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Giving Kudos to Brilliant Content

Aaron Swartz, the prodigiously gifted coder and activist who contributed to the development of the RSS standard, the website Reddit, the launch of the Creative Commons, OpenLibrary.org and Demand Progress, was found dead on 11 January, having taken his own life in his New York apartment.

Aside from the idea that one of the internet activist community’s leading lights may have felt driven to suicide by the prospect of facing over 30 years in prison, it’s the disproportionate nature of the potential penalty that Swartz faced and what it reflects about the current nature of the internet that has sparked the most fervent debate.