May 28, 2022

Reddit Co-Founder and Political Activist Aaron Swartz Accused of Stealing 4.8 Million JSTOR Documents from MIT

Updated: Aaron Swartz’s Blog and Twitter Stream Refers Users to a News Release from Demand Progress:

“Federal Government Indicts Former Demand Progress Executive Director For Downloading Too Many Journal Articles”

Update: News Release from JSTOR

Update: News Release from U.S. DOJ

Direct to the Full Text of the Indictment (via Scribd)

From The Guardian:

Aaron Swartz, the 24-year-old co-founder of the website Reddit, has been indicted on charges of stealing more than 4m documents from JSTOR, a paid-for archive of scientific journals and papers, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The charges were filed in Boston on Tuesday by an attorney for the district of Massachusetts, and carry a penalty of up to 35 years in prison and a $1m fine.

The prosecution alleges that Swartz broke into restricted areas of MIT starting on 24 September 2010 and continuing on and off until 6 January 2011, and downloaded “a major portion” of JSTOR’s archive. It claimed that his purpose was to distribute the archive through one or more file-sharing sites.


Swartz has been indicted on four counts, of wire fraud, computer fraud, criminal forfeiture and obtaining information from a protected computer.

Read the Complete Story

Additional Media
Reddit Co-Founder Charged With Data Theft (via NY Times)

See Also: Aaron Swartz Support Page (via Demand Progress)
See Also: General Facts (via JSTOR)
See Also: Worldwide Access Facts (via JSTOR)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.