“A legal campaign by academic and scientific publishers to prevent Internet users from accessing Sci-Hub and Libgen has expanded to India. In a complaint filed at the High Court in Delhi, Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society, are demanding that local ISPs should block the sites to prevent copyright infringement.”
“Twitter has suspended the account of Sci-Hub, a site that offers a free gateway to paywalled research. The site is accused of violating the counterfeit policy of the social media platform. However, founder Alexandra Elbakyan believes that this is an effort to silence the growing support amidst a high profile court case in India.”
“The recent lawsuit filed in the Delhi High Court by the publishers Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society against Sci-hub and LibGen for copyright infringement has brought to the fore the debate between legality and ethicality of limiting access to knowledge. This discussion will address key concerns.”
“Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society filed a lawsuit in India late December to compel local ISPs to block access to Sci-Hub and Libgen on copyright infringement grounds. With the case set for a hearing tomorrow, scientists, academics, teachers and students are calling on the government to prevent a blockade for the good of society.”
“This post is in continuation of my previous posts dealing with the background on the copyright infringement suit against Sci-Hub and Libgen (here) and the applicability of the fair dealing exception to the impugned use of copyrighted works (here). In this post, I discuss the exception in the Copyright Act for use of works for the purposes of education and the interim injunction plea sought by the plaintiffs….”
“This post is in continuation to my previous post (here) discussing the copyright infringement suit filed by academic publishers against Sci-Hub and Libgen, particularly the dynamic injunction sought by the plaintiffs. Here, I discuss the applicability of the fair dealing exception to the use of copyrighted works on the defendant websites in the instant dispute….”
“Recently, three major academic publishers Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society filed a copyright infringement suit in the Delhi High Court against two groups of websites going by the names ‘Sci-Hub’ and ‘Libgen’ which provide free access to millions of research papers/books. The plaintiffs have sought a permanent injunction against these websites and a dynamic injunction order so that the mirror links of these websites can be blocked as and when the plaintiffs notify. Additionally, the plaintiffs have sought an interim injunction against the defendants.
In a hearing that took place on December 24, the court refused to grant a relief of removing the alleged infringing links from the defendant websites noting that there was no urgency as the alleged infringement had been going on since 2011. However, in light of the stand of Sci-Hub’s counsel, the court ordered that “no new articles or publications, in which the plaintiffs have copyright, will be uploaded or made available”. Libgen was unrepresented in this hearing.
In this three-part post, I seek to dissect this litigation and the interpretive issues before the court….”
“Earlier this month, three foreign academic publishers sued two foreign websites for copyright infringement in a case before the Delhi High Court. Elsevier, Wiley, and American Chemical Society, among the world’s largest publishers of academic papers, wanted the court to block Sci-Hub and LibGen, the largest providers of ‘free downloads’ of their content in India. This case is important because it can have a significant impact on the broader research, academic and education environment in India.
First off, in a purely legal sense, the plaintiffs have a strong case: Sci-Hub and LibGen allow anyone around the world to freely download papers from scientific and academic journals, many of which are under various copyrights. The defendants are guilty in the same way as Robin Hood and his gang were guilty. Even this metaphor is not completely accurate, because unlike money, knowledge is non-zero-sum. Making it possible for an Indian student to gain knowledge does not take away anything from the scholars who published the paper. If anything, sharing knowledge helps increase it….”
“The Delhi High Court Thursday asked Alexandra Elbakyan, the owner of Sci-Hub — a pirate website that provides free access to millions of research papers and books otherwise copyright protected — to disclose her physical address to court and also recorded her counsel’s statement that no articles or publications in which major publishing houses, which have approached the court with a copyright infringement suit, have copyright will be uploaded or made available on the website till January 6, the next date of hearing.
The court was hearing a case filed by Elsevier, Wiley India, Wiley Periodicals, American Chemical Society, which are top global publishing houses in the field of scientific and academic publications and market, sell and license various digitised journals including The Lancet and Cell. They have filed the case against Sci-Hub and Library Genesis (Libgen), another website which provides free access to journals, and alleged that they indulge in online piracy by making available to the public their literary work for free….”
“We are shocked to learn that three academic publishers — Elsevier, Wiley, and the American Chemical Society (ACS) — have filed a suit in the Delhi High Court on December 21, 2020, seeking a ban on the websites Sci-Hub and LibGen which have made academic research-related information freely available to all. Academic research cannot flourish without the free flow of information between those who produce it and those who seek it, and we strongly oppose the contention of the lawsuit.
International publishers like Elsevier have created a business model where they treat knowledge created by academic research funded by taxpayers’ money as their private property. Those who produce this knowledge — the authors and reviewers of research papers — are not paid and yet these publishers make windfall profit of billions of dollars by selling subscriptions to libraries worldwide at exorbitantly inflated rates which most institutional libraries in India, and even developed countries, cannot afford. Without a subscription, a researcher has to pay between $30 and $50 to download each paper, which most individual Indian researchers cannot afford. Instead of facilitating the flow of research information, these companies are throttling it.
Alexandra Elbakyan of Kazakhstan has taken an effective and widely welcomed step by making research papers, book chapters and similar research-related information freely available through her website Sci-Hub. Libgen (Library Genesis) renders a similar service. We support their initiative which, we contend, does not violate any norm of ethics or intellectual property rights as the research papers are actually intellectual products of the authors and the institutions.
We strongly oppose any form of commoditization of research information that is a hindrance to the development of science and the humanities. In the interest of the advancement of knowledge, Sci-Hub and Libgen should be allowed to operate in India.”