ortiz had hacked systems and exceeded their authorized access as Swatz did, playing a cat&mouse game with sysadmins at their home institutions and JSTOR, they'd have likely faced the same consequences as Aaron. The article is FUD.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634491)

Are you joking? No they wouldn't.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634591)

How about if Holder gave thousands of guns to drug cartels [wikipedia.org] , was then found Contempt of Congress [foxnews.com] for the coverup of the program. A program that caused the death of hundreds of Mexicans [cbslocal.com] and a US border patrol agent. Of course he would face consequences then.

Unless the prosecutor works for Holder [cnn.com] and was told not to prosecute him.

I think the point is painfully clear that if Holder will not be held accountable for deaths of Mexicans and US Border patrol agents that he will not be prosecuted for ANYTHING. It is not FUD, it is fact.

Re:... for which they paid heavily (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634549)

The institutions they attended all received public funding, assuming neither (and that's a big assumption) of them received public funding of their educations on top of that. Your claim is specious.

Let's nip this FUD in the bud (2)

theNAM666 (179776) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634063)

Volokh analysis of what Swatz actually did, with detailed history:

http://www.volokh.com/2013/01/14/aaron-swartz-charges/ [volokh.com]

I assure you, an MIT enrollee or grad would have gotten the same treatment.

Re:Let's nip this FUD in the bud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634161)

And the treatment would have been wrong then too. What point are you trying to make?

HOW DO YOU CHANGE THE LAW? (1)

aissixtir (2752321) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634077)

It`s not the fault of those who enforce the law. The weight falls on our shoulder because we activily participate into the political arena 1 day every few years to vote for an incompetent guy and then we sit back in front of our laptop watching movies until the next elections. When was the last time you did anything to change something?!? WHEN ?

Re:HOW DO YOU CHANGE THE LAW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634239)

Why is it not the fault of those who enforce the law? When it is an "unjust" law as they call it the DOJ [politico.com] not only doesn't enforce the law but they then sue anyone who does. However, if you do something they don't like, they then twist the law to ruin your life, like in this case.

The DOJ treats the law as their personal right to do what they want and punish those they don't like. They will either punish you for following the law, like Arizona, or they will punish you for breaking the law, as in this case. They have become a dictatorship where you either behave the way they want you to or they will destroy you. The law as it is written has nothing to do with any of it. Changing the law will only bring reprocussions to those who attempt to have it changed in a way the DOJ doesn't like. And be careful, if it benefits them to arm hundreds of ciminials with illegal guns to destroy you, the DOJ will [wikipedia.org] , even if its only an attempt to turn public opinion against gun ownership, they will cause the deaths of hundreds to do so.

Re:HOW DO YOU CHANGE THE LAW? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634497)

This is a false dilemma. Blame doesn't have to fall solely on one entity, and being in a position of power does not remove all responsibilities.

Not interested in excuses (2, Insightful)

rastoboy29 (807168) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634089)

Prosecutors have been running rampant all over the country for years now for their personal aggrandizement.  This time they just chose a very public and sympathetic target.

Hang 'em all.

35-50 years (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634109)

From the second Kerr link [volokh.com] :

Why are you hearing that Swartz faced 35 or 50 years if it was not true? First, government press releases like to trumpet the maximum theoretical numbers. Authors of the press releases will just count up the crimes and the add up the theoretical maximum punishments while largely or completely ignoring the reality of the likely much lower sentence. The practice is generally justified by its possible general deterrent value: perhaps word of the high punishment faced in theory will get to others who might commit the crime and will scare them away. And unfortunately, uninformed reporters who are new to the crime beat sometimes pick up that number and report it as truth. A lot of people repeat it, as they figure it must be right if it was in the news. And some people who know better but want you to have a particular view of the case repeat it, too. But don’t be fooled. Actual sentences are usually way way off of the cumulative maximum punishments.

