11 – Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz – The Internet’s Own Boy
„What can I do?“, I am asking. „I’m just one little girl! What’s the use that I get involved in Open Source and Open Access? What’s the use that I write a small article in this advent calendar?“
But then, there are and have always been great people who inspired hundreds, thousands and even millions of others.  
One of these inspiring people is Aaron Swartz. He discovered the potential of computer programming and sharing knowledge at the age of 3. A true child of the internet of the nineties.
When he was 13, he got involved in the creation of the Creative Commons license, which nowadays makes sure, that knowledge, that is made available to the public also stays available. Lawrence Lessig the Harvard law professor and face of the Creative Commons licenses once said, that the 25 years younger Aaron was one of his biggest mentors! 
The list of small actions Aaron invested in ideas that nowadays became quite big is very long.
„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.“
Aaron died on January 11th, 2013, after a long and wary fight with US authorities. Apparently he had hanged himself.
Aaron was a normal person. Like you. And like me. The only difference is, that he was aware of his superpowers. And used them.
So can you. And so will I.
–> Watch the documentary about „The Internet’s Own Boy“ and get inspired. It is freely available through this public online library project https://archive.org/details/TheInternetsOwnBoyTheStoryOfAaronSwartz
and several times on youtube:

Author of this window: Friederike Abitz