Will Indian researchers lose free access to scientific papers?

“On December 21, 2020, academic publishers Elsevier Ltd, Wily Pvt Ltd, and the American Chemical Society sued websites SciHub and Library Genesis, also known as LibGen, for copyright infringement in the Delhi High Court, demanding that ISP providers permanently block them in India.

These websites are a primary source for researchers in India, making available for free thousands of otherwise paywalled research papers. Because, as SciHub notes, “Research should be free to read.” Having intellectual property restrictions in research throttle access to and flow of knowledge while science can only progress when it’s widely read and debated….

The first hearing occurred on December 24 last year where Elbakyan was told to give an undertaking that she would not upload any new paper on SciHub until the next hearing, which was set for January 6. In January, the undertaking was extended until the next hearing.

On September 5, SciHub published 23,37,229 paywalled research papers which had been held up because of the restriction imposed by the court, with Elbakyan claiming her undertaking had expired. The publishers soon filed an application accusing Elbakyan of contempt of the court’s initial order, and stated that Elbakyan was mistaken to assume the restriction had expired….”

The ‘Pirate Bay of Science’ Adds 2 Million New Journal Articles

“On September 5, 2011, the Sci-Hub was born. It’s a place where people can find scientific studies that are typically hidden behind expensive paywalls for free. The site is constantly under legal threat and only periodically uploads. On its tenth birthday, it did what it does best. Uploaded paywalled articles to a database where anyone can read them. “In honor of such a round date, two million have been added to the server today, namely 2,337,229 new articles,” neuroscientist turned scientific paper pirate Alexandra Elbakyan said in a blog post announcing the upload….

According to Elbakyan, most of the more than 2 million articles come from Netherlands based publisher Elsevier—which often leads the legal charge against Sci Hub—and international publisher Springer. There’s 398,548 articles about medicine, 184,598 about engineering, 171,929 about chemistry, and 7 dentistry articles….

When it is threatened, its users come together to back up the data. In May of this year, when it looked as if the site may go down, its users rallied to back up its 77 terabytes of data….”

Sci-Hub Celebrates 10 Year Anniversary By Uploading 2.3m New Articles * TorrentFreak

“Over the past decade, Sci-Hub has grown to become a formidable force. From very humble beginnings it today offers a staggering 87.97m research papers and serves up hundreds of thousands of them to visitors every day. These include many thousands of students but also scientist and academics, who regularly add Sci-Hub DOI links to their publications to make learning easier….

Yesterday Sci-Hub celebrated its 10th anniversary with an announcement from Alexandra on her personal Twitter account….

The publishing of more than 2.3m new research papers is perhaps the most fitting way to mark the celebrations but the fact they weren’t published sooner is a sign of how unrelenting legal action has affected the site’s ability to continue its work. In her tweet, Alexandra references a legal action that may yet prove an important milestone in the site’s history….”

Sci-Hub’s legal representation in India a first for the platform: Founder Alexandra Elbakyan

“Sci-Hub founder Alexandra Elbakyan said India has the highest number of users and winning the legal battle here can start a similar trend….

Elbakyan, during a session organised by the Indian National Young Academy of Science, a body of scientists, said that lawyers in India contacted the platform and voluntarily offered legal representation….”

[Publisher response to Internet Archive motion for discovery]

“Plaintiffs have produced a vast wealth of detailed sales and related financial data concerning the Works in Suit, totaling over 670,000 rows of data in Excel. Now, after the close of document discovery and on the eve of depositions, IA seeks to compel the production of “commercial performance data,” broken down by month, distribution channel, price and income, for all other books published by the Plaintiffs since 2011 – an undertaking that would involve a massive amount of data concerning more than 500,000 titles. And IA makes this extraordinary demand in order to rifle through an enormous reservoir of highly proprietary data concerning books that are not the Works in Suit, all in an effort to somehow select “for each work in suit, one or more comparable books that were not available for digital lending” on IA’s system. Dkt. 47, 2. In other words, because the significant financial data already provided concerning the Works in Suit apparently does not support IA’s theory on market harm, IA wants access to millions of data points concerning Plaintiffs’ entire book catalogues. IA argues it is entitled to do this in order to see if any evidence might exist to support the inherently incredible theory that copying entire books and distributing them to any member of the public worldwide upon demand does not compete with Plaintiffs’ sales of the same books. Even worse, IA’s quest rests on the palpably false theory that it can quantify the harm caused by its infringement by comparing the sales of completely different books. Books are not interchangeable widgets and marketplace performance is driven by countless indeterminate and changing facts. In short, Defendant’s letter motion should be denied because the enormous and costly burden to Plaintiffs far outweighs the negligible value (if any) of the evidence sought, especially given the lack of legally relevant results that it will yield and the delays it will cause to the case….”

Internet Archive motion to the court

“Pursuant to Local Civil Rule 37.2, Defendant Internet Archive respectfully requests a pre-motion discovery conference regarding a motion to compel the production of information regarding the commercial performance of books published by Plaintiffs. In the above-captioned lawsuit, Plaintiffs contend that the Internet Archive infringed Plaintiffs’ copyrights by the non-profit digital lending of library books. The Internet Archive maintains that the challenged lending constitutes fair use under 17 U.S.C. § 107. In considering fair use, one factor courts consider is “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.” Plaintiffs claim that the Internet Archive’s digital library lending has a negative effect on the market for or value of the works. The Internet Archive disagrees, and wishes to bring forward evidence showing that lending had little or no effect on the commercial performance of the books being lent, compared to books that were not lent….”

