F2C2012:  Aaron Swartz keynote – “How we stopped SOPA”

F2C2012: Aaron Swartz keynote – “How we stopped SOPA”


AARON SWARTZ: So, for me, it all started with
a phone call. It was September—not last year, but the year before that, September
2010. And I got a phone call from my friend Peter. “Aaron,” he said, “there’s an amazing
bill that you have to take a look at.” “What is it?” I said. “It’s called COICA, the
Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeiting Act.” “But, Peter,” I said, “I don’t care
about copyright law. Maybe you’re right. Maybe Hollywood is right. But either way,
what’s the big deal? I’m not going to waste my life fighting over a little issue
like copyright. Healthcare, financial reform—those are the issues that I work on, not something
obscure like copyright law.” I could hear Peter grumbling in the background. “Look,
I don’t have time to argue with you,” he said, “but it doesn’t matter for right now,
because this isn’t a bill about copyright.” “It’s not?” “No,” he said. “It’s a bill
about the freedom to connect.” Now I was listening. Peter explained what you’ve all probably
long since learned, that this bill would let the government devise a list of websites that
Americans weren’t allowed to visit. On the next day, I came up with lots of ways to try
to explain this to people. I said it was a great firewall of America. I said it was an
Internet black list. I said it was online censorship. But I think it’s worth taking
a step back, putting aside all the rhetoric and just thinking for a moment about how radical
this bill really was. Sure, there are lots of times when the government makes rules about
speech. If you slander a private figure, if you buy a television ad that lies to people,
if you have a wild party that plays booming music all night, in all these cases, the government
can come stop you. But this was something radically different. It wasn’t the government
went to people and asked them to take down particular material that was illegal; it shut
down whole websites. Essentially, it stopped Americans from communicating entirely with
certain groups. There’s nothing really like it in U.S. law. If you play loud music all
night, the government doesn’t slap you with an order requiring you be mute for the next
couple weeks. They don’t say nobody can make any more noise inside your house. There’s
a specific complaint, which they ask you to specifically remedy, and then your life goes
on. The closest example I could find was a case
where the government was at war with an adult bookstore. The place kept selling pornography;
the government kept getting the porn declared illegal. And then, frustrated, they decided
to shut the whole bookstore down. But even that was eventually declared unconstitutional,
a violation of the First Amendment. So, you might say, surely COICA would get
declared unconstitutional, as well. But I knew that the Supreme Court had a blind spot
around the First Amendment, more than anything else, more than slander or libel, more than
pornography, more even than child pornography. Their blind spot was copyright. When it came
to copyright, it was like the part of the justices’ brains shut off, and they just
totally forgot about the First Amendment. You got the sense that, deep down, they didn’t
even think the First Amendment applied when copyright was at issue, which means that if
you did want to censor the Internet, if you wanted to come up with some way that the government
could shut down access to particular websites, this bill might be the only way to do it.
If it was about pornography, it probably would get overturned by courts, just like the adult
bookstore case. But if you claimed it was about copyright, it might just sneak through. And that was especially terrifying, because,
as you know, because copyright is everywhere. If you want to shut down WikiLeaks, it’s
a bit of a stretch to claim that you’re doing it because they have too much pornography,
but it’s not hard at all to claim that WikiLeaks is violating copyright, because everything
is copyrighted. This speech, you know, the thing I’m giving right now, these words
are copyrighted. And it’s so easy to accidentally copy something, so easy, in fact, that the
leading Republican supporter of COICA, Orrin Hatch, had illegally copied a bunch of code
into his own Senate website. So if even Orrin Hatch’s Senate website was found to be violating
copyright law, what’s the chance that they wouldn’t find something they could pin on
any of us? There’s a battle going on right now, a battle
to define everything that happens on the Internet in terms of traditional things that the law
understands. Is sharing a video on BitTorrent like shoplifting from a movie store? Or is
it like loaning a videotape to a friend? Is reloading a webpage over and over again like
a peaceful virtual sit-in or a violent smashing of shop windows? Is the freedom to connect
like freedom of speech or like the freedom to murder? This bill would be a huge, potentially permanent,
loss. If we lost the ability to communicate with each other over the Internet, it would
be a change to the Bill of Rights. The freedoms guaranteed in our Constitution, the freedoms
our country had been built on, would be suddenly deleted. New technology, instead of bringing
us greater freedom, would have snuffed out fundamental rights we had always taken for
granted. And I realized that day, talking to Peter, that I couldn’t let that happen. But it was going to happen. The bill, COICA,
was introduced on September 20th, 2010, a Monday, and in the press release heralding
the introduction of this bill, way at the bottom, it was scheduled for a vote on September
23rd, just three days later. And while, of course, there had to be a vote—you can’t
pass a bill without a vote—the results of that vote were already a foregone conclusion,
