So Aaron Swartz is dead by his own hand. (We have remembrances from Lawrence Lessig and Cory Doctorow.) Looming over his death is the prosecution he was facing because he snuck into an MIT server closet to download large portions of JSTOR.
Cause-and-effect? The Loon doesn’t know. She can’t. Neither, however, can she forget Occam’s Razor, so she is unwilling to let the matter drop, quite.
Neither JSTOR nor MIT endorsed Swartz’s prosecution. It happened anyway. Coincidentally (the Loon dearly hopes, at least), JSTOR’s Register to Read program was making the rounds of academe’s news outlets the day Swartz died. A year ago, the Loon fisked JSTOR’s privacy agreement, and with the broad release of Register to Read, she was preparing to repeat the endeavor.
She’s too heartsick to try it just now. Instead, this:
If JSTOR and other purveyors of academic content wish to disintermediate libraries to sell directly to scholars and students, it is their clear and urgent ethical responsibility to write terms-of-service agreements that protect those scholars and students who are now their direct customers. No shoving off that little chore on libraries any longer.
Their suppliers won’t like it. Too damned bad. It exposes their organization and its employees to risk. Too damned bad; in library school, we teach that undertaking this kind of risk is a professional duty.
Do it. Because you damned well haven’t.
RIP Aaron Swartz by Library Loon, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.