URGENT! Aaron Swartz indicted by the US government for “downloading too many journal articles from the Web”

From George Scialabba:

Dear Friends,

I just received this very distressing email from the civil liberties activism group Demand Progress. Aaron Swartz, as well as being a good friend, is one of the most creative and dedicated political activists I know, and Demand Progress is one of the most useful organizations. I’d be very grateful if you could take a moment to read about this matter and sign the petition on his behalf.


Shocking news: Moments ago former Demand Progress Executive Director Aaron Swartz was indicted by the US government. As best as we can tell, he is being charged with allegedly downloading too many journal articles from the Web. The government contends that downloading so many journal articles constitutes felony computer hacking and should be punished with time in prison. We disagree.

Will you click here to show your support for Aaron?

The charges are made all the more senseless by the fact that the alleged victim has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute.

James Jacobs, the Government Documents Librarian at Stanford University — where Aaron did undergraduate work — denounced the arrest: “Aaron’s prosecution undermines academic inquiry and democratic principles,” Jacobs said. “It’s incredible that the government would try to lock someone up for allegedly looking up articles at a library.”

Please click here to show your support for Aaron’s cause:

Thank you.

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