Just two days after activist hacker Aaron Swartz was charged with hacking for downloading too many academic articles, a giant collection of articles from the same service has been posted to the notorious file sharing search engine, The Pirate Bay.
The documents are allegedly 18,952 scientific articles from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society that were downloaded at some point from the scholarly archive service JSTOR. JSTOR is the same service that Swartz is accused of stealing from for downloading 4 million articles via a guest account at MIT.
But according to the note accompanying the huge download, these are not the files that Swartz is accused of downloading (and returning). Instead, the manifesto says the documents came from another source, and the manifesto is signed by a person identifying himself as Greg Maxwell. The manifesto says the documents date back before 1923, making them public domain — though that contention might not be the case, given the difference between U.S. and U.K. copyright law.
JSTOR says it’s in the process of verifying that the documents came from their service, but says the manifesto’s quotes of prices are incorrect, since JSTOR doesn’t sell these articles a la carte. And even if the documents were out-of-copyright, JSTOR says users are not free to post them online, because JSTOR’s terms of service prohibit that — though the company doesn’t claim copyright on them.
JSTOR says that’s their policy because they spend a lot of money to scan, markup and index material, and that their service is available to many people — though not all — through university and public libraries.
See Also: The Pirate Bay Info Page For the Docs With
Includes complete comments from the person who placed the docs online.