[conspire] Post Mortum legal explosion

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Jan 24 17:44:44 PST 2013

Quoting Ron Guerin (ron at vnetworx.net):

Fine, out of sheer masochism, I'm going to plow through it.

> Given all the details available today, I don't find it credible to
> assert that a reasonable person who understands what Swartz actually
> did would need to have thought they were committing a /crime/, since
> arguably nothing he did was a obviously a crime.

Let's start with facts nobody disputes.  Swartz published a plan
(Guerilla Open Access Manifesto) that acknowledged that the scientific
papers were under copyrights held by companies who charged money for
access, and that sharing it is called 'stealing or piracy' but should be
regarded as a moral imperative because sharing is good.  He acknowledged
the laws that make the copying of such materials illegal, declared that
he considered those laws unjust, and declared an intent to deliberately
and consciously violate them as an act of civil disobedience.

So, his own words make clear he knew crime was involved.  Moreover, a
cursory examination of his background suggests very detailed knowledge
of the legal issues.  

Basically, it's not even arguable, and yet you and Ruben both pound the
table and argue the inarguable, while (in your case) claiming to have
paid close attention to the preceding analysis and -- ludicriously --
deciding that it's not credible for irrational reasons including your
pronouncement that this very clear critic of the law and advocate for
its reform is an 'apologist for the legal system' and a 'shameless
apologist for a system gone off the rails'.

You know why I resent bullshit like that?  It's not _just_ that it's
delusional and makes the rest of us look like loons by association.
It's also because it leads to lost opportunities to actually deal with
reality the way it is rather than the way an ideologue imagines it.

You're _so_ delusional that you don't even stop to notice that Kerr
argued that the law is broken and is being used to produce manifestly
unjust results (but not treating Swartz unusually badly; he makes the
point that this scandal exists even when famous defendents with powerful
friends are not in the spotlight).

Kerr gives -- not that you bothered to notice -- convincing reasons why
Representative Zoe Lofgren's proposed 'Aaron's Law' amending the CFAA
and wire-fraud statutes to forbid prosecuting for 'unauthorized access'
if access-contract violation is the _sole_ evidence for that lack of
authority is well-intentioned but not the right solution:  1.  It
doesn't address what happened to Swartz under CFAA and 2.  It would not
have changed the penalties that would have applied to Swartz.  (Still, 
it seems IMO a reasonable reform anyway.)

Kerr did not stop with pointing out these flaws in the Aaron's Law
draft, but rather detailed more-extensive reforms he would suggest

But all you see is an 'apologist'.  Feh.

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