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Old January 14th, 2013 (6:55 AM). Edited January 14th, 2013 by TRIFORCE89.
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Join Date: May 2004
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Originally Posted by Razor Leaf View Post
What do you think of this whole thing?
It is unfortunate.

Originally Posted by Razor Leaf View Post
How far, if at all, was the legal action taken against Aaron responsible for his death? Was it fair to take legal action against him in the first place?
If he was just downloading, then I don't think there was a problem. Through the school's subscription, he would be able to download them. But if he uploaded them all, or attempted to, somewhere that would be a problem. And then I wouldn't have an issue with legal action. You're not exempt from criminal charges because you've done great things, are a good person, or have depression. You break the rules, you break the rules, and there are consequences.

Originally Posted by Razor Leaf View Post
As for the sentence, although this particular article does not give it precisely, I've seen it to be 35 years and $1 million worth of fines.
I think that'd be a maximum, right? The 35 years seems wrong to me, but I'm okay with the fine. Generally, in cases of fraud or theft I'm in favour of a financial punishment (with minimal jail time as appropriate to the crime). The wronged party wants their money back. I don't think 35 years would be appropriate, no.

Originally Posted by Razor Leaf View Post
Is this fair? Should the situation have been different because of the nature of the content which he was involved with (i.e. academic papers as opposed to music, films, etc.)? Discuss.
Even with Google Scholar, you can't access all the scholarly literature. A bulk of it is the property of the publishers and distributors. Licenses for access are granted to academic institutions for specific purposes. He violated all of that. Doesn't matter what the nature was. It's sort of cut and dry. It isn't public material. When an article is submitted to an academic journal or a conference, that publisher owns it.

EDIT: Okay, scrap all what I said above. It was not money issue. Or dealing with licenses of anything. JSTOR doesn't even seem to mind. From their website:

"At the same time, as one of the largest archives of scholarly literature in the world, we must be careful stewards of the information entrusted to us by the owners and creators of that content. To that end, Aaron returned the data he had in his possession and JSTOR settled any civil claims we might have had against him in June 2011."

So, their beef with him was long over. He didn't distribute anything, so whatever I said above about financial is void. The issue is that apparently JSTOR's servers are Federally-owned. So, he likely violated something that makes no sense and is outdated. They could have proceeded with legal action (because, no guarantee he would be convicted there), sure. But, the sentence proposed above does seem grossly disproportionate for the crime of "downloading a lot very quickly".
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