Review: The Internet’s Own Boy

Aaron Swartz committed suicide on 11 January 2013 after nearly two years of being under pressure from prosecutors over his frenzy of downloading JSTOR articles in an automated fashion.

During his short life of 26 years, Aaron had contributed much to the Internet. He helped to author RSS 1.0 specifications, authored the RFC for RDF+XML media type, created Markdown and drove Reddit. His role in campaigning against Stop Online Privacy Act proved to be instrumental. SOPA sought to combat Internet copyright violations by letting authorities to shut down suspect websites without much oversight, contradicting a key tenant of USA’s Constitution, free of speech.

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz covers several stages of his life. The brilliance of his was portrayed succinctly throughout the film. The later part of the film was focused not on the case itself per se, but how it came to be that the judicial system in USA is lopsided, if not, beginning to be. Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger made such a strong case of it that it is a pity that the prosecutorial team and the parties like JSTOR and MIT refused to comment in the documentary to provide a balanced view.

The film is creative commons licensed. If you are unable to buy the film from Vimeo, no worries. There are alternative ways to get the film. Internet Archives has released the video on its site. At the same time there is a torrent available. I have also uploaded it to Mega and have it sitting in a BitTorrent Sync folder (Secret key: BP5P7V72NVCGX42YNYGMZHB6F63XTZ4A6) as well.

HackerspaceSG is hosting a screening on Friday, 4th July, 7.20pm. There will be a panel discussion after the show on Intellectual Property Rights after the screening. Do note that the location is subjected to changes to accommodate a larger crowd.

Location is changed to National Design Centre, IDA Labs.

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