imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Aaron Swartz and the Morality of Hoarding Knowledge

by nobody Friday, Aug. 05, 2011 at 10:20 PM

Activist-programmer Aaron Swartz was recently arrested for breaking into an MIT network closet to copy academic journals from the JSTOR system.

Background information:

The criminal prosecution of Swartz appears to be a move by the government to help strengthen intellectual property laws. The battle to enforce and extend intellectual property is, without a doubt, the grand battle of the day. It is central to a few key industries, including computer engineering, computer software, television and film, music, bioengineering, and medicine. Beyond that, there are patents not only on software, but business processes.

Within the most advanced economies of the modern age, intellectual property can produce more wealth, and generate more cash revenues, than physical property. Look at a company like Apple Computers or Microsoft, or consider all the prescription drug companies. Their wealth is in intellectual property.

During the industrial age, Marxian thinkers divided the world into the owners/capitalists, and those who must sell their labor, the proletariat. This rested on the creation of the idea of “private property”. Private property is a right that allows one person to exclude another person from using a piece of land or an object.

Intellectual property, which is still contested and not as established as private property, is the extension of property rights onto inventions and written works and recorded performances. Intellectual property has been undergoing a period of expansion. Early in this century, copyrights expired after the deaths of the authors, and patents lasted 17 years. Today, copyrights seem to be extended indefinitely if the owner wishes. Patents seem to be issued more freely, creating a situation where many similar ideas are covered by an unexpired patent.

The problem with intellectual property is that, if you accept that ideas can become property, it means that the owner of the property can exclude everyone else from using the property. That is – the owner of the idea can prevent anyone else from using that idea.

Intellectual property is a restriction on thought itself.

Copyright is a restriction on copying, and Swartz violated JSTOR's copyrights by duplicating the journal articles. In the end, however, JSTOR decided not to sue Swartz for copying the data. Instead, Swartz was arrested by the State of NY on criminal charges for breaking into a network closet and copying files.

There's a larger issue, though, and that is the existence of JSTOR and other for-profit publishers of academic journals.

To get an idea of what's going on in academic publishing, I suggest reading “Crisis in Scientific Publishing” by Donald Knuth. Knuth is considered to be one of the fathers of computer science, and he is an editor of several journals. In this long letter, he complains about the rising cost of journal subscriptions, a problem that has increased after journals were purchased by for-profit publishing companies.

According to Knuth and others, the price of journals should be dropping, not rising, due to increased automation. The material conditions have changed, yet, these traditional book publishers are raising prices, even as they use electronic delivery.

Knuth then makes an argument for elimination of fees for access to academic articles. He also presents other possible business models, and then requests that the editors of his journal vote on what type of journal they wish to be – one still published by a for-profit company, or some other type of journal.

Within this letter, we see the central conflict between two groups. On the one side we have the intellectual workers – the people who produce knowledge. On the other side, we have businesses that derive a profit from the labor of the intellectual workers.

In the past, the intellectuals were considered partners with the propertied class – and called “petit-bourgeois”, and in some Communist countries, suffered greatly for it. Intellectuals were tortured or executed by many Communists Parties.

That's not to say that Communists were anti-intellectual. Rather the situation was such that nearly all intellectuals were allied with the bourgeois simply because intellectual labor was employed by the wealthy.

Today, this isn't the case. Intellectual labor can be anything from a rapper writing lyrics to what Knuth does. Intellectual labor has become proletarianized; it's widespread,. In some situations, it remains an elite labor, but in more situations, it's increasingly paid less and less for the same work.

In many situations, the labor is entirely unpaid – like when people upload photos to Flickr or Facebook. That labor is becoming part of a system that helps these companies make money.

We can only speculate on Aaron Swartz' impulse, breakin, and duplication of the documents. He wanted to publish them on the internet. Whatever his reasons, they clearly fit into this framework of a kind of class conflict between the proletarianized intellectual worker, and the companies which are privatizing the journals, and expanding the range of intellectual property. The fact the State is trying to send him to prison for this break-in only reinforces that the capitalist state is the partner-thug to the companies that are expanding intellectual property.

Report this post as:

Local News

More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena J02 12:16PM

"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena J02 12:08PM

Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles J30 4:26PM

Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! J10 11:58PM

Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California M30 10:20PM

Change Links June 2018 posted M28 12:41AM

The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years M22 1:01PM

Unity Archive Project M21 2:42AM

Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi M17 3:22PM

CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police M10 2:08PM

Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies M10 1:57PM

California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings) M02 1:31PM

Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico A29 4:47PM

Change Links May 2018 A27 1:40AM

Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed A26 10:37PM


lausd whistle blower A10 11:58PM

Website Upgrade A10 3:02AM

Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images A04 1:02PM

UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light A02 11:58AM

Change Links April 2018 A01 11:27AM

Nuclear Shutdown News March 2018 M31 6:57PM

Join The Protest Rally in Glendale on April 10, 2018! M29 7:00PM

Spring 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert! M19 2:02PM

Anti-Eviction Mapping Project Shows Shocking Eviction Trends in L.A. M16 5:40PM

Steve Mnuchin video at UCLA released M15 12:34AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Clean Ups M06 12:10PM

After Being Told He's 'Full of Sh*t' at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video M02 11:44AM

More Local News...

Other/Breaking News

Sorry President Trump,Ted Cruz Texas Judicial System,is Worse Than Many Shithole Countries J19 4:49PM

The Shortwave Report 07/20/18 Listen Globally! J19 4:33PM

3 Essential Videos J19 3:53AM

The System Question as a Survival Question J18 8:54PM

“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen J18 2:41PM

Nation's Largest Voting Machine Co., ESS, Admits Lying Re Having Installed Remote Control J18 11:55AM

Du pain et des jeux J18 9:53AM

Fbi joins with Facebook to remove this report J18 7:08AM

Paraphysique de martyrologie J17 8:00AM

Asian Countries:Cambodia, Vietnam, N. Korea do not permit unlawful immigration J16 8:06PM

Children Incorporated Earns 4-Star Rating on Charity Navigator J16 11:24AM

Democratic Socialists of America J14 4:57PM

Leonard Peltier Non Violent Native American Political Prisoner since 1970's J14 4:18PM

Paraphysique miscellanées de l'aggiornamento J14 12:54AM

Actress and Philanthropist Tanna Frederick Hosts Project Save Our Surf Beach Cleanup J13 4:14PM

FBI Investigated LA County Sheriff Baca,Why Not Hank Skinner's Persecution? J13 3:52PM

Updated Partial List Of Famous Vegetarians, Vegans, & Fruitarians J13 2:59PM

The Shortwave Report 07136/18 Listen Globally! J12 4:36PM

Social Policy as Social Infrastructure J12 3:38AM

Vol I: 84 Varieties Of GOP Election Fraud J12 1:50AM

Texas Can Call it An Execution,But It is A State Sponsored Murder of Hank Skinner.. J11 6:48PM

June 2018 Honduras coup update J11 3:35PM

Maria Estrada doubles down on racist support J11 1:40PM

New York Women in Film & Television Announces 2018 NYWIFT Ha Phuong Scholarship Recipients J11 10:14AM

Trapps de la domination, trapps de l'aliénation J11 1:31AM

Please Work For The Defeat Of Brett Kavanaugh And Why J09 8:54PM

Change Links 2018 July posted J09 1:27PM

Transinhumanisme ( transe inhumanisme ) J09 12:44PM

More Breaking News...
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy