Policy

Demand Progress Seeks Decriminalization of Violating ISP Terms of Service

Death of Founder Aaron Swartz Spurs New Effort 1/17/2013 5:07 AM Eastern
 

Demand Progress, the activist group founded by the late Aaron Swartz, is using the Internet activist's suicide last week as a rallying point for legislation that would decriminalize violations of ISP's and others' terms of service policies.

Swartz was being prosecuted for illegally downloading content from MIT, which was being cited by his friends and family as a factor in his death.

In a letter, Demand Progress and Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig, who worked with Swartz to oppose SOPA and PIPA antipiracy legislation, asked supporters to urge Congress to pass Aaron's Law, which is being introduced by Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), which would put disputes over terms of service agreements in civil courts rather than criminal ones.

"As currently written, Aaron's Law alone wouldn't have saved Aaron," said Demand Progress director David Segal. "[T]here is still more to do to make sure that victimless computer activities are not charged as felonies -- but this is a solid start that we can pass now and it's a law he wanted to change. And then we'll keep pushing."

September