So if it serves as a deterrent we should be fooled, but if it applies to ourselves we shouldn't be? Personally I would be scared shitless if I saw the DOJ itself [justice.gov] make statements like that about me. Just be truthful. The US already is highly punitive [civitas.org.uk] [pdf, see page 11-12] compared to other western countries (27 times as high as where I live). If that by itself doesn't work as a deterrent then exaggerations probably won't do much either, apart from increasing the likelihood of people killing themselves.

If bullying is part of the system, then yes, the system should be targeted. But not just by outsiders, the prosecuters themselves should have opposed the system instead of participating in the bullying. And as they did participate they should be targeted as part of the system.

Carmen Ortiz, Psychologist? (2, Insightful)

Alien Being (18488) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634119)

I guess she should know a thing or two about mental illness since she is, herself, a sociopath.

A bit disingenuous (4, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634133)

It's a bit disingenuous to drive someone to suicide and then claim that the fact that they did so means they were mentally ill. It's kind of like throwing someone in the East River wearing concrete shoes and blaming them for being unable to swim.

Re:A bit disingenuous (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634249)

Disingenuous? Is that another word for cunt?

Don't bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634159)

Is anyone still under the illusion that our governance isn't corrupt to the core? This is one of many cases that could be cited in an ongoing campaign of unbridled judicial malfeasance. And even if Ortiz or Holder are found to be in violation of the law, exactly what will happen to them beyond a slap on the wrist?

Serfs and lords, and that's all you need to know.

heard this one before... (1)

Libertarian001 (453712) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634177)

"...blame the system and aim to reform the system; don’t think that this was just two or three prosecutors that were doing something unusual. It wasn’t."

Soooooo, if I understand correctly, she was just following orders...

Blame the game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634197)

blame the system and aim to reform the system; don’t think that this was just two or three prosecutors that were doing something unusual. It wasn’t.

Typical don't hate the players, hate the game talk.

I'm perfectly capable of hating both.

Of course, so many from Wall St have gone to jail (2)

rbmyers (587296) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634201)

What baloney. Prosecutors make decisions about whom to go after and for what all the time. The law is the law is just total BS.

I will repeat, so I can be labeled as flamebait again, that the real culprit here is Mr. Unequal Justice himself, the POTUS and his slimy DoJ, of which the Boston prosecutors are just cogs in a smoke manufacturing machine.

Re:Of course, so many from Wall St have gone to ja (1)

ub3r n3u7r4l1st (1388939) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634371)

And the international bankers that are bankrolling this POTUS.

Re:Of course, so many from Wall St have gone to ja (1)

rbmyers (587296) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634463)

Well, at least someone gets it.

Re:Of course, so many from Wall St have gone to ja (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634473)

International bankers donated far more to the last Republican presidential candidate than they did the current POTUS.

It's time for a war... (1)

JockTroll (996521) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634211)

... On the mentally ill! Pogromize the assburgers!

JSTOR (5, Informative)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634235)

I am an alumnus of one to the members of the JSTOR alumni program (Yale).

This article is VERY misleading.

JSTOR is a non-profit company founded by an ex-president of Princeton University aimed at reducing costs associated with maintaining large archives of journals at universities.

The alumni access to JSTOR described was part of a PILOT PROGRAM. This has been extended to all institutions that participate in JSTOR.

In addition JSTOR had nothing to do with the criminal charges brought against Aaron Shwartz. JSTOR asked that no charges be brought.

This was solely the result of actions taken by MIT and the DOJ.

JSTOR in fact is very inclusive. They have programs that provide access to secondary schools, public libraries and so forth.

http://about.jstor.org/fees/13006#tab-fees [jstor.org]

Also JSTOR hosts significant public domain content that is available free to anyone.

JSTOR Alumni Access Fee (1)

theodp (442580) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634437)

How to Subscribe [jstor.org] : "The Alumni Access participation fee for subscribing institutions is 10% of the institution's total AAF. Subscribing institutions must support the bifurcation of alumni from their main JSTOR account via IP based access methods."

Re:JSTOR (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634569)

I think you misunderstand! This article isn't an attack on JSTOR, but a valid sally against both Holder and Ortiz.

