Swartz was involved in the development of the web feed format RSS, the Creative Commons organization, the website framework web.py, and the social news site Reddit, in which he was an equal partner after a merger with his Infogami company.[i] Swartz also focused on sociology, civic awareness, and activism. In 2010 he became a research fellow at Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Research Lab on Institutional Corruption, directed by Lawrence Lessig. He founded the online group Demand Progress, known for its campaign against the Stop Online Piracy Act, and later worked with the activist groups Rootstrikers and Avaaz. He also was a contributing editor to The Baffler.
On January 6, 2011, Swartz was arrested by a federal special agent on state breaking-and-entering charges in connection with systematic downloading of academic journal articles from JSTOR. Federal prosecutors eventually charged him with 2 counts of wire fraud and 11 violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, carrying a maximum penalty of up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine plus forfeiture, restitution, and supervised release.