Open Access Guerilla (2008), by Aaron Swartz

. . .

«…

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.
 
Want to read the papers
featuring the most famous results of the sciences?
 
You’ll need to send enormous amounts to
publishers like Reed Elsevier.
 
There are
those struggling to change this.
 
The Open Access Movement
has fought valiantly
to ensure that
scientists
do not sign their copyrights away
but instead
ensure
their work is published on the Internet,
under terms
that allow anyone
to access it.
…»
 
.
 
Full text here following :
 
<< …
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.
Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results
of the sciences?
You’ll need to send enormous amounts
to publishers like Reed Elsevier.
 
There are those struggling to change this.
The Open Access Movement
has fought valiantly to ensure that
scientists do not sign their copyrights away
but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet,
under terms that allow anyone to access it.
 
But even under the best scenarios, their work
will only apply to things published in the future.
Everything up until now will have been lost.
 
That is too high a price to pay.
Forcing academics to pay money
to read the work of their colleagues?
Scanning entire libraries
but only allowing the folks at Google to read them?
Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities
in the First World, but
not to children in the Global South?
It’s outrageous and unacceptable.
 
“I agree,” many say,
“but what can we do?
The companies hold the copyrights,
they make enormous amounts of money
by charging for access,
and
it’s perfectly legal —
there’s nothing we can do to stop them.”
 
But
there is something we can,
something that’s already being done :
 
we can fight back.
 
Those with access to these resources
— students, librarians, scientists —
you have been given a privilege.
 
You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge
while the rest of the world is locked out.
 
But you need not
— indeed, morally, you cannot —
keep this privilege for yourselves.
 
You have a duty to share it with the world.
 
And you have :
trading passwords with colleagues,
filling download requests for friends.
 
Meanwhile,
those who have been locked out
are not standing idly by.
 
You have been sneaking through holes
and climbing over fences,
liberating the information locked up by the publishers
and
sharing them with your friends.
 
But all of this action goes on in the dark,
hidden underground.
 
It’s called stealing or piracy,
 
as if sharing a wealth of knowledge
were the moral equivalent
of plundering a ship and murdering its crew.
 
.
 
But sharing isn’t immoral
— it’s a moral imperative.
 
.
 
Only those
blinded by greed
would refuse to
let a friend make a copy.
 
.
 
Large corporations, of course,
are blinded by greed.
 
The laws under which they operate
require it
— their shareholders would revolt
at anything less.
 
.
 
And the politicians
they have bought off back them,
passing laws
giving them the exclusive power
to decide
who can
make copies.
 
.
 
There is no justice in following unjust laws.
 
.
 
It’s time to come into the light
 
and,
 
in the grand tradition of
 
civil disobedience,
 
declare
 
our opposition to
 
this private theft
 
of public culture.
 
.
 
We need to take information,
wherever it is stored,
make our copies
and share them with the world.
 
We need to take stuff
that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive.
 
We need to buy secret databases
and put them on the Web.
 
We need to download scientific journals
and upload them to file sharing networks.
 
We need to fight
for
Guerilla Open Access.
 
.
 
With enough of us, around the world,
we’ll not just send
a strong message opposing
the privatization of knowledge
— we’ll make it a thing of the past.
 
Will you join us?
 
Aaron Swartz
 
July 2008, Eremo, Italy
… >>
.

local UniVerse information gatherers

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