because if you looked at the introduction of the law, it wasn’t just introduced by
one rogue eccentric member of Congress; it was introduced by the chair of the Judiciary
Committee and co-sponsored by nearly all the other members, Republicans and Democrats.
So, yes, there’d be a vote, but it wouldn’t be much of a surprise, because nearly everyone
who was voting had signed their name to the bill before it was even introduced. Now, I can’t stress how unusual this is.
This is emphatically not how Congress works. I’m not talking about how Congress should
work, the way you see on Schoolhouse Rock. I mean, this is not the way Congress actually
works. I mean, I think we all know Congress is a dead zone of deadlock and dysfunction.
There are months of debates and horse trading and hearings and stall tactics. I mean, you
know, first you’re supposed to announce that you’re going to hold hearings on a
problem, and then days of experts talking about the issue, and then you propose a possible
solution, you bring the experts back for their thoughts on that, and then other members have
different solutions, and they propose those, and you spend of bunch of time debating, and
there’s a bunch of trading, they get members over to your cause. And finally, you spend
hours talking one on one with the different people in the debate, try and come back with
some sort of compromise, which you hash out in endless backroom meetings. And then, when
that’s all done, you take that, and you go through it line by line in public to see
if anyone has any objections or wants to make any changes. And then you have the vote. It’s
a painful, arduous process. You don’t just introduce a bill on Monday and then pass it
unanimously a couple days later. That just doesn’t happen in Congress. But this time, it was going to happen. And
it wasn’t because there were no disagreements on the issue. There are always disagreements.
Some senators thought the bill was much too weak and needed to be stronger: As it was
introduced, the bill only allowed the government to shut down websites, and these senators,
they wanted any company in the world to have the power to get a website shut down. Other
senators thought it was a drop too strong. But somehow, in the kind of thing you never
see in Washington, they had all managed to put their personal differences aside to come
together and support one bill they were persuaded they could all live with: a bill that would
censor the Internet. And when I saw this, I realized: Whoever was behind this was good. Now, the typical way you make good things
happen in Washington is you find a bunch of wealthy companies who agree with you. Social
Security didn’t get passed because some brave politicians decided their good conscience
couldn’t possibly let old people die starving in the streets. I mean, are you kidding me?
Social Security got passed because John D. Rockefeller was sick of having to take money
out of his profits to pay for his workers’ pension funds. Why do that, when you can just
let the government take money from the workers? Now, my point is not that Social Security
is a bad thing—I think it’s fantastic. It’s just that the way you get the government
to do fantastic things is you find a big company willing to back them. The problem is, of course,
that big companies aren’t really huge fans of civil liberties. You know, it’s not that
they’re against them; it’s just there’s not much money in it. Now, if you’ve been reading the press, you
probably didn’t hear this part of the story. As Hollywood has been telling it, the great,
good copyright bill they were pushing was stopped by the evil Internet companies who
make millions of dollars off of copyright infringement. But it just—it really wasn’t
true. I mean, I was in there, in the meetings with the Internet companies—actually probably
all here today. And, you know, if all their profits depended on copyright infringement,
they would have put a lot more money into changing copyright law. The fact is, the big
Internet companies, they would do just fine if this bill passed. I mean, they wouldn’t
be thrilled about it, but I doubt they would even have a noticeable dip in their stock
price. So they were against it, but they were against it, like the rest of us, on grounds
primarily of principle. And principle doesn’t have a lot of money in the budget to spend
on lobbyists. So they were practical about it. “Look,” they said, “this bill is going
to pass. In fact, it’s probably going to pass unanimously. As much as we try, this
is not a train we’re going to be able to stop. So, we’re not going to support it—we
couldn’t support it. But in opposition, let’s just try and make it better.” So that
was the strategy: lobby to make the bill better. They had lists of changes that would make
the bill less obnoxious or less expensive for them, or whatever. But the fact remained
at the end of the day, it was going to be a bill that was going to censor the Internet,
and there was nothing we could do to stop it. So I did what you always do when you’re
a little guy facing a terrible future with long odds and little hope of success: I started
an online petition. I called all my friends, and we stayed up all night setting up a website
for this new group, Demand Progress, with an online petition opposing this noxious bill,
and I sent it to a few friends. Now, I’ve done a few online petitions before. I’ve
worked at some of the biggest groups in the world that do online petitions. I’ve written
a ton of them and read even more. But I’ve never seen anything like this. Starting from
literally nothing, we went to 10,000 signers, then 100,000 signers, and then 200,000 signers
and 300,000 signers, in just a couple of weeks. And it wasn’t just signing a name. We asked
