"Misinterpreting Copyright: A Series of Errors," an essay by Richard Stallman, is one of the best explanations I've seen for what's wrong with the way we think about copyright. The main idea is that the when the U.S. Constitution authorized copyright laws, it did so on the basis that it is "not a natural right of authors, but an artificial concession made to them for the sake of progress."
It's always difficult to report on someone's death. If they've had a lifetime of accomplishments, how do you sum that up in a few brief paragraphs? When a life has been cut cruelly short, it's even worse–trying hopelessly to convey the sense of lost possibilities. With Aaron Swartz, who died this past weekend, reportedly by his own hand, you have the worst of both worlds