North Carolina invents math crimes against the state | Washington Examiner

“The math police told Nutt to keep his answers to himself. If he offers testimony that requires “engineering knowledge,” the state will bust him like a math outlaw because he lacks a professional engineering license — something he never needed during his career. Engineers at manufacturing firms such as DuPont have an exemption to the requirement….”

Supreme Court of Canada Reaffirms Public Access as a “Primary Goal of Copyright” – Internet Archive Blogs

“The Supreme Court of Canada has decided the much-anticipated York University v. Access Copyright case, reaffirming—in an unanimous opinion—that “public access to and dissemination of artistic and intellectual works” are “a primary goal of copyright.” We join our friends at the Canadian Association of Research Libraries, CIPPIC, and all throughout Canada in applauding this important decision.

The Access Copyright case was centered around the question whether educational institutions in Canada were required to pay certain tariffs to Access Copyright. Access Copyright had argued that its tariffs were mandatory for educational institutions, and recently attempted to raise them from $3.38 to $45 per student, per year, along with a variety of other changes. In response, York University argued that its use was fair dealing and, as a result, that it was not required to pay a tariff or any other fee for such use. After a lengthy court battle, the Supreme Court of Canada has now ruled in favor of York, holding that the tariffs are not mandatory and emphasizing the importance of “protect[ing] users from the potentially unfair exertion of . . . market power” by big copyright interests like Access Copyright….”

Sell This Book! | The Nation

“Corporate publishing wants to turn all readers into renters. We’re trying to stop them….

Libraries should pay only once for each copy of an ebook, as the Open Library did for the new Brick House book, so that they can lend it to their patrons forever, and nobody—no government, business, or regulatory body—will ever be able to stop them.”

A senseless lawsuit: “The Internet Archive has a heart, and knows how to use it” |

“When I heard about the lawsuit for copyright infringement launched on 1st June 2020 in the US by four major publishers (Hachette, Penguin Random House, Wiley, HarperCollins) against the Internet Archive for its Open Library, I couldn’t believe it. I thought this was a bad dream, that turned into a nightmare with the lawsuit scheduled for trial from 12 November 2021.

I briefly thought we were back in the 1990s, when publishers were fearing digital piracy and copyright infringement while threatening a few pioneers with lawsuits. But we are in 2021….

The Internet Archive has been here for 25 years. It knows about its trailblazing power to promote reading for all and education for all. The movement it has created is unstoppable. Why a lawsuit instead of a partnership?”

European High Court Says Online Platforms Are Not Liable for Copyright Infringement by Users if They Take Appropriate Measures – Pearl Cohen

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has held that operators of online platforms to which users post copyright-protected content are not liable for copyright infringement in such user-posted content if they meet certain conditions. First, they must not contribute to giving access to such content to the public in breach of copyright, beyond merely making those platforms available. Second, they must not play an active role that gives them knowledge of or control over the content posted.

Delhi HC Might Have Killed Intellectual Liberty

“In what may be a landmark case related to copyright law, Delhi HC ordered online article and book repositories Sci-Hub and Libgen to stop uploading material from thousands of journals controlled by Elsevier, Wiley India and American Chemical Society….”

Sci-hub and Alexandra Elbakyan

“Now there is one bright star that rose among the scientific world and scientific community in the  name of Alexandra Elbakyan to fight for the cause of this silent sacrificing community. No  arguments, no requests no email. She simply devised a method to download any scientific papers that  are published free of cost….”

Is the Pirate Queen of Scientific Publishing in Real Trouble This Time?

“The latest lawsuit, filed in India by three academic publishers, including Elsevier, asks the High Court of Delhi to block access to Sci-Hub throughout the country. While the case is pending, the court has instructed Sci-Hub to stop uploading papers to its database. The order is not unusual; what’s surprising is that Elbakyan has complied. She has a history of ignoring legal rulings, and the Indian court has no power over Sci-Hub’s activities in other countries. So why has she chosen, at this moment, to give in?

One reason is that Elbakyan believes she has a shot at winning the case, and her odds might improve if she plays by the rules. “I want the Indian court to finally support free access to science,” she said. If that happened, it would mark a significant victory for Sci-Hub, with reverberations likely beyond India. Victory remains a longshot, but Elbakyan thinks it’s worth the hassle and expense. She didn’t even bother to contest the two lawsuits in the United States….”

Coyle’s InFormation: Digitization Wars, Redux

“From 2004 to 2016 the book world (authors, publishers, libraries, and booksellers) was involved in the complex and legally fraught activities around Google’s book digitization project. Once known as “Google Book Search,” the company claimed that it was digitizing books to be able to provide search services across the print corpus, much as it provides search capabilities over texts and other media that are hosted throughout the Internet. 

Both the US Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers sued Google (both separately and together) for violation of copyright. These suits took a number of turns including proposals for settlements that were arcane in their complexity and that ultimately failed. Finally, in 2016 the legal question was decided: digitizing to create an index is fair use as long as only minor portions of the original text are shown to users in the form of context-specific snippets. 

We now have another question about book digitization: can books be digitized for the purpose of substituting remote lending in the place of the lending of a physical copy? This has been referred to as “Controlled Digital Lending (CDL),” a term developed by the Internet Archive for its online book lending services. The Archive has considerable experience with both digitization and providing online access to materials in various formats, and its Open Library site has been providing digital downloads of out of copyright books for more than a decade. Controlled digital lending applies solely to works that are presumed to be in copyright. …”