Originally Posted by Magick Man
Yeah, the DA essentially badgered Swartz until he snapped, and did it intentionally. Daaaamn, there's going to be some nasty stuff go down when Anon gets hold of those guys.
What a pathetic and miserable person she is - I know there's already a petition movement calling Obama to bounce that bitch out of her job, and even if there is no official statement, she's cut her own throat when it comes to moving forwards (she won't be running for office or doing anything that involves getting people to "like" her - she's already being (appropriately) labeled as a bully and enemy of civil rights). I mean I understand that being a DA or US Attorney means you're required to lead prosecution of those charged with crimes, pretty much regardless of how you personally feel about it (I've worked with enough county attorneys to understand this much) - but she seems to have taken things further than needed (the typical "fullest extent of the law" nonsense that RIAA and MPAA try to scare everyone with). What really smacks of incompetence on her part is that none of the copyright holders really wanted to pursue the issue, nor did the people who ultimately bore the financial burden here (you cannot tell me the bandwidth he consumed for this stunt isn't substantial, and MIT hasn't raised a finger about that). So this is beyond a victimless crime - I mean copyright crime in general is victimless (I'll say that in THIS context, not in all contexts though), but this is a victimless crime where the people who even have legal rights to complain, aren't complaining. So what purpose does her prosecuting serve? Some misguided attempt to impress the corporate weanies as prep for a run for office in the future? Or has she been watching Don't Copy That Floppy and taking it seriously? At best she's incompetent, at worst she was in on it - and either way I just can't tolerate that and there's no place for her in the organization (to paraphrase Sam Rothstein).
And the really sad part here is that criminals (Anon) are the only ones pushing for justice in response to this - which seems to be the story over and over again when it comes to putting bullies in their place. That's a larger problem.
Originally Posted by proton007
From what I've read, it seems the real organization that was "hacked" into (JSTOR) dropped the charges, but the DA continued with the case..., I think they wanted to make an example out of him.
They've definitely achieved that, and how.
Yeah, JSTOR openly said they weren't pursuing civil litigation and moved to make at least some of their resources free. MIT has not pursued civil or criminal charges (again, you can't tell me the bandwidth transfer was cheap here). Read her statements, they were pursuing a very pre-cog type of prosecution, which smacks of bully tactics to me. He was charged for "the intention of distributing copyrighted materials" - so does this mean that if I sit here while watching TV and think really really hard about stealing, that I'm a serious criminal? Or does that not apply because I'm not actually "committing" the crime on that scary computer box thing that the billion year old legal system and twit attorneys can't understand?
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv
The entire publishing & literary rights world is a mystery to me (I'll bet obob has something to say on this). Before the internet, publishers paid authors (or not depending on the source of the content) and libraries purchased content from the publishers. The libraries got their funds from the cities and counties, and the cities and counties taxed their residents. That system allowed the residents to walk into a library and borrow anything the library had on their shelves.
More or less. But what's a library?
Now enter the internet. The entire system is turned on it's ear. What purpose does the publisher serve? In the case of academic journals, the publisher wasn't editing or paying for the content - all they did was collect the papers, print the books and then run distribution and collect the money. They are now unnecessary. The author can post their paper to their company, university or private website and completely bypass the publishers. I suppose they would claim that there is still some value in collecting the subject matter into a specific category - but since those journals were typically published under the name of a society or organization (SAE, IEEE, etc, etc) again I must ask what purpose the publisher now serves. Except for a few organizations at the top of the list, if you send a paper to an organization's "call for papers" - it will get published - warts and all. Google & Bing can serve the same purpose quite well.
Here's the rub. Publishers (just like movie studios) are trying to adapt to this. How do they monetize a non-competitive resource? If you're printing a book (let's make it something fun, like Green Eggs & Ham), there's a physical cost to manufacture that book, and to ship that book, and to put that book on a shelf, and so on. And if someone gets it, that item is gone, and you have to pay to make another one (and historically books have been super expensive to make). But it doesn't work that way on the Internet (ignore that most of the people making these choices are scared of computers and have no clue) - so how do you keep making money? You make yourself a beacon of legitimacy and prestige. You aren't selling the physical book now, you're selling yourself as a brand that represents fidelity.
In my mind, the root problem can be solved by the content authors themselves. Stop sending the content to the publishers. Self publish via the internet. We're not talking about novels - we're talking about academic & industry papers. Screw the publishers and the industry organizations & societies. Publish the paper on the 'net and then be ready for the backlash of peer review.
And while this would work, the problem is that nobody wants to go first. Because you're asking people to put themselves on the line to challenge the status quo - it's like being "that guy" in law enforcement in the 1960s who doesn't turn the dogs on marchers, or being "that guy" who doesn't go along with bullies. It's a big risk. And publishers will incentivize you to not do this, by offering to pay you for your ideas, as well as guaranteeing protection of your ideas (so I can't claim I wrote what you did, etc). To put it another way, as IMT said - the idea is to keep people fighting over space in the little boat, so they ignore the much bigger boat that's being built. And academia (and the government) benefits from this communion as well - it lets the established power base filter what kinds of ideas are given credulity and those which are not, and therefore dictate how an issue is or isn't constructed in the social consciousness. And that's big medicine.
Of course if you got people to turn their backs on publishers, the government and academia *would* eventually follow, because they pretty much always go with the lowest bidder and least resistance (and this has historical precedence) - they'll do whatever will appease the most people. Sure there will be blowback at first, but it usually doesn't last. Again, I agree with you - I just think there's very real cultural barriers to change that would need to be overcome in order to play this out.
Originally Posted by Achmedisdead
Fiberglass......get it right! lol