Tim O’Reilly and the authors of Open Government, of which Aaron Swartz is one, have made the book free for all to read in a variety of formats, including PDF and E-pub:
Open Government was published in 2010 by O’Reilly Media. The United States had just elected a president in 2008, who, on his first day in office, issued an executive order committing his administration to “an unprecedented level of openness in government.” The contributors of Open Government had long fought for transparency and openness in government, as well as access to public information. Aaron Swartz was one of these contributors (Chapter 24: When is Transparency Useful?). Aaron was a hacker, an activist, a builder, and a respected member of the technology community. O’Reilly Media is making Open Government free to all to access in honor of Aaron. #PDFtribute
I strongly encourage you to take this opportunity to read this book and understand what activists like Aaron Swartz are fighting for.
Why does this still happen::
I’ve been frustrated for years, like other scholars and faculty members who take an interest in these issues, at the remarkable lassitude of academia as a whole toward publication, intellectual property and digitization. Faculty who tell me passionately about their commitment to social justice either are indifferent to these concerns or are sometimes supportive of the old order. They defend the ghastly proposition that universities (and governments) should continue to subsidize the production of scholarship that is then donated to for-profit publishers who then charge high prices to loan that work back to the institutions that subsidized its creation, and the corollary, demanded by those publishers, that the circulation of such work should be limited to those who pay those prices.
I cannot understand why academics and universities are OK with this. If the work academics do is for the betterment of mankind, why is it holed away, to be read by almost no one?