Oh, for ... lay off JSTOR (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634245)

A) JSTOR withdrew their support of the charges much earlier;
B) they're a non-profit institution;
C) don't like that their web server bandwidth costs money and so does digitizing papers, so they can't offer it all for free? Donate more to them so that they can pay the bills;
D) publishers still retain copyright for a lot of the content in JSTOR (and many other journals), and that means terms for public release of the journal content have to be negotiated;
E) while I agree with Swartz's and many other people's principle that publicly-funded research should be free access to the public, there are practical challenges (see D and E), and I still don't agree with his approach of "Fine, so I'm going to download them all in violation of the terms of access and set them free". Regardless of the law and technical implementation, I thought what he did was wrong even if I agreed with the principle he used to justify it;
E) none of this changes the fact that the prosecutors were going way over the top with charges; and
F) it is a tragedy that he didn't get enough help before he killed himself.

The whole outrage over this makes me angry (1)

Sierran (155611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634257)

...it's not like there haven't been young people committing suicide after being railroaded on charges for things they absolutely didn't do, in this country, for years.

But they're minorities and poor and must have been guilty, right?

Let a tech-elite white kid run afoul of the legal mechanisms, though...

Slashdotters are usually engineers and scientists, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634261)

... so they won't be members of the Establishment.

Members of the Establishment look after themselves, and cut the fingers off anyone who is trying to grab them round the ankles. Get used to it - it's the way life works.

Prosecutorial Discretion (3, Insightful)

tukang (1209392) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634275)

What a bunch of crap. The system allowed for Mrs. Ortiz to not Charge Aaron at all if she so chose. Certainly, she didn't have to charge him with a dozen of felonies. http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/01/18/aaron-swartz-and-prosecutorial-discretion/ [nytimes.com]

Following Orders (4, Insightful)

RichMan (8097) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634313)

"It's not my fault, I was just following orders."

I thought as a society we had long ago decided that was not an excuse. I thought all lawyers on whatever side were agents of the judicial system and were looking for justice.

It seems our society has forgotten something. If you are doing wrong you are responsible, no matter the chain of command, it is an individuals responsibility to not do wrong and to reject a bad system. This should go doubly so for any agents of the justice system.

Shame on the system. Shame on the individual.

Re:Following Orders (1)

mbone (558574) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634555)

"It's not my fault, I was just following orders."

I thought as a society we had long ago decided that was not an excuse.

Haven't you heard ? In this century, the US only prosecutes those who are following orders. Those giving the orders are apparently totally immune. This started with Abu Graib and continues, literally, to this Friday [salon.com] .

Re:Following Orders (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634565)

>"It's not my fault, I was just following orders."
>I thought as a society we had long ago decided that was not an excuse.

In Germany we did. In the US you didn't. Why would you have?

next steps? Sue Ortiz, JSTOR, and MIT. (4, Insightful)

bzipitidoo (647217) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634333)

What should happen next?

  • Fire Carmen Ortiz, Steve Heymann, and perhaps Scott Garland.
  • Disbar and bring charges against Ortiz and Heymann for Attorney Misconduct. Also hit them with Involuntary Manslaughter.
  • Sue JSTOR for violations of FOIA requests. Sue them for theft, and perhaps racketeering. Also sue them under the anti trust laws for price fixing.
  • Sue MIT as well, for contributory negligence.
  • Change the terminology. There should be no language anywhere in the laws that equate copying with theft. This crime of "data theft" should be called "data copying".
  • Change the deals, and the laws. No private publisher should have any legal grounds for locking away research paid for by the public.

If any of this seems over the top, consider how over the top the accusations and threats against Swartz were.

I'm wondering about Senator Cornyn. Could he actually be in support greater intellectual freedom? It seems 99% of politicians and judges are crusty old fools who blindly swallow publisher propaganda, and their knee jerk reaction to any alleged copyright violation is to believe the accusers and join the pack screaming that it's "theft" and howling for the blood of the accused. A demonstration of this is Ortiz's profound words of wisdom: "Stealing is stealing". But perhaps Cornyn, who sponsored PIPA, is having a change of heart?

