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Anonymous 
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Post Re: Anonymous
PeterScott wrote:
Whether this case even constitutes theft of IP seems open to debate,

???? Not hardly. He took 4 million articles. 4 million. They didn't belong to him. They were outside the bounds of the licenses and permissions granted by JSTOR and MIT. His deception and evasiveness in the face of the attempts of JSTOR/MIT to stop him show that he knew that what he was doing was wrong. Which element of "theft" is missing?

I'm really sympathetic to the copyfighter movement. I think the DCMA and the Bono copyright extensions are misguided and bad law. I think the Federal prosecutors overreached here, and probably do much of the time. But Swartz was a thief.

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but even if we stipulate it as being equivalent to the most heinous kind of IP theft, equating someone pirating a Disney DVD with armed assault is casuistry.
And comparing what Swartz did with pirating a Disney DVD is . . . . .????

Perhaps a fair comparison is embezzling.


Sun Jan 27, 2013 7:01 pm
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Anonymous
BillMullins wrote:
Which element of "theft" is missing?

Well, perhaps the fact that it wasn't among the charges brought against him. The closest was "unlawfully obtaining information from a protected computer," but theft of IP is a specific offense and not one he was charged with. And also the fact that JSTOR declined to pursue civil action against him and characterized his actions as "significant misuse." And that they made the same information freely downloadable not long after. If they weren't damaged by releasing it themselves, how were they damaged by what he did?

I'm not arguing that he's innocent or ought not to face consequences. But no one at any time was physically injured or in fear of their life, and comparing his offense to one with those elements is overreaching.
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And comparing what Swartz did with pirating a Disney DVD is . . . . .????


I wasn't thinking of an individual home copy; I wasn't minimizing that much. Rather the mass marketing, cf China or Taiwan.


Sun Jan 27, 2013 11:27 pm
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PITA Bred
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Post Re: Anonymous
PeterScott wrote:
I wasn't thinking of an individual home copy; I wasn't minimizing that much. Rather the mass marketing, cf China or Taiwan.

So because nations we'd basically have to nuke to halt their mass infringement can't be stopped, we shouldn't punish any lesser violations?


Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:53 am
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Anonymous
Once again, I'm not saying no punishment. I'm saying that the punishment shouldn't exceed the maximum permitted for a child rapist. Some kind of misdemeanor and community service would have been appropriate.


Mon Jan 28, 2013 3:33 pm
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Heinlein Nexus
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Post Re: Anonymous
I do also believe strongly in general that "I was following <deeply-held conviction>" is not a get-out-of-jail free card. So many people think so, especially if <deeply-held conviction> emerges from some religious tenet. Nope, that just means your conscience is clear. You should still be prepared to deal with the consequences, evil though they may be. The early Christians sang while they were being burned (well, if Quo Vadis is anything to go by); they didn't bitch and whine and say they should get a free pass because of their religion.


Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:53 pm
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Post Re: Anonymous
I agree with both of you (Jim and Peter). Swartz definitely stole intellectual property, although his intentions were not personal profit. If the Justice department had charged him at a level that would have resulted in, say, an 18-month sentence if he was convicted, I'd have thought that they were well within their rights. If he'd gone to jail for a few months, I suspect that he might have learned a lesson that he needed to learn.

But not for 35 years. I'm an incest survivor. The man who raped me, IF HE HAD DONE SO TODAY, would not have qualified for a sentence that long. Most murderers do not qualify for or serve sentences that long. Something is desperately wrong that the government could even charge Swartz with crimes that added up to that sort of sentence. It is disporportionate, and the process needs to be fixed.

IMHO, of course. And hindsight is easy. But we've grown into a rather vicious society, one that thinks that tougher and tougher punishments is the answer to rising crime. I've come to doubt seriously doubt that belief. Draconian punishments -- the sort that are seen as draconian by the people subject to the law -- destroy public belief in the justice and rightness of the law. Punishment is supposed to teach, not destroy both individuals and the very system of law that it is supposed to uphold.

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Mon Jan 28, 2013 5:55 pm
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Post Re: Anonymous
I have trouble summoning much sympathy for computer hackers. In one way, it might be said they provide a valuable service by pinpointing vulnerabilities that need to be corrected. However, in essence they are just vandals. I have no problem with civil disobedience. That's how many of our great societal changes have been accomplished. I just have a hard time putting a hacker on the same pedestal as MLK or Ghandi. I sincerely doubt that many hackers have pure motives - I think it's a "look at what I can get away with" culture - and should be prosecuted.

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Tue Feb 05, 2013 8:41 am
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Post Re: Anonymous
"35 years" keeps coming up. It's a trope, seized by the media to make their stories more sensational. Swartz was savvy enough, and had competent enough counsel, to know this. HERE is a detailed explanation why.


Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:48 pm
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