The Bookseller – News – Academic publishers file copyright suit against LibGen citing ‘staggering’ infringement

“Five textbook publishers have filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against pirate site Library Genesis (LibGen) seeking for the operation to be shut down and the site’s domain names blocked.

LibGen is a pirate website that gives users free access to copyrighted works such as academic journal articles that would otherwise be paywalled or not digitised elsewhere. According to the complaint, the site attracts in excess of nine million visitors per month on average from the US alone. Its operators are anonymous….”

“Most notorious” illegal shadow library sued by textbook publishers [Updated] | Ars Technica

“Yesterday, some of the biggest textbook publishers sued Library Genesis, an illegal shadow library that publishers accused of “extensive violations of federal copyright law.”

Publishers suing include Cengage Learning, Macmillan Learning, McGraw Hill, and Pearson Education. They claimed that Library Genesis (aka Libgen) is operated by unknown individuals based outside the United States, who know that the shadow library is “one of the largest, most notorious, and far-reaching infringement operations in the world” and intentionally violate copyright laws with “absolutely no legal justification for what they do.”

According to publishers, Libgen offers free downloads for over 20,000 books that the publishers never authorized Libgen to distribute. They claimed that Libgen is “a massive piracy effort” and noted that their complaint may be updated if more infringed works are found. This vast infringement is causing publishers and authors serious financial and creative harm, publishers alleged….



This is not the first lawsuit to go after Libgen, and if history repeats, it likely won’t be the last. TorrentFreak reported that after the publisher Elsevier sued Libgen in 2015, a court ordered Libgen to shut down. But after briefly disappearing, Libgen popped back up and has been online ever since, operating in defiance of that order—as well as court orders “in several countries, including Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, and the United Kingdom,” publishers’ complaint filed yesterday said. Those countries even tried ordering “Internet service providers to block access to Libgen Sites as a result of infringement actions,” publishers said, all seemingly to no avail….”

Aaron Swartz and His Legacy of Internet Activism

“To build this future for our society, we need to adopt the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto to inverse the information asymmetry between citizens and Big Tech-Big Government. This can only happen if we build alternative networks of information infrastructures that support these ideas. These information networks can’t be built overnight, but we need to strive towards them. Sci-Hub and LibGen are some examples of these information infrastructures and not only do we need to support them, we need to build more of them.”

Anti-Piracy Group Warns of a Problematic Textbook Piracy Culture Among Students * TorrentFreak

“This week, a Danish court convicted a 26-year-old man for selling pirated digital copies of textbooks. The seller received a suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay damages. While this incident has been dealt with, anti-piracy group Rights Alliance signals a broader piracy habit among students that has rightsholders worried.

Free access to information is a broadly held ideal, but when students have to pay for their textbooks, it’s far from reality.

Getting a proper education certainly isn’t cheap. As a result, many students have found shortcuts in pirate sites such as Libgen and Z-Library….”

In the Shadow Library · LRB 14 December 2022

“Last month, Z-Library – one of the world’s most popular ‘shadow libraries’, or unlicensed eBook databases – was shut down by the FBI. Two of its alleged operators, both Russian nationals, were arrested in Argentina on behalf of the US authorities and charged with criminal copyright infringement. Z-Library, which archived 11 million books and 84 million articles, had a good claim to being the largest resource of its kind, and had managed to skirt serious legal action since it first emerged as a replica, or mirror, of Library Genesis (LibGen) in 2009.

After the arrests, most of the domains associated with Z-Library were overwritten by an FBI seizure notice, but the repository was still accessible via Tor and other anonymising browsers. A few days after the official indictment the remaining Z-Librarians realised a statement. They expressed regret at the arrests and apologised to any writers who had ‘suffered’ because of the site, but stuck to the principles that had guided its creation. ‘We believe,’ they wrote, ‘that the knowledge and cultural heritage of mankind should be accessible to all people around the world, regardless of their wealth, social status, nationality [or] citizenship.’ The democratisation of knowledge, they maintained, was Z-Library’s ‘only purpose’. They quoted a few lines from Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’, and went silent….”

