The Internet’s Own Boy
Jul 11 - Jul 17, 2014
(Brian Knappenberger, United States, 2014, DCP, 104 min)
In 2011, the Federal Government indicted Reddit co-founder and internet activist Aaron Swartz for downloading thousands of academic journal articles without paying fees. The messy battle that followed put Swartz’s idealistic view of the Internet as an equalizing force of democratic information sharing on trial, and ultimately concluded when Swartz committed suicide in the face of a 35-year prison sentence.
Through a mix of touching interviews with his closest confidants and erudite commentary on intellectual property rights, SOPA, and the labyrinthine legal nature of Aaron’s case, The Internet’s Own Boy chronicles Swartz’s remarkable story, as he fitfully grows from a precocious pre-teen who played a pivotal role in designing the architecture of RSS, to a long haired Occupy folk hero who fought regulations of internet free speech and championed data sharing as a human right.
"fascinating, maddening, and ultimately very sad." —The Seattle Times
"In 2013, Aaron Swartz, a young computer genius, committed suicide because President Obama failed to keep the promises that brought him to power. This is not a stretch. . .The documentary is focused and engaging. You will leave this film with the sick feeling that you live in a very sick country. " —The Stranger
"Here is a gifted young man, his life cruelly cut short. What’s harder to convey—which Knappenberger does with many screen graphics and expert interviews—is the complicated, contested notion of what the Internet should freely divulge, keep secret, or license and hold behind payrolls. . .if you use the Internet and unquestioningly accept its terms and conditions, Swartz died for your sins." —Seattle Weekly
"both a searing work of protest and rage, and a deeply moving portrait of a gifted, likeable young man driven to despair by the very country he loved and sought to help." —The Restless Critic