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DOCUMENTARY The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz [June 2014]

FILM DOC internets-own-boy 2

The Internet’s Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz

Directed and produced by Brian Knappenberger

A quick Google on Brian doesn’t come up with much in the way of bio, but there is a thread in Reddit in which he is discussing his film, We are Legion and notes he’s: independent journalist. I’ve worked for PBS, Nat Geo, Discovery and filmed documentaries in Afghanistan, Ukraine, etc. Usually my work involves technology, human rights and has a strong freedom of speech undercurrent – which I think is why I found Anonymous as a phenomenon so interesting.

Cory Doctorow mentioned the availability of the documentary in boingboing The Internet Archive has made this documentary available under Creative Commons. Open Culture are adding it to their list of documentary films.

I’ve linked to the mp4 version, but you can sort what you want from the Internet Archive archive page, which promos it as:

The Internet’s Own Boy depicts the life of American computer programmer, writer, political organizer and Internet activist Aaron Swartz. It features interviews with his family and friends as well as the internet luminaries who worked with him. The film tells his story up to his eventual suicide after a legal battle, and explores the questions of access to information and civil liberties that drove his work.


Aaron Swartz –The Tragic Loss Of The Internet’s Own Boy

Sophia Stein interviews Brian Knappenberger extensively in cultural weekly

As well as the message, I’m interested in the style of the film – I’m not fond of the standard tears right at the end, after lot’s and lots of talking heads. The talking heads are well-balanced with footage, a lot of which is home movie of the young Aron. Cory Doctorow himself pops up quite a few times!

The core of this is JSTOR. Anyone who regularly looks things up on the web will come across this paywall. The film explains what happened when Aron took matters into his own hands. But it is a lot more. Watch it first then look for other views.

Ray Pride’s compilation, “That Vision Thing”: Aaron Swartz, 1986-2013, is a good starting point.

July 5, 2014 Posted by | Aaron Swartz | , , , | Leave a comment