The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet

  • Title: The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet
  • Author: Justin Peters
  • ISBN: 9781476767727
  • Page: 142
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The Idealist Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet 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 f
    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 2013A 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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    About Justin Peters


    1. Justin Peters Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet book, this is one of the most wanted Justin Peters author readers around the world.


    694 Comments


    1. The last half of the book is excellent: a compelling portrayal of the life and death of internet free culture advocate Aaron Swartz. Swartz is neither excessively celebrated nor condemned but instead presented as someone with intelligence, strong convictions and a genuine desire to challenge conventional ways of thinking about the ethics of copyright in the digital age. Yes, "information wants to be free" rhetoric can seem like self serving nonsense from millennials who don't want to pay for the [...]

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    2. I've been interested in the Aaron Swartz story since I saw the documentary "The Internet's Own Boy." This book takes 4 chapters to review the history of intellectual property and the push and pull between long periods of copyright protection vs. public domain benefits. It then tells Aaron's story with a seemingly balanced view. I liked the documentary a lot but this book filled in some gaps for me. This might interest some of my librarian friends.

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    3. The free culture movement wants to remove barriers to information.“Copyright is a social relationship between producers, consumers and the state,” writes Justin Peters. “Today’s copyright laws are weighted wholly in favor of the producers.” Public domain, meanwhile, implies that the public has a stake in works of culture and scholarship. And therein lies the conflict. When copyright terms expand, the public domain contracts. The first half of this book follows the interesting history o [...]

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    4. It felt like the introduction lasted well over 100 pages, going into the history of copyright law. Some of it was interesting, following the stories of historical figures, but a lot of it was extremely factual. Even once the book made it to Aaron Schwartz's story, it felt at times like a school report - the facts of what had happened were stated, but not always expanded upon in an interesting way. There are probably more entertaining/interesting books out there about internet free cultre and/or [...]

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    5. A good brief history of intellectual property along with the tragic story of Aaron Swartz. Good read for librarians.

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    6. This isn't just a book about Aaron Swartz, though it certainly does a great job explaining why people should be upset at his unhappy fate. This is a book about copyright - what should be free, to whom, and how. Everyone should care about that. No matter what side (of the many, many available sides) of copyright you come down upon, you'll do yourself a favor reading this straightforward, no-frills account of how we got here and what we lost on the way.

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    7. Could have been much better. WAY too much "this is the history of copyright" and not enough "this is the impact of what this new world means." Last third of the book that deals with Aaron is very good.

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    8. Justin Peters is a great writer. Reading through the abridged history of copyright was absolutely fascinating, more so even then learning about Aaron Swartz. Absolutely recommended.

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    9. If you have ever used the Internet, and liked being able to, this is a book to check out. A lot of folks (including me) don't realize that much of the way the Internet currently works hinges on interpretations of copyright rules. This book provides lots of reasons why copyright is an important issue, how it underpins our history and our future, and why we should all be a little more aware and involved in matters of copyright law. This book is touted as being centered on Aaron Swartz, and it does [...]

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    10. The book, while sometimes overly verbose to the point of esoteric obscurity, successfully plumbs the depth and history of the dissemination of information, both across the USA and the world at large. It paints a very balanced picture of the current state of information consumerism and why existing power structures seek to preserve the scarcity of information.The history of Copywrite, and the free culture movement - the prononents, critics and martyrs alike - makes for a very eye opening encapsul [...]

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    11. This book is a pretty good overview of the work and prosecution (or, you know, persecution) of Aaron Swartz, and of the background and milieu of the fight for free and open information and internet. Almost half the book deals with other people in and aspects of that fight: Richard Stallman, Project Gutenberg, Steward Brand, the Internet Archive, PIPA/SOPA, etc.As the author himself mentions in the introduction, he deliberately left out lots of material; the book is meant to be an overview and to [...]

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    12. This book is mostly about copyright and its relation to Internet open culture in the US, and well-written in general. Only perhaps a third of the book is about Aaron Swartz. Which I think works well, but might throw other people off. The essentials, and more, are there, and it makes a compelling read.

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    13. tbh I had to read this for class, and though it is a nice little history of copyright, the early internet, and Swartz, it wasn't anything I didn't already know. Also, there are no women in this book. At all. And the title "librarian" is thrown around in a way that I find personally upsetting, and also is a good indicator that the author doesn't actually know much about librarianship.

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    14. It's not too early to conclude that this will be one of my favourite books in 2018.

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    15. A very good book about a very sad thing.

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    16. Interesting to learn more about copyright, libraries, internet as well as Aaron Swartz.

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    17. “I MUST INVENT MY OWN SYSTEM OR BE ENSLAVED BY OTHER MEN.”On August 6, 1991, Tim Berners-Lee ceded his rights to his internet to the public. His open access approach to the internet led to a massive explosion of new ideas, both good and bad. However, these ideas - which are, ideally, placed within the public sphere, have always been subdued by larger systems and corporations. It seems that government is always portrayed as a large, ominous being that stifles creativity and insurgency through [...]