‘Stop Congratulating Colleagues for Publishing in High-Impact Factor Journals’ – The Wire Science

The current scholarly publishing system is detrimental to the pursuit of knowledge and needs a radical shift. Publishers have already anticipated new trends and have tried to protect their profits.
Current publishers’ power stems from the historical roots of their journals – and researchers are looking for symbolic status in the eye of their peers by publishing in renowned journals.
To counter them effectively, we need to identify obstacles that researchers themselves might face. Journals still perform some useful tasks and it requires effort to devise working alternatives.
There have already been many attempts and partial successes to drive a new shift in scholarly publishing. Many of them should be further developed and generalised.
In this excerpt from a report prepared by the Basic Research Community for Physics, the authors discuss these successes and make recommendations to different actors….”

Elbow Patches to Eye Patches? Scholarly Practices, Research Literature Access, and Academic Piracy

“Participant criteria: If you meet these criteria and are interested in contributing to a better understanding of research literature acquisition, please consider filling out this consent form and intake survey to be a potential research study participant:

Self-identify as a scholar or researcher (e.g. teach, do research, and/or publish scholarship)
May or may not be affiliated with a higher education institute
Located in the United States or affiliated with an institution in the United States
Have used Sci-Hub, Library Genesis (LibGen), Reddit/Scholar, Twitter (#ICanHazPDF) or some other online space to access research literature that you used (or plan to use) to complete your own research….

The purpose of this study is to illuminate how scholars’ engagement with and acquisition of research literature on academic pirate networks may reflect their conception of their scholarly identity which may include considerations of alienation from, resistance to, or negotiation with demands of the neoliberal academy.

The phenomenographic study will address the following research question:  How do scholars explain their experiences in participating on academic pirate networks?…”

Open access is a case study for boosting research | The Financial Express

“On August 25, the US announced an open access policy to ensure free, immediate and equitable access to federally-funded research. Americans will now have free access to scholarly works, and by 2025, all federal agencies have to implement open access policies to ensure taxpayer-funded research is freely accessible to all citizens. India could follow this path, which may change the country’s higher education landscape and can be a vital tool for achieving SDG goals….

Thus, the price inelasticity of this monopolist market has been taken advantage of by selected commercial corporates (publishers) who do not produce or fund the research but use it as a raw material for commerce. Serial crisis also gave rise to shadow libraries like Library Genesis, Z-Library and Sci-Hub….

Since most research is funded by the government with taxpayers’ money—meaning the citizens indirectly fund it—the citizens therefore have the right to access the research output. OA can improve the verifiability and credibility of research output and taxpayers can also see the impact of the research they have funded….

Recently, India promised a ‘one nation, one subscription’ (ONOS) policy to get subscriptions for all citizens of major research work published globally, a step up from the existing subscription policy through the central library consortium e-ShodhSindhu. ONOS can be a prolific policy but whether it can address the issue of serial crisis is still a question….”

Institute of Network Cultures | Christopher Kelty: The Internet We Could Have Had

“And “openness” today has become boring but essential to the massive economy of social media, which has monetized engagement based on the use of open source software and a sophisticated system of data tracking and transaction processing. Today “openness” is more likely to be experienced as part of the neoliberal managerial borg than it is the more radical liberation of knowledge for the people. Today, libgen and scihub are the open access we could have had. …

There were many who would have liked to make the internet more like the dreams of Ted Nelson or Douglas Engelbart, many who would build the Victorian Web or the Perseus Digital Library of ancient Greek and Roman texts. The internet would be epochal like the printing press and the invention of writing; it was the end of the book, as no shortage of breathless books was paradoxically announced. In the 1990s, we talked about how, once upon a time, the internet was a military project run by ARPA, but now that the National Science Foundation was in charge, it would be instead the culmination of Vannevar Bush’s imagination of the Memex, organizing the world’s knowledge for all to access and navigate, like a vast memory palace. …

But even this capitalism enthusiasm was tempered by the many things the internet still could have been. Even doused in lubricant, it was still an artistic medium, a hive mind, a multiplayer game, a playing field leveller, and a destroyer of old Idols, whether of the market, the university or the government. The internet we could have had was a haven for hackers and activists, legal scholars and (digital) anthropologists, net.artists and music pirates, cultural critics and journalists, meme-makers and Anonymous….”

