Trailer for "Internet's Own Boy," the Aaron Swartz documentary



He could have volunteered at a soup kitchen. But he didn’t. Aaron chose to be an agitator. And he was impatient with the political process. And he drastically underestimated the entrenched powers. You see, the currently powerful are very much under threat. Have you been paying attention lately? And when the powerful are threatened they don’t simply go to court. They use their power to destroy you. Aaron was not prepared for this. Compare him to Ed Snowden. Ed knew what kind of fight he was getting into. Aaron had no idea. And it crushed him. One aspect that most people don’t understand about being indicted by the Federal Government is that you are advised TO SPEAK TO NO ONE about your case. Aaron wasn’t married. He couldn’t speak to his girlfriend about it. She had no protection. No immunity. For those that wish to undermine and dismiss Aaron, I would ask if you have ever been subject to criminal investigation? Have you ever seen a document with the header: “YOUR NAME vs THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES” ? It is a profound moment, my friends. Trust me.


By nothing really bad, what do you mean? (I’m sorry, I won’t do the work for you and create associations based on ambiguous claims creating FUD)

But you also said:

So do you have a problem with “liberating” the documents or not? Or if you (and only you) believe that the ultimate goal was “Teh lulz”, and as you seem to suggest, this was a bad thing for society as you clearly suggest, then why suggest alternatives?
(Bad for society in that it you paint it as part of an illegal act with no social redeeming aspects to it)
This argument goes a long way to ignore the core of the case. By suggesting that there were alternatives to breaking the law you are trying to force us to accept the form of your argument.
That is, if I engage your alternative scenario I’m tacitly acknowledging that Swartz broke the law and that he deserved punishment for it (Two very different things I may add)

Look,this is not meant as offense, rather as a description, but this comes off as astroturfing.

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not it wasn’t. his relationship with MIT gave him legitimate access to those journals. the volume of data he downloaded violated JSTOR’s terms of service. violating terms of service is not a criminal offense. at worst it’s a civil offense, and one that JSTOR chose not to pursue.

when exactly did he do that? not while he was entering the wiring closet doing what you think was “quite illegal”. check the video

and how exactly is that clear? is that what he did with the trove of PACER documents he liberated previously? no, they were given to carl malamud to publish, not dumped on the pirate bay while he chuckled and twirled his mustache.

“copyright” is a red herring in this context, JSTOR doesn’t hold the copyright for any of the material they make available 5 things you may not know about JSTOR - About JSTOR

not to put too fine a point on it, but you seem to be rather misinformed.


Ah yes, The Pirate Bay. Well known for paying a vast army of people to advocate for them while those poor, defenseless copyright maximalists only have a proper grassroots movement made up of citizens who demand that research paid for by taxpayer money be locked up so no one can get at it without paying JSTOR.

Do you come from the Mirror Universe?


Now you’re just trolling.

Yes, I get it, you believe Swartz was in the wrong, you’re entitled to that opinion, but the reasons you give are counter to the facts that are publicly known about the case and whats more you are presenting your opinion as fact, nobody can reason with you that way, you’ve shielded yourself from discourse.

“That which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence”

So I’ll go ahead and dismiss your unproven arguments as untrue, do you a kindness, and take them instead as your opinion.

Be relieved, your original point, that the trailer looks dishonest and manipulative came across just fine, (a perfectly defensible statement), you just went too far in trying to prove Swartz was a criminal when the federal government hadn’t yet done so (Instead of saying that that was your opinion, which would be valid) and also attempted some character assassination with some pretty imaginative opinions about his motivations and goals (which makes me think you don’t have good reasons to believe as you say you do and at the very least, that you don’t have good reason to believe what you say).

starting with an ad hominem? nice

are you trying to build a strawman out of copyright? copyright infringement was not part of the charges brought against aaron swartz.

JSTOR isn’t the publisher. JSTOR negotiated licenses with publishers in order to make academic materials available to people in academia (including aaron swartz). JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization who are only looking to cover their own costs, and their agreements with academic institutions are what covers that. aaron swartz’ relationship with MIT (one of the academic institutions JSTOR has an arrangement with) gave him authorized access to JSTOR’s materials. he was allowed to download copies. it was downloading them in bulk that JSTOR considered a problem.

taking work that doesn’t belong to him? no charges were brought against him for the PACER document liberation precisely because the PACER documents belonged to the public, of which he was a member. the FBI investigated and no charges were laid because no laws were broken.

that “alleges” that he used his bicycle helmet as a mask as he entered and stepped out of the wiring closet. since he was traveling to and from the location on bicycle, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that rather than using it as a mask he may have been in the process of removing it on his way in and putting it back on his head on the way out in anticipation of riding away on his bicycle.

walking around with a bicycle mask over one’s face is going to draw a lot more attention than one would want if one were up to no good. are you suggesting that he wouldn’t realize this and belongs in the same camp as those idiotic criminals who obscure their faces with buckets or duct tape?

frankly, if he really knew, as you suggest, that what he was doing was “quite illegal”, he could have protected his identity much better by simply paying someone else to do it for him. he certainly could have afforded it.

Does anyone know if this documentary will also be shown in Europe? There isn’t much information on

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