Re:next steps? Sue Ortiz, JSTOR, and MIT. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634465)

If any of this seems over the top, consider how over the top the accusations and threats against Swartz were.

When is telling a guy that committed multiple felonies that he's going to jail over the top?

He was given a choice between 6 months and 7 years. He chose the death penalty and I for on am glad. It means another scumbag that will never break the law again.

Can't have it both ways. (5, Insightful)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634365)

" Kerr says that, as the law stands, the charges against Swartz were "pretty much legit," and that the law itself should be the target of the internet community's angst,"

No, BOTH should be the target of the "internet community's angst" and societies in general. One can't happen without the other, prosecutors continually demand more harsh and less restrictive laws "to catch the bad people". And when it is proven beyond all doubt that they targeted the wrong people with their near unlimited "proprietorial discretion" they demand complete indemnification from criminal/civil responsibility because prosecution of the "bad guys" would be imperiled if they had to worry about their freedom & livelihood. They can't have it both ways, at least not in a free & just society. They can either have extensive powers with severe penalties if they mess up, or they can have very limited powers with limited liability. To do otherwise breeds nothing but corruption & imprisonment of the innocent.

interesting (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634431)

Nice to read Kerr's nuanced read of the situation, good antidote to the shrill, half-witted shrieking of the chronically ignorant slashdotters.

I'm surprised Cornyl doesn't autoignite (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634477)

Cornyn should shut his fat hypocritic yap. It's his kind that wants to make IP abuse a criminal matter where it should be civil. He's in the crowd who would make violation of TOSs a federal crime. Now he is crying crocodile tears that the Justice Department applied laws he rabidly supported?

JSTOR is a goldmine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42634501)

JSTOR makes a fortune for those associated with the organisation. Do not let the 'non-profit' tag fool you for one moment. This simply means the corrupt scum that oversee the operation gain all their profit in the form of massive salaries, consultancy fees, and expenses pay-outs. Of course the MIT higher-ups, with their hand in the till, exploded when they learnt Aaron was acting to end their gravy train.

JSTOR needs to be seen in the light of any similar 'mob' operation. JSTOR gathers up intellectual work that is not theirs in the first place, and is largely by authors that see no payment, and want their work freely available. Then JSTOR demands 'protection' money to gain access to this resource. When anyone crosses JSTOR, they take him 'out back' and ensure not only does that person never bother them again, but the lesson is learnt by anyone else who might challenge their 'operation'.

We see the same behaviour with organisations that claim to represent 'artists' in most non-English speaking nations, and Canada. We see the same behaviour with the giant State-approved charities (the ones that tend to have a royal patron at their head). the non-profit label is the ultimate dream for the corrupt criminals. It means no oversight. It means the assumption of do-goodery. It means continuing giant pay-outs to those that are associated with the organisation, regardless of the financial climate.

JSTOR butchered a young man purely to protect the money flow that enriches the bank accounts of JSTOR's controllers. What is a life worth? People are frequently murdered for thousands of dollars. When hundreds of millions are involved, you think anyone is going to think twice before squashing a 'problem' person like a bug. Grow up!

Outstanding blog posting, Soulskill (2)

sgt_doom (655561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42634507)

..and theodp remarks are brilliant and spot on!

Naturally, one would expect AG Holder, who made his big bucks at Covington & Burling, defending Chiquita (formerly United Fruit) and Coca Cola and the oil companies, for their hiring of assassins to murder labor organizers, protesters and pro-democracy activists in South America and West Africa. And please don't neglect the record of Ortiz:

http://whowhatwhy.com/2013/01/17/carmen-ortizs-sordid-rap-sheet/ [whowhatwhy.com]
And please let us never forget the ultimate entitlement:

The "right" of the banksters to "create money" and make the rest of us pay them for it! (Unconstitutional, as the US Constitution only gives the right to coin the currency to the gov't, not to any private concern --- Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy exercised that constitutional right, and history shows us their horrendous outcomes.)
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