those people to call Congress, to call urgently. There was a vote coming up this week, in just
a couple days, and we had to stop it. And at the same time, we told the press about
it, about this incredible online petition that was taking off. And we met with the staff
of members of Congress and pleaded with them to withdraw their support for the bill. I
mean, it was amazing. It was huge. The power of the Internet rose up in force against this
bill. And then it passed unanimously. Now, to be fair, several of the members gave
nice speeches before casting their vote, and in their speeches they said their office had
been overwhelmed with comments about the First Amendment concerns behind this bill, comments
that had them very worried, so worried, in fact, they weren’t sure that they still
supported the bill. But even though they didn’t support it, they were going to vote for it
anyway, they said, because they needed to keep the process moving, and they were sure
any problems that were had with it could be fixed later. So, I’m going to ask you, does
this sound like Washington, D.C., to you? Since when do members of Congress vote for
things that they oppose just to keep the process moving? I mean, whoever was behind this was
good. And then, suddenly, the process stopped. Senator
Ron Wyden, the Democrat from Oregon, put a hold on the bill. Giving a speech in which
he called it a nuclear bunker-buster bomb aimed at the Internet, he announced he would
not allow it to pass without changes. And as you may know, a single senator can’t
actually stop a bill by themselves, but they can delay it. By objecting to a bill, they
can demand Congress spend a bunch of time debating it before getting it passed. And
Senator Wyden did. He bought us time—a lot of time, as it turned out. His delay held
all the way through the end of that session of Congress, so that when the bill came back,
it had to start all over again. And since they were starting all over again, they figured,
why not give it a new name? And that’s when it began being called PIPA, and eventually
SOPA. So there was probably a year or two of delay
there. And in retrospect, we used that time to lay the groundwork for what came later.
But that’s not what it felt like at the time. At the time, it felt like we were going
around telling people that these bills were awful, and in return, they told us that they
thought we were crazy. I mean, we were kids wandering around waving our arms about how
the government was going to censor the Internet. It does sound a little crazy. You can ask
Larry tomorrow. I was constantly telling him what was going on, trying to get him involved,
and I’m pretty sure he just thought I was exaggerating. Even I began to doubt myself.
It was a rough period. But when the bill came back and started moving again, suddenly all
the work we had done started coming together. All the folks we talked to about it suddenly
began getting really involved and getting others involved. Everything started snowballing.
It happened so fast. I remember there was one week where I was
having dinner with a friend in the technology industry, and he asked what I worked on, and
I told him about this bill. And he said, “Wow! You need to tell people about that.” And I
just groaned. And then, just a few weeks later, I remember I was chatting with this cute girl
on the subway, and she wasn’t in technology at all, but when she heard that I was, she
turned to me very seriously and said, “You know, we have to stop ‘SOAP.'” So, progress,
right? But, you know, I think that story illustrates
what happened during those couple weeks, because the reason we won wasn’t because I was working
on it or Reddit was working on it or Google was working on it or Tumblr or any other particular
person. It was because there was this enormous mental shift in our industry. Everyone was
thinking of ways they could help, often really clever, ingenious ways. People made videos.
They made infographics. They started PACs. They designed ads. They bought billboards.
They wrote news stories. They held meetings. Everybody saw it as their responsibility to
help. I remember at one point during this period I held a meeting with a bunch of startups
in New York, trying to encourage everyone to get involved, and I felt a bit like I was
hosting one of these Clinton Global Initiative meetings, where I got to turn to every startup
in the—every startup founder in the room and be like, “What are you going to do? And
what are you going to do?” And everyone was trying to one-up each other. If there was one day the shift crystallized,
I think it was the day of the hearings on SOPA in the House, the day we got that phrase,
“It’s no longer OK not to understand how the Internet works.” There was just something
about watching those clueless members of Congress debate the bill, watching them insist they
could regulate the Internet and a bunch of nerds couldn’t possibly stop them. They
really brought it home for people that this was happening, that Congress was going to
break the Internet, and it just didn’t care. I remember when this moment first hit me.
I was at an event, and I was talking, and I got introduced to a U.S. senator, one of
the strongest proponents of the original COICA bill, in fact. And I asked him why, despite
being such a progressive, despite giving a speech in favor of civil liberties, why he
was supporting a bill that would censor the Internet. And, you know, that typical politician
smile he had suddenly faded from his face, and his eyes started burning this fiery red.
And he started shouting at me, said, “Those people on the Internet, they think they can
get away with anything! They think they can just put anything up there, and there’s
nothing we can do to stop them! They put up everything! They put up our nuclear missiles,
