Law professor Lawrence Lessig marked his appointed as Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership at Harvard Law School with a lecture dedicated to the memory of internet activist Aaron Swartz and his work. Prof. Lessig was a close friend and mentor to Aaron and his death was a great loss to him. He had planned to lecture on corruption but after Aaron’s death decided to discuss Aaron’s Law and his work:
At the center of [Aaron’s] struggle is and was copyright. In the debate between people who are pro and anti copyright, Aaron was on neither side.” Rather, he opposed “dumb copyright.” A perfect example was Swartz’s efforts to liberate data from PACER the database of public court records, which charged 8 cents a page. He was not violating copyright, technical restraints, terms of service or any other prohibitions. He had found a loophole. “A loophole for public good” as opposed to the loopholes used for private gain by lobbyists and tax lawyers. Swartz did the same thing with the government’s database of issued copyrights. The PACER project got Aaron FBI surveillance; the copyright project, on the other hand, was met with approval by the Copyright Office. Using all this as proof Lessig continued to emphasize that Aaron was a hacker. He defines “hacker” as one who uses technical knowledge to make a better world.
According to Lessig, Aaron was his mentor, not the other way around. The two worked together, upon Aaron’s insistence, on anti-corruption campaign for a while before they split again: while Aaron wanted to turn Barrack Obama into Elizabeth Warren, Lessig wanted Obama to pick up the fight with corruption he had promised in 2008. Without that fight, the defenders of the status quo would defeat real change.