There have been several opinion pieces in the Globe about Aaron Swartz, many of them about how he was wrongly prosecuted and how US Attorney Carmen Ortiz owes us an explanation for the actions of her office. I’d like to take issue with this position.
Swartz knew what the laws were, and that what he was doing was against the law. In our society there are numerous avenues available to challenge laws that one does not agree with, such as filing a lawsuit or petitioning to get the law changed. Swartz was charged with flouting the law and doing what he thought was correct.
I’m sure that somewhere in his career he has been paid for producing nontangible things, such as computer programs, and would have protested if someone felt that he or she had the right to give away his work without compensating him.
Swartz’s suicide was a terrible waste of a brilliant mind, but that was his choice. The bottom line is: If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.