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Aaron Swartz: Guerilla Open Access Manifesto

Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.

There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.

That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.

“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal — there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s already being done: we can fight back.

Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.

Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by the publishers and sharing them with your friends.

But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.

Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And the politicians they have bought off back them, passing laws giving them the exclusive power to decide who can make copies.

There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.

We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that's out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.

With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?

Aaron Swartz

July 2008, Eremo, Italy




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Double post!

Beat you to it Troy! :P

http://www.dailypaul.com/270375/aaron-swartz-guerrilla-open-...

Nonetheless, an important topic worthy of sharing again!

The reason some responses below are incorrect, in my opinion, is that the research produced was paid for by public funds...therefore, is it not public property?

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!

www.RevolutionCarBadges.com
www.NonNetwork.com

Oops!

I should have bumped yours.

Although, in the spirit of Shwartz', i am noticing it is ironic that you didn't post the whole article. =)

Research should not be paid for with public funds.

That is not a proper function of government. The way to correct that is to end public funding of research, not take away from the people or organizations that create new ideas the fruits of their efforts. Unless whoever funds research requires that the creation be shared, the people or organizations own the results of their efforts and have a lawful property right in the knowledge they create.

Just because a building is built with government funds, you still must abide by the rules of the government that manages it. You can't just walk in at any time and use it for any purpose you desire. And if that building is a museum with a entry fee, you must pay or go away if you refuse to pay. You must pay or not use government turnpikes, yet they were built with public funds.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

I agree with what you're saying for the most part...

I don't advocate public funding for research, but if my money is stolen to pay for such research, I'm going to want to see what was produced.

I'm just trying to explain Aaron's logic and reasoning, not mine.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and liberty activist from Texas!

www.RevolutionCarBadges.com
www.NonNetwork.com

Collectivist drivel.

This is a property issue. You don't have some automatic right to the property of other people or corporations.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

I suggest checking out the

I suggest checking out the intellectual property section(s) of Jeffrey Tucker's Bourbon for Breakfast. It's available for free, I believe it is on the Mises Institute's literature archive. He references a couple other books but I can't remember what they are at the moment.

is an idea property?

or just tangible items? i'm inclined to think only tangible items that are the product of actual labor are property.

you call it collectivism, but what claim a person can have on an idea since so much is predicated on previous knowledge. especially since the definition then becomes wholly arbitrary. (i.e; i just put another wheel on an airplane, do i now own that idea if i pay some bureaucrat for the privilege?) i ask because i don't understand how this can apply to natural law or even the law today without becoming the cumbersome mercantile mess that it currently is.

logically, a person has a right only to protect his idea in order for him to profit from it. but it's going to get out. and if you were to say to another human being that he can not buy that item, reverse engineer it and then build the exact same thing for profit, you've just infringed on his natural right to property and denied him the fruits of his own labor. and in doing so, implied ownership of both his life and his property.

how can someone OWN an idea in which so much prior human cognitive effort has gone into? it seems down right unmanageable and more importantly, entirely unjust.

I suppost then that you can walk into a book store and

walk out with books without paying for them.

If someone places his thoughts in a book and publishes it, it is his property for sale. The fact that those books or papers are in a file on the internet, offered for sale, does not change the authors or publishers property rights.

If you can come up with thoughts of your own, then you can use them, keep them secret, publish them for sale, or give them away. But others can't force you to give your thoughts to them. It is collectivist thinking to say that thoughts or ideas belong to society in general and the originator doesn't have a property interest.

There is nothing that is invented or any new idea that is not an extension of a long train of human effort and creativity. Using your thinking, nothing created today could belong to the creator because he used the accumulated knowledge of humanity. If I use math and computers to develop a model to predict the movement of the stock market and profit from it by trading, then by your thinking I don't own the model, and if I offer it for sale to a limited number of people, then everyone else has a right to take it and use it too since it is an idea of mine, but also an extension of all prior human cognitive effort.

I have often said that the problem of collectivists is that they don't know where they end and others begin, a psychological boundary problem I know this is so because collectivists always seem to have their hands in my pockets, not understanding that my pockets and the money in them are not theirs.

"Bend over and grab your ankles" should be etched in stone at the entrance to every government building and every government office.

"i suppost then that you can

"i suppost then that you can walk into a book store and walk out with books without paying for them."

i didn't say anything about stealing physical goods. and i think you know that.

"But others can't force you to give your thoughts to them."

Agree. But you should not be able to use the force of government to stop someone from producing something, either. Even if it is partially 'your idea' and the government sold you the privilege.

"If I use math and computers to develop a model to predict the movement of the stock market and profit from it by trading, then by your thinking I don't own the model, and if I offer it for sale to a limited number of people, then everyone else has a right to take it and use it too since it is an idea of mine, but also an extension of all prior human cognitive effort."

Not what I was saying. If you offer it for sale to a limited number of people (perhaps with a strict non-disclosure contract) then there's nothing wrong. But if that model escapes and you can't figure out who's responsible for letting it out, you shouldn't be able to sue or prosecute anyone else for using or reselling the same product. But no, I didn't mean if you offer it to one person you have to offer it to everyone, if that's what you mean.

"collectivists always seem to have their hands in my pockets, not understanding that my pockets and the money in them are not theirs."

Again, agree. But I would add that it's the fascist (or mercantile interests) that seals up another mans pockets to forbid him from profiting in the same manner.

I will join you...

and already have long ago.

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