Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz was an American programmer, writer, entrepreneur, and internet activist. He was involved in the development of the RSS web feed format, Markdown language, Creative Commons organization, and Python web framework web.py.


Aaron Swartz was a co-founder of a startup called Infogami, which later became the social news site Reddit. He was given the title of a co-founder of Reddit by Paul Graham of Y Combinator.


In 2008, Swartz published an essay called Guerilla Open Access Manifesto:

Sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.

In 2010, he co-founded an activist organization, Demand Progress, and led the charge fighting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

United States v. Aaron Swartz

In 2011, Swartz was arrested by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) police on state breaking-and-entering charges, after connecting to the campus network in an unlocked closet, to massive download academic journal articles.

Federal prosecutors later charged him with wire fraud and violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, carrying a maximum penalty of $1 million in fines, 35 years in prison, asset forfeiture, and supervised release.

Swartz declined a plea bargain under which he would have served six months in federal prison. Two days after the prosecution rejected a counter-offer by Swartz, he was found dead in his Brooklyn apartment, where he committed suicide. He was 26 years old.

R.I.P. Aaron Swartz (November 8, 1986 – January 11, 2013)

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