The decision to hound Swartz on flimsy charges with the possibility of decades in prison was in part because of an anti-copyright manifesto written by Swartz in 2008, reports the Huffington Post:
A Justice Department representative told congressional staffers during a recent briefing on the computer fraud prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that Swartz’s “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” played a role in the prosecution.
The manifesto said sharing information was a “moral imperative” and advocated for “civil disobedience” against copyright laws pushed by corporations “blinded by greed” that led to the “privatization of knowledge.”
“We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world,” Swartz wrote in the manifesto.
Swartz was 26 when he killed himself in January. He had been indicted and faced a prison sentence for downloading millions of academic articles from the online database JSTOR, though he maintained he had permission to access them.