07 September 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

Default judgement could cost Sci-Hub $4.8 million

US academic publisher the American Chemical Society (ACS) is demanding $4.8 million in damages from Sci-Hub owner Alexandra Elbakyan as part of its request for a default judgement in their copyright infringement dispute.

ACS filed a lawsuit in June, alleging that Elbakyan had made most of its catalogue of more than 150,000 research papers available on the Sci-Hub website illegally.

The society also claimed that Sci-Hub had cloned aspects of its website and committed trademark infringement and counterfeiting.

Elbakyan was made aware of the litigation, but didn’t respond, leading to ACS seeking a default judgement in the case.

According to open access peer review website PeerJ Preprints, Sci-Hub contains nearly 69 percent of all 81.6 million scholarly articles worldwide, which rises to 85 percent for those published in closed access journals.

ACS’s proposed order also includes an injunction preventing search engines, web hosts, internet service providers and domain registrars from facilitating access to Sci-Hub, as well as a demand that all domain registries for Sci-Hub place its domains on hold.

ACS said that Sci-Hub’s “unabashed flouting of US copyright laws merits a strong deterrent”.

In June, Elsevier was granted $15 million in damages from a copyright infringement lawsuit against Sci-Hub and the Library Genesis project.

The court calculated the award based on a representative sample of 100 infringed works and has forced US domain registries to suspend the defendant’s domain names.

Sci-Hub is reportedly shutting down operations in Russia after local scientists named a new parasitic insect after her.

The new species was found in Mexico and named ‘Idiogramma elbakyanae’.

In a public statement, Elbakyan said: “What I consider to be an extreme injustice: if you analyse the situation with scientific publications, the real parasites are scientific publishers, and Sci-Hub, on the contrary, fights for equal access to scientific information and makes a useful case.”

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