The late Reddit cofounder and Internet activist Aaron Swartz
was posthumously awarded the American Library Association's James Madison
The award was handed out at the 15th annual Freedom of
Information Day in Washington on Friday, March 15, by Rep. Zoe Lofgren
(D-Calif). Lofgren represents Northern California, including Internet companies
allied with a Swartz-led Internet effort to block passage of SOPA and PIPA
piracy legislation, which was eventually scuttled in part because of that
According to the association, the Swartz got the award for
"his dedication to promoting and protecting public access to research and
At the time of his death of an apparent suicide Jan. 11,
Swartz had been hit by the Justice Department with a raftof felony charges with stiff penalties for allegedly using MIT computers to
illegally download scientific journals (a reported 4.8 million documents) from
a subscription site.
Swartz death has become a rallying point for those who
believe the government and industry is overprotective of content, and the award
provided more fuel to the movement. "I hope that Aaron's death and this award
can serve as a wake-up call to the US Congress and the federal government,"
said Swartz; partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman in a statement. "We
must no longer allow corporate greed to be the bottleneck to people's access to
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