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Aaron Swartz and the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto

Duaa Chamsi Basha
LIBR 2100 03
Prof. Meg Raven
April 1st, 2016

Aaron Swartz and the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto
Aaron Swartz was an American programmer, entrepreneur, political organizer, a writer and an internet hacktivist. He put his life under the FBI threat for being indicted for his illegal data- theft. For this reason, he committed suicide in 2013 where he hanged himself in his Brooklyn apartment.
For the purpose of this proposal, I aim to convince the granting agency to justify a grant of $100,000 in order to produce a documentary film about the Aaron Swartz and his opinions about the Open Access Movement. I will provide you with some information and sources about Aaron Swartz. In my rationale, I am going to provide reasons about why you should do such a film and the importance of making such a film. While Aaron accomplished a lot in his short life, the focus of your documentary film will be on Aaron Swartz and his opinions about open access.

Aaron Swartz, nicknamed the Internet’s Own Boy, was born in November 1986, in Chicago. Swartz immersed himself in the study of computers, programming, the Internet, and Internet culture. He did not complete his education, Swartz attended North Shore Country Day School, a small private school near Chicago, until 9th grade. He left high school in the 10th grade, and enrolled in courses at a Chicago area college (Wikipedia n.d). At age 13, Swartz won an ArsDigita Prize, given to young people who create "useful, educational, and collaborative" non- commercial websites (Wikipedia n.d). At age 14, he became a member of the working group that authored the RSS, web syndication specification.
One of his opinions about information is “Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world's entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations” (Swartz 2008). This was one of his motivations to establish the Open Access Movement which its main aim is to provide free access to all kinds of information, which most of it restricted for big companies, for human knowledge. He fought for his purpose and
Aaron Swartz accomplished a lot in his life. He created Info Network when he was 12 years old. Swartz led the “free culture” movement, and was a polymath who had already led and won a global battle to prevent the privatisation of swaths of the internet under the terms of the Stop Online Piracy Act in the United States (Penny 2016). He also was a co-owner of Reddit (a social news networking service). He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act.
Furthermore he led the development of the non- profit Open Library in 2007which its main purpose is to collect information about every book ever published. He also cofounded the online news site Reddit, where he released as free software the web framework he developed,
I believe the Internet’s own Boy is important is because he fought against injustice and wanted to live in fairness. Aaron Swartz is important because he made, or intended to make, change in our lives; he wanted information to be free for all people. He aimed to have full access to all kinds of information for everyone, and not to keep the information with the ones who have more power. He is important because “he is a programmer and an internet activist—a prodigy who very literally helped shape the early internet. He was a co-owner of Reddit, he started Demand Progress, he helped form Creative Commons, was instrumental in the creation of RSS, and he was integral in the fight against SOPA and PIPA” (Horn 2014).

Amiel, B. (2013, Jan 16). What activist aaron swartz showed us. Maclean's, 126, 3. Retrieved from
Breckenridge, K. (2014). The politics of the parallel archive: Digital imperialism and the future of record-keeping in the age of digital reproduction. Journal of Southern African Studies, 40(3), 499-519.
Chatterjee. P., Biswas. T., & Mishra. V. (2013). Open access: The changing face of scientific publishing. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care. 2(2). 128- 130. doi: 10.4103/2249-4863.117400
Horn. L. (2014, June 26). The internet's own boy: Why Aaron Swartz's story matters more than ever. Gizmodo. Retrieved March 26, 2016, from
Knappenberger. B. (2014, June 27). "Internet's own boy": The life & legacy of Aaron Swartz (interview). Bio. Retrieved from
Penny. L. (2016, March 4). Why we should remember Aaron Swartz - the prodigy who wanted information to be free. New Statesman. Retrieved from
Peters. J. (2016). The idealist: Aaron Swartz and the rise of free culture on the internet. New York: Justin Peters. Retrieved from
Press. I. (2014, July 8). The Internets Own Boy - The Story of Aaron Swartz. [Video File]. Retrieved from
Slate.Me. Will Aaron Swartz's suicide make the open-access movement mainstream? Retrieved March 26, 2016 from
Swartz. A. (2008). Guerilla open access manifesto. Retrieved March 26, 2016 from
Swartz. A. (n.d). In Wikipedia. Retrieved March 26, 2016, from…...

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