The Aaron Swartz case, while somewhat downplayed in the media, is a landmark event in the freedom of information and the Internet. Swartz dedicated his life to making information available for the masses, and sadly died protecting those freedoms. His life and work should be recognized as monumental in the fight for human rights.
Aaron Swartz was an important face in the internet world. The fact that he killed himself due to prosecution over what may be some trumped up charges. This highlights a whole mess of issues that need to be dealt with. So yes, it is very important, and should not be swept under the rug.
The case of Aaron Swartz brings up a lot of negative aspects of our society, such as corporate monopoly on information, the use of government to protect corporate interests, and judicial overreach (absurd prison sentencing guidelines). Aaron fought against all of these and helped provide information to the disenfranchised, helping people become more informed and educated. He was a good man and a friend to the people.
I think the case against Aaron Swartz played an important role in terms of the precedence of the legal limitations of the internet. The investigation and the crimes that Swartz were pursued for open up a debate in terms of both where the legal system and the public stand in terms of accessing intellectual property over the internet. Swartz's suicide alone may have an impact on public opinion, but the loss from him taking his own life is getting to see how this case would play out if brought before a judge and jury.
In the grand scheme of things, people will view him as a minor player in the software technology world. Sure, he came up with RSS and reddit, but that's not saying much. And then he committed suicide because he didn't want to stand for what he believed in. What a coward.