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Greens step up campaign for copyright reforms

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 14 Jan 2013

Australian Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam paid tribute to late activist Aaron Swartz as the Greens renewed their call for copyright law reform.

On 11 January the 26 year-old Mr Swartz, a celebrated social justice and free internet activist, took his own life in Brooklyn while facing potentially more than 30 years in prison for downloading academic articles.

"The parents and many friends and colleagues of Mr Swartz have stated that the charges he faced under US copyright law contributed to his death. He faced more than three decades in prison and possibly one million dollars in fines. His alleged crime? Downloading articles from JSTOR - a journal storage portal to academic research.

"JSTOR aims to foster widespread access to the world's body of scholarly knowledge, asked the prosecution to drop the case, and has now decided to make 4.5 million articles available to the public for free - yet US authorities pursued Mr Swartz relentlessly and vindictively in a highly politicised campaign. Mr Swartz had played a leading role in the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a dangerous piece of legislation which threatens free speech and innovation.

"Legislative reform of copyright regimes is needed to stop the criminalisation of a generation of internet users," Senator Ludlam said. "With a view to driving back this type of intimidation and overreach here in Australia, the Greens are investigating a suite of copyright law reform measures."



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