Miami, July 20, 2011 – MediaFreedom calls on free culture guru, Larry Lessig, to condemn the alleged actions of protégé Aaron Swartz, the latter being indicted in federal court for stealing millions of documents from MIT in an ostensible effort to free that information.
Though all individuals have free will, Lessig’s effect on Swartz – who was a fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard, directed by Lessig – is well documented. And there’s another connection: Lessig’s pointed criticism of JSTOR, the object of Swartz’s alleged poaching, as noted in this presentation before CERN in April.
If Swartz did what he’s accused of, could Lessig’s long-held views and activism have pushed Swartz over the top? Who knows? Of course, Lessig could help clear up some of this confusion with a clear statement condemning the alleged act.
Under the law, Swartz is presumably innocent. Still, Lessig – as well as others in the access to knowledge / free culture crowd like Public Knowledge, CDT, EFF, and Free Press – cannot lay claim to moral superiority if they approve the stealing of private property in any context.
Silence = acceptance. Ethics Director, Larry Lessig, what say you?