With regard to the public domain docs, they dropped those charges. The recent prosecution was related to the JSTOR issue--which was definitively NOT public domain. And even though JSTOR decided to not press charges, that decision is not the victim's to make. The prosecutor's office decides these things. Otherwise, a victim could be "bribed" to dismiss. The prosecutors are tasked with pursuing justice, even if a victim "forgives" or otherwise wants the whole thing to go away.
The founders wrote trademark and copyright protections into the founding docs for a reason. To extend your metaphor, they did indeed break English law. But equally so they were willing to suffer the consequences if they were not successful; "we pledge our lives, fortunes, and sacred honor." If Aaron Swatz thought them in error, he should have taken his chances in court where a jury of his peers (such as they are) would have determined his fate. But It should be said and maintained that his suicide was indicative of more than fear of a trial. Such things are always indicative of deeper, psychological issues, and were I his attorney (I am not a lawyer) I would have used those in his defense.
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