And you're conveniently neglecting the fact that he snuck into the closet (identity obscured by bike helmet over his face) to plant a laptop and tap directly into their LAN to download the stuff. They had noticed the illicit activity on their network and traced to lines to the laptop and closet, then had to set up surveillance to see what was up and catch the culprit. When they were engaged in trying catch him, they had no idea he was everybody fav child internet prodigy. The theft was of services as well as of those items of intellectual materials that were not already in the public domain, plus the more basic issue of burglary and tampering with communications facilities that he had no business tampering with. His authorization to access these materials derived from his affiliation with Harvard and presumably he was expected to access them by logging on through Harvard's network, subject to any validation checks and bandwidth limitations that might apply. Being a prodigy or a genius or a creator of a cool website or a depressed egghead doesn't mean that you're above the law. If theft had been carried out by some hacker named Joe Schmoe from a local community college, would every one be making the same excuses and singing the same eulogies? I doubt it. He was known to have been depressed for years, at least since 2007. The questions people really should be asking are whether he was receiving proper professional treatment for his depression and if not, why not.