Academics Agree MIT Should Have Done More For Aaron Swartz

Robinson Meyer | The Atlantic | August 7, 2013

"A failure to act ethically, and a failure to show compassion"

In late July, MIT issued its report, written by computer science professor Hal Abelson, on the university's own actions in the Aaron Swartz case. Swartz, an information activist, faced extensive charges for downloading a huge number of academic articles from the online service JSTOR over MIT's network. Swartz committed suicide in January.

In the past week, three respected academics, writers of leading work in digital law, language, and civics, have written about the report: Harvard Law's Larry Lessig, Northwestern's Peter Ludlow, and the director of MIT's Center for Civic Media, Ethan Zuckerman. Their responses are worth reading in full, but we've summarized them below, for they agree on three startling points.