Remember Aaron Swartz


Modern Day Robin Hood

I didn’t know Aaron personally but became familiar with his incredible work through his contributions to the creative commons project, and later his work to defend a free and open internet. I remember reading about the JSTOR action and thought to myself: hell yeah, this guy is like a modern-day information society robin hood! Considering how many academics generate their research with the support of public funds (i.e. subsidies to universities), and considering they were generally not paid a publishing fee, they generally produce for the greater good… how repugnant that a for-profit corporation would make it so unaffordable and thus so impossible for people to benefit from the knowledge created. I’m one of the unaffiliated academics that simply can’t afford to access journal articles, so I am automatically limited in my own work, yet I make every effort to share what I do… creative commons licensing makes that possible… Aaron made that possible, or a least contributed to me understanding why it was so important. One day people of this world will overwhelmingly agree that money isn’t everything and profit is the least of our priorities. We can never become better as a society, or as a species, if we don’t learn to share. Thank you Aaron! You were a true visionary, and a hero. I don’t normally write such messages to/about people I’ve never met, but you genuinely helped to change and have surely sparked passion for intellectual rights and freedom in others. You will not be forgotten. M. Placentile, Canada