Sci-Hub: The Largest Scientific Papers Library and Alternatives

“Sci-Hub is a library of scientific papers and journals that anyone can access for free. The site contains over 64 million papers from over 24,000 journals, making it one of the largest scientific libraries in the world. Anyone can search for and download papers from Sci-Hub, without needing a subscription or login. This makes it an invaluable resource for students and researchers who would otherwise have difficulty accessing this information. While some publishers have raised concerns about copyright infringement, Sci-Hub provides a valuable service by making knowledge more accessible to everyone.

The best alternative is Library Genesis, which is free. Other great sites and apps similar to Sci-Hub are Z-Library, Project Gutenberg, and Ebook3000.

Sci-Hub alternatives are mainly eBook Libraries but may also be Torrent Search Engines or Paywall Remover Tools….”

Lessons from the Library: Extreme Minimalist Scaling at Pirate Ebook Platforms

Abstract:  At 33TB of data in its main collection, the highly illegal Library Genesis project is one of the largest repositories of copyright-violating educational ebooks ever created. Established over a decade ago in 2008, the goal of Library Genesis is nothing short of a modern Library of Alexandria, albeit without anyone’s legal sanction. As one of its administrators wrote: “within decades, generations of people everywhere in the world will grow up with access to the best scientific texts of all time. […] [T]he quality and accessibility of education to the poor will grow dramatically too. Frankly, I see this as the only way to naturally improve mankind: we need to make all the information available to them at any time” [Bodó 2018b]. Rooted in its homeland’s Russian communist principles and particularly the Soviet isolationist copyright policies of the twentieth century, Library Genesis is a formidable resource and threat to conventional academic publishers.

The Library Genesis database had just short of 1.2m records (books) in 2014 [Bodó 2018a]. As of January 2020, this capacity has doubled to 2.5m books. In this article, I examine the minimal computational design choices taken by this maximal-in-intent, illicit archive of epistemological dissent and how such decisions have shaped the scalability and growth of the platform. This includes Library Genesis’s numerical subdivision of record identifiers into “buckets” to work around directory file limitations in the GNU/Linux operating system; its use of md5 hashing of filenames within directories capped at 1,000 files to avoid future hashing collisions while allowing for on-disk integrity checking; and its use of the MySQL socket/network server as opposed to SQLite or similar disk-based database.

Beyond these computational details, though, the theoretical tension that this article highlights is the path dependencies that are set in (illegal) computational projects that have goals of absolute abundance and maximalist capacity, and the minimalist design principles that they must instigate at the outset to ensure a degree of scalability. I also query the ways in which the project’s contested mission statements target an economic (geographic) audience demographic with only minimalist access to high-capacity computing resources. I finally examine the limits on scalability of the distribution of the Library Genesis through its torrent archive and other distributed networking technologies such as IPFS, which despite their promise of peer-to-peer redundancy fall down on an archive of this size.

Sci-Hub, Libgen case needs CCI attention | Deccan Herald

“There are no slam dunk legal provisions that can change the situation. Several creative legal and policy arguments have been proposed – from fair dealing rights, amendments to compulsory licensing provisions to better government funding. The publishers too have very strong arguments to support their case of copyright infringement. The legal battle between the ‘greedy’ publishers and the ‘rouge’ websites has been going on for more than a year. While legal clarity on the copyright front will take its own time, a significant regulator that should take interest in this vital market is the Competition Commission of India (CCI)….”


Who Owns Scientific Knowledge? | OpenMind Magazine

“When legality trumps ethics it is society’s loss. A court case in India, pitting the upstart pirate websites Sci-Hub and Libgen (Library Genesis) against the global giants of peer-reviewed publishing, should help decide a critical issue: whether scientific information should be available only for a fee, or available free to citizens who are already funding it with their tax money and to the rest of the world….

Piracy is not a moral failure, Liang says; it is a market failure. You can’t stop piracy through legal decisions or technological control. “The only way that you can win over piracy is through market correction.” ”