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    18. First I'll talk about the book itself and then the subject.The book is a nice, quick read that covers an interesting subject, but it's too cursory. That is, the people that will up up reading this book probably will already know much of what it says. It'd be better if it had more analysis or if it went into more detail on any of the subjects it covers. Also, it sometime insulted people with providing evidence or an affirmation of relevance for the insult (eg saying Webster was insecure.)With tha [...]

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    19. At first I viewed Edward Snowden as a hero (Assange not so much), a man who nearly single-handedly got the American government to reevaluate its War on Terror. The more I look at the libertarian principles under which the "free culture" wars are based, not anymore. At the outset of this book we see Aaron Swartz, a representative figure of this movement, commit suicide after government pressure forced him to defend himself in court. There is an eerie feeling watching this now sainted figure sneak [...]

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    20. Heartbreaking to read. Even more heartbreaking to look online and see so many of his projects still around.

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    21. I’d heard the story of Aaron Swartz in the hustle and bustle of technology blogs posting about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Even after that news story wound down, there was plenty of focus on Swartz and his alleged copyright violating download of documents from JSTOR. A decade ago, I could imagine a younger me being outraged over the insinuation that he’d done anything illegal or immoral. Now I’m much more in the grey area of the illegal and leaning toward doubting the immorality of [...]

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    22. I read the Slate article by Peters that this book was based on a few months after Swartz death. I am not certain why this sad story captured my attention. I was vaguely aware of Schwartz before his death, I think because of my long time interest in Creative Commons and the SOPA/PIPA fights. But when I read of what seemed to be a senseless and unexpected suicide, I felt compelled to understand why someone so brilliant and talented believed that ending his life was his best option. The book fleshe [...]

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    23. The Internet is still a freewheeling, anything goes network that links the world despite frequent efforts by the authorities and big business to restrict and refine it. Information will be free, as the saying goes, and many people work actively to promote this mission. At times there can be clashes between rights owners and those who don’t believe that information should be restricted. Others want to restrict how technologies are used and to what purpose they may be deployed.This book is about [...]

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    24. I almost put the book down after the first hundred pages, whose central theme is the early history of copyright and has the central character of the dogmatic Noah Webster. My frustration was less with the subject than it was with the writing, it came across very didactic and had a cut and paste feel to it. Thereafter the author seems to give up his love of SAT words, put down his thesaurus and begin to tell the rich narrative that revolves Aaron Swartz, informative and cautionary. The story beco [...]

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    25. Any detailed review of this book would be too personal for public consumption (I was partnered for eleven years with a different quirky, geeky, counter-cultural free-information enthusiast who didn't gel with organized schooling or employment, felt driven to save the world, suffered from anxiety, depression, and ulcerative colitis, and died by suicide). But it's a wonderful book, extremely well written, and if Swartz's life and work intrigue you at all, you should read it. Even the chapters abou [...]

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    26. I was initially drawn to this book because of Swartz's ties to Reddit. Not having done any research, I was under the impression that it was about his involvement in Reddit. Man, was I wrong. Upon further research, I found out about his involvement with the Free Culture movement. This was very intriguing to me, so I finished the book regardless of my initial disappointment. I'm glad that I did.The book does a good job at highlighting Aaron's life and how he found his way into the activism lifesty [...]

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    27. A decent overview of Aaron Swartz and the historical rise and development of information, regulatory resistance, and Swartz's efforts to make information more accessible online. There is a historical account at the beginning of the book that some may find a bit extensive, reviewing copyright law, the publishing industry, and the rise of the Internet, but I really enjoyed and learned from the book.

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    28. "The Idealist is a cogent and readable précis of the life of a twenty-six-year-old genius who managed, over the course of a few years, to contribute to a lifetime's worth of projects and initiatives. To read The Idealist is to get the gist of the most influential and telling entries from Swartz's collected works without having to struggle through them all." –Chris Wilson on Justin Peters' The Idealist: Aaron Swartz and the Rise of Free Culture on the Internet in the February/March 2016 issue [...]

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    29. Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Aaron Swartz, Shawn Fanning: The list of people operating on the fringes of legality massively influence our lives. They are the counter weight to corporate America which restricts freedoms of data wherever they can in favor of their interests. These people provide the right pressure to liberate data which is supposed to be free. Data that is public or should be anyway.Even though a sad story, we read today too often in the daily news that the FBI found another pi [...]

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    30. A great book that expertly gives you the full context of what's behind the perpetual ongoing war between American copyright laws and the idealistic vision of free information championed by the founders of the Internet and of course Aaron Swartz. Peters presentation is highly entertaining and also informative. As battles wage over laws that govern the internet and technology like SOPA and Apple vs. FBI, it would do all of us well to read this book to get Swartz's ahead of his time perspective on [...]

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