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Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet
Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet | Justin Peters
4 posts | 4 read | 5 to read
A smart, lively history of the Internet free culture movement and its larger effects on society--and the life and shocking suicide of Aaron Swartz, a founding developer of Reddit and Creative Commons--from Slate correspondent Justin Peters. Aaron Swartz was a zealous young advocate for the free exchange of information and creative content online. He committed suicide in 2013 after being indicted by the government for illegally downloading millions of academic articles from a nonprofit online database. From the age of fifteen, when Swartz, a computer prodigy, worked with Lawrence Lessig to launch Creative Commons, to his years as a fighter for copyright reform and open information, to his work leading the protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), to his posthumous status as a cultural icon, Swartz's life was inextricably connected to the free culture movement. Now Justin Peters examines Swartz's life in the context of 200 years of struggle over the control of information. In vivid, accessible prose, The Idealist situates Swartz in the context of other "data moralists" past and present, from lexicographer Noah Webster to ebook pioneer Michael Hart to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. In the process, the book explores the history of copyright statutes and the public domain; examines archivists' ongoing quest to build the "library of the future"; and charts the rise of open access, copyleft, and other ideologies that have come to challenge protectionist IP policies. Peters also breaks down the government's case against Swartz and explains how we reached the point where federally funded academic research came to be considered private property, and downloading that material in bulk came to be considered a federal crime. The Idealist is an important investigation of the fate of the digital commons in an increasingly corporatized Internet, and an essential look at the impact of the free culture movement on our daily lives and on generations to come.
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Crowcrumbs
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Pickpick

“We can choose to create systems that can be opened without breaking; that tolerate deviance without collapsing; that regard the unfamiliar not as a threat, but as an opportunity.” Loved the way this book weaved the history of US copyright through the story of Aaron Swartz‘s life and advocacy.

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Crowcrumbs
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Does anyone else like to peek under the dusk jacket book cover? The Idealist is a pretty blue with silver foil stamp on the binding.

carlyyougoonie I love finding something unexpectedly colorful underneath. 5y
bookloo I do this all the time! ♥️ 5y
RaimeyGallant Now I will. :) Welcome to Litsy! #LitsyWelcomeWagon Some of us put together Litsy tips to help new Littens navigate the site. It's the link in my bio on my page in case you're interested. :) 5y
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Clwojick Always! 😍 5y
Branwen I do the same thing all the time! You never know what treasures are underneath! 5y
CherryPie Every time. Welcome! 5y
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Yanes
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Be curious all the time. Try new things. Go new paths. Expand your knowledge.

At least that's what I am aiming for.

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emtobiasz
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Reading this for my information ethics class, and really interested personally in the intersection between the history of copyright and American libraries.

...Of course I also kind of wish the author would get on with it, because I need to write up a response to the book for class and I'm nowhere near done with it...

Lynnsoprano Aren't those the best bookmarks? 5y
emtobiasz @Lynnsoprano they're so cute! I'm terrible about using real bookmarks (I tend to use whatever I have lying around) but these have real potential for me to actually use them -- thanks to @Nat_Reads for them! 5y
Nat_Reads I'm glad you like them! Happy studying! 5y
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