A documentary about the late Internet activist who helped create the Creative Commons has been taken down from YouTube by a copyright claim.
The Internet's Own Boy is a documentary on Aaron Swartz's life, suicide, and legacy, was released June 27 after making the rounds at film festivals. Swartz committed suicide in January 2013 at the age of 26, after he was hounded to death by prosecutors keen to show it was tough on hackers. He downloaded a cache of academic journals from JSTOR through MIT's network and prosecutors wanted him locked up for 60 years.
The Internet's Own Boy has a multifaceted distribution model: It's available in certain theatres, through paid streaming services like Amazon Prime, and for free online. It was released to keeping with Swartz's ideals of free flow of information and director Brian Knappenberger chose to make the film Creative Commons-licensed, meaning anyone can use the material without fear of copyright infringement. However, on Friday anyone trying to see the documentary was greeted by the message, "This video is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Remove Your Media LLC." This is a company that specializes in sending copyright takedowns in accordance with the law that governs them, the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA).
A representative for Remove Your Media, Eric Greene, refused to name the client who hired him for the takedown, though he said it was "a distributor outside the U.S." One of the film's US distributors attributed the takedown to "miscommunication."
The video was back over the weekend and it still a mystery who took it down.