Filmmaker Brian Knappenberger on New Aaron Swartz Documentary The Internet's Own Boy

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"Aaron [Swartz] was on the edge, he was ahead of everybody else
and that's just not a comfortable place to be," says Brian Knappenberger, a
documentary filmmaker who is behind a new film about Swartz's life
called The Internet's Own
Boy. Reason TV sat down with Knappenberger to talk about
the film and a few of Swartz's ideas about freedom in the age of
the Internet.Swartz was a programming prodigy who helped create RSS and
Creative Commons, and he co-founded Reddit. After selling Reddit to Condé
Nast, Swartz turned his attention to political organizing, becoming
a popular Internet activist who tried to bring attention to
progressive causes and freedom on the web. In 2012, he helped bring
attention to censorship issues in the Stop Online Piracy Act
(SOPA) bill, a protest that culminated with top websites like
Google, Wikipedia and Reddit blacking out their pages."He had a set of skills that he could put in the service
of the public good and he didn't see a reason that if
he had those skills that he shouldn't do
that," says Knappenberger.In 2013, Swartz took his own life after the U.S.
Department of Justice charged him with two counts of

wire fraud and 11 violations of the
Fraud and Abuse Act a few years prior for
illegally downloading millions of academic research articles from
JSTOR, a nonprofit company that
sells such materials. The charges carried a maximum penalty of $1
million in fines and 35 years in prison."And this is research that is paid for by taxpayers or research
that was already in the public domain," says Knappenberg, who says
the Justice Department may have tried to make an example of Swartz.
"Honestly, the vast majority of things that Aaron was doing seemed
to be political organizing, so what were they trying to deter?"Knappenberger was the producer and director of the 2012
documentary We Are
Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists and has produced
documentaries for Bloomberg, Frontline, and PBS. The
Internet's Own Boy is available for download and is in
selected theaters June 27, 2014.Produced by Paul Detrick. Shot by Zach Weissmuller and Will
Neff. Music by Podington
Bear.About 8:00 minutes.Subscribe to Reason TV's YouTube channel to receive
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Video provided by Reason TV
Producer : Reason TV