and they just laugh at us! Well, we’re going to show them! There’s got to be laws on
the Internet! It’s got to be under control!” Now, as far as I know, nobody has ever put
up the U.S.’s nuclear missiles on the Internet. I mean, it’s not something I’ve heard about.
But that’s sort of the point. He wasn’t having a rational concern, right? It was this
irrational fear that things were out of control. Here was this man, a United States senator,
and those people on the Internet, they were just mocking him. They had to be brought under
control. Things had to be under control. And I think that was the attitude of Congress.
And just as seeing that fire in that senator’s eyes scared me, I think those hearings scared
a lot of people. They saw this wasn’t the attitude of a thoughtful government trying
to resolve trade-offs in order to best represent its citizens. This was more like the attitude
of a tyrant. And so the citizens fought back. The wheels came off the bus pretty quickly
after that hearing. First the Republican senators pulled out, and then the White House issued
a statement opposing the bill, and then the Democrats, left all alone out there, announced
they were putting the bill on hold so they could have a few further discussions before
the official vote. And that was when, as hard as it was for me to believe, after all this,
we had won. The thing that everyone said was impossible, that some of the biggest companies
in the world had written off as kind of a pipe dream, had happened. We did it. We won. And then we started rubbing it in. You all
know what happened next. Wikipedia went black. Reddit went black. Craigslist went black.
The phone lines on Capitol Hill flat-out melted. Members of Congress started rushing to issue
statements retracting their support for the bill that they were promoting just a couple
days ago. And it was just ridiculous. I mean, there’s a chart from the time that captures
it pretty well. It says something like “January 14th” on one side and has this big, long list
of names supporting the bill, and then just a few lonely people opposing it; and on the
other side, it says “January 15th,” and now it’s totally reversed—everyone is opposing
it, just a few lonely names still hanging on in support. I mean, this really was unprecedented. Don’t
take my word for it, but ask former Senator Chris Dodd, now the chief lobbyist for Hollywood.
He admitted, after he lost, that he had masterminded the whole evil plan. And he told The New York
Times he had never seen anything like it during his many years in Congress. And everyone I’ve
spoken to agrees. The people rose up, and they caused a sea change in Washington—not
the press, which refused to cover the story—just coincidentally, their parent companies all
happened to be lobbying for the bill; not the politicians, who were pretty much unanimously
in favor of it; and not the companies, who had all but given up trying to stop it and
decided it was inevitable. It was really stopped by the people, the people themselves. They
killed the bill dead, so dead that when members of Congress propose something now that even
touches the Internet, they have to give a long speech beforehand about how it is definitely
not like SOPA; so dead that when you ask congressional staffers about it, they groan and shake their
heads like it’s all a bad dream they’re trying really hard to forget; so dead that
it’s kind of hard to believe this story, hard to remember how close it all came to
actually passing, hard to remember how this could have gone any other way. But it wasn’t
a dream or a nightmare; it was all very real. And it will happen again. Sure, it will have
yet another name, and maybe a different excuse, and probably do its damage in a different
way. But make no mistake: The enemies of the freedom to connect have not disappeared. The
fire in those politicians’ eyes hasn’t been put out. There are a lot of people, a
lot of powerful people, who want to clamp down on the Internet. And to be honest, there
aren’t a whole lot who have a vested interest in protecting it from all of that. Even some
of the biggest companies, some of the biggest Internet companies, to put it frankly, would
benefit from a world in which their little competitors could get censored. We can’t
let that happen. Now, I’ve told this as a personal story,
partly because I think big stories like this one are just more interesting at human scale.
The director J.D. Walsh says good stories should be like the poster for Transformers.
There’s a huge evil robot on the left side of the poster and a huge, big army on the
right side of the poster. And in the middle, at the bottom, there’s just a small family
trapped in the middle. Big stories need human stakes. But mostly, it’s a personal story,
because I didn’t have time to research any of the other part of it. But that’s kind
of the point. We won this fight because everyone made themselves the hero of their own story.
Everyone took it as their job to save this crucial freedom. They threw themselves into
it. They did whatever they could think of to do. They didn’t stop to ask anyone for
permission. You remember how Hacker News readers spontaneously organized this boycott of GoDaddy
over their support of SOPA? Nobody told them they could do that. A few people even thought
it was a bad idea. It didn’t matter. The senators were right: The Internet really is
out of control. But if we forget that, if we let Hollywood rewrite the story so it was
just big company Google who stopped the bill, if we let them persuade us we didn’t actually
make a difference, if we start seeing it as someone else’s responsibility to do this
work and it’s our job just to go home and pop some popcorn and curl up on the couch
to watch Transformers, well, then next time they might just win. Let’s not let that
happen.

