Cory Doctorow reflects on
the life of Aaron Swartz
, Reddit co-founder and co-author (at age 14)
of the RSS specification, who committed suicide on January 11.
"The post-Reddit era in Aaron's life was really his coming of
age. His stunts were breathtaking. At one point, he singlehandedly
liberated 20 percent of US law. PACER, the system that gives Americans
access to their own (public domain) case-law, charged a fee for each such
access. After activists built RECAP (which allowed its users to put any
caselaw they paid for into a free/public repository), Aaron spent a small
fortune fetching a titanic amount of data and putting it into the public
domain. The feds hated this. They smeared him, the FBI investigated him,
and for a while, it looked like he'd be on the pointy end of some bad legal
stuff, but he escaped it all, and emerged triumphant.
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