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  1. Interesting that youtube gave an error when I tried to post my comment with a link to the CNN nomination site. Here it is again, edited a bit to get it past their filter: w w w . cnn . com / SPECIALS / cnn . heroes / nom

  2. Thanks for the suggestion, taking the time to nominate him felt good, like I got to say a genuine "thank you" to someone who probably did more than we know for our freedom and general well being. He was treated cruelly and I hate sitting silently by, nice to put it into words and make a stand for him like he did for all of us.

  3. MSNBC contributor Chris Hayes criticized the prosecutors, saying “at the time of his death Aaron was being prosecuted by the federal government and threatened with up to 35 years in prison and $1 million in fines for the crime of—and I’m not exaggerating here—downloading too many free articles from the online database of scholarly work JSTOR.” from Wikipedia.

  4. He was a wunderkind in IT — Not a criminal genius.

    In fact, his actions brought no harm to his alleged victim, JSTOR, who decided not to pursue legal actions against him. He was "made an example" of by overzealous prosecutors, who threatened him with disproportionate charges.

    A lot of geniuses are socially inept or emotionally fragile; but that doesn't mean they should be persecuted the way he was.

  5. Sadly, we stopped SOPA, but can't stop google reader from being retired. big governments and big corporations always want to fuck us up. that's why we need aaron swartz.

  6. His role in defeating SOPA is just one reason why the feds had such a hard on for Aaron. They went after him another time on similar trumped up charges but the case was dropped because they had no case that he did anything illegal. They were going to get him one way or another. The service he downloaded from wanted the charges dropped but these assholes were going to get him one way or another.

  7. He was the prosecutor who basically forced Swartz into suicide, under unfair charges. They charged him for 13 felonies after he downloaded a few academic documents from the MIT server that was free on campus. He was sentenced to 50 years in jail.

  8. A little off there. He downloaded "a few documents" 8 thousand or so, he was "sentenced to 50 years", he hadn't been sentenced when he killed himself. Plea deal would have given him 6 months. If I'm wrong correct me.

  9. The important thing is what can we learn from how Aaron and his friends got 4 hundred thousand signatures & put so much pressure on Congress they killed SOPA. How can we do this again, but for nearly every tyrannical bill congress tries to pass. This should have been done for the National Defense Authorization Act!! This should have been done for the Patriot Act!! We have the blue print now. How can we repeat this again & again & finally have a true democracy. Whose going to take Aaron's place.

  10. Please could you change the license of this video to Attribution so that it can be used on the Wikipedia article for Aaron

    Thanks

  11. There can be very little doubt that this nerd was murderer, as he did really annoy the government by stopping their precious SOPA, harmed serious corporate interests and was likely to stop all attempts to renew this scheme and more over he was talking about constitutional rights and attracted young people to this subject; so he was charged with some phoney crimes and than executed at prison and a couple of months later SOPA passed as CISPA unanimously again.

  12. What can u do my dears CIA &NSA guys there are too much intelligent new generation adolescents like Aron Schwartz u can't kill all of them!!

  13. I watched this video because I was told Aaron was a bright guy. Then he tries to tell me that Social Security is “fantastic,” that robbing my paycheck for the last 40 years to prevent me “starving in the street” is a wonderful thing. Apparently, he had yet to learn that this money has instead been used to fund all matters of state/corporate inspired theft and murder.
    It’s genuinely a shame that Aaron didn’t live long enough to find how full of shit he was during his youthful ignorance.

  14. SOPA IS BACK! STOP SOPA 2013! Go to Google and type in "stop sopa 2013" in the search bar. The first link should be a link to the petition on We The People's website. SIGN THE PETITION! Do this now, and spread the link and information to others! We as a nation can not stand quiet about this. Something needs to be done, or we will lose our rights. Also, for those of you who think SOPA is only going to effect the United States, think again. This new law could effect everyone who uses the internet.

  15. Why does it always have to be that way? Why should we always suffer as slaves, to beg and insist to a half-dozen of men in suits to decide what they want with our lives?

  16. How do you define genius? Does someone have to write some fucking book, or an equation that changes the worlds understanding of physics? Do yourself a favor and use this tool called 'The Internet' and learn how this genius fought to make america a better country for today and tomorrow.

  17. whoa, calm down man you're full on rustled. writing is the greatest measurement of intellect, and whenever I hear of somebody being a genius I can't help but wonder if they simply had an early start and remained focused on something for a long time, mastering it, and so appeared to the untrained eye to be a genius. How do I define genius? an IQ of 150 or over. which is, by the way, the correct response to your question

  18. A high IQ should be considered irrelevant, as should merely writing a book. Writing a good book, that has an effect on how we see the world, opening new arenas in the field of science, or even just bringing to light new ideas that advance our species should be the definition of true genius. Aaron Swartz brought internet censorship to the worlds attention in the Sam way Ray Bradbury brought literary censorship to the worlds attention with Fahrenheit 451.

  19. The democrats were the ones responsible for pushing to destroy civil liberties. The LIBERALS are the ones that disregard the bill of rights. That's because these aren't liberals. They truly are socialists. They want a large centralized government to use violence to redistribute wealth and create an egalitarian society of dependent tax-cattle. The government is a parasite that promises to protect you from the interference of others at the cost that it will slowly eat you alive.

  20. The internet is out of control, and it is flourishing and beautiful.

    The economy is under control, and it is crippled and in decline.

    The schools are under control, and they are crippled and in decline.

    The post office is under control, and it is crippled and in decline.

    The U.S. currency is under control, and it is crippled and in decline.

  21. his tale of a young girl saying 'you know we have to stop SOAP' 🙂 reminds me 30 years ago me asking a guy on the bus in Wales 'what do you do?' he said computers, 'I said do you think thats the future' he said 'oh yes!' at the time we were both living in yurts/tippees & caravans in the hills of South Wales, no internet but it was just around the corner and here we are now, originally internet was given to the people to be used by the people to share and now look where we are with all possible avenue to suppress.

  22. 42 people were allowed to click like on this video because youtube did take this video down for violation of copyright.  way to use your freedom.  

  23. here we still struggle with bans on web pages in Turkey. unfortunately, there is not an organized movement against it.

  24. He can rest in peace, but I won't until his murderers are brought to justice.  Keep on hunting them down.  Help expose our corrupt government.

  25. "Information should be FREE" was this guy's mantra.  But sorry folks, just like everything else nothing is "free".  People worked and put time and effort into producing and making available online the JSTOR articles that this guy stole.  They certainly cannot expect to live and work "for free" as Mr. Swartz seemed to assume.

    I remember way back in 1969–I think it was shortly after Woodstock–a Life magazine article where some hippy told Crosby Stills and Nash that they should give "free" concerts.  I remember well the reply from Mr. Stills:

    "ok dude, you go to the city council and ask for a "free" permit to hold a concert.  You go to the sound technicians and ask them to work "for free".  You get the guitar companies to give you "free" guitars.  Ask the stage hands to set things up "for free".

  26. Highly Doubtful that he committed 'Suicide'
    MAYBE he saw how the current administration Broke Private Manning (9 months of Solitary Confinement, Strapped Naked to a bed, unable to move, etc.) Jailers are Terrible, Terrible People so he was definitely taunted and probably raped (hence him wanting to become a woman as soon as the torture stopped). Maybe Aaron saw all this and was terrified… but its highly unlikely.

  27. Just came home after watching The Internet's own boy. Captivating drama and I felt so sad having learned so much more about this young man. He was brilliant. I'm glad he got to see SOPA defeated. I wish he could have held on longer.

  28. well this is what the USA does at home, how can anyone trust them intervening abroad! Is everyone in the USA blind? democracy means that people stand up for their right, or is it just a myth created to enslave people. Seems like the latter to me !

  29. Ofc he was killed not suicide they do this shit all the time one guy had invented a car that ran on water he got visited by the military and pentagon then 1 week later he was dead poisoned.
    Sry my english suck….

  30. aaron would you have fought for our civil liberties if you knew it would cost you your life? this is what a real hero looks like RIP

  31. Way to go! Let us all take his example to heart and not just stop there. But also focus eternity. Jesus Christ saves!

  32. And he was right, 3 more times they have tried and 3 more times we have stopped them.  They are trying again right now with Title X.  Even with Aaron dead, or especially with Aaron now dead, we must remain vigilant and honor his name and sacrifice.  Net Neutrality is finally within our grasp, let's bring it home, FOR AARON!

  33. I saw this in early 2013. It was ugly then and this young man gave his life, likely unwillingly, for it. They will come after the internet and our freedom on it again so this is certainly worth remembering and rewatching in my opinion and for sure, his efforts should be reengaged by all of us again when the powers that shouldn't be come at us sideways again

  34. Looks like Obama & his administration are passing the bill anyway just by another name! If you honestly believe that this man committed suicide then you have some serious issues!

  35. Fuck copyright law. All it does is line the pockets of people who have enough money allready and interfere with file-sharing and YouTube uploads. A two-week old book or CD is OLD…if low-income people get something for free, that's fine.

  36. This guy is dead now and meanwhile the fuckers are sneaking in SOPA in small pieces in other shit like TPP.

    Yeah, government represents the people..

  37. I Enjoy his rehersal copy of this in an empty (Almost) bright hall in front of a black "blue screen"
    With Sound track and longer neck beard…..More Passion and miss cue..
    Love You Forever  #AaronSW Bro
    Speak Up When You Get Back..

    They Did it Aaron..The "Hackers" They Broke The IntorWebs ToDay!  Dead, KilleD iT DeaD, I think? iMNs0HO
    Peace J
    "A Change to the Bill of Rights…Deleted!"

  38. Instead of just "OMG How Sad! How Unusual! How great he was!" How about listing a few of the websites that he probably saved from getting "zapped" by big business and media interests? www.Educate-Yourself.org also explains the probable WHY of what Aaron Swartz was trying to understand and change. And no boys and girls — its not about porn and "freeing the nipple…"

  39. crackle ranger 9.9 we got a guy trying to smuggle some knowledge here. we gotta put this guy away for 40 years to protect people from this knowledge crackle

  40. Check out this documentary, which is in the making. It explains why free is destroying much of the music, art, movies, and other forms of communications. unsoundthemovie.com

  41. What does he say in 1:02 after "Peter explained…" and "…this bill". I'm making English and Spanish subtitles for this video, I'd appreciate your help.

  42. The sad thing is Obama had the last laugh as his vindictiveness took over as he abdicated control of the internet to the United Nations under ICANN.
    https://www.google.com/amp/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/an-internet-giveaway-to-the-u-n-1472421165?client=safari

  43. 4 years without you kid. If you only knew how internet freedom, Wikileaks mostly, has turned western world upside down, in ways we never expected… oh the irony. But I still believe. It's all very new for most of people, we need to learn, we need to learn about trolls, we need to learn about contrasting information, about getting information from opposite sources, not only select the sources we like, people of opposite backgrounds and views are getting aware of each others, and confronting their ideas directly, and it is a big crash at the beginning. But it's a beginning.
    How useful you would be around now 🙁

  44. Isn't it ironic anytime someone wants to do good for Humanity such as Edward Snowden Aaron Schwartz Martin Luther King Malcolm X Mahatma Gandhi and on and on and on comes up dead

  45. I'm not sure why he was deemed a bad guy by the federal government. He's not a power seeker, just an idealist.

  46. Miss you Aaron…. You would have given the world so much…. You gave so much. Your ideas and implementation are revolutionary. It takes courage dear and you had it.

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