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Téma: Sci-Hub: 'Pirate Bay of science' faces landmark ISP block over mass copyright charges

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    Sci-Hub: 'Pirate Bay of science' faces landmark ISP block over mass copyright charges

    American Chemical Society's default judgement motion gets seal of approval from Virginia judge.

    Embattled academic paper-sharing website Sci-Hub, commonly referred to as the "Pirate Bay of science", could soon be blocked in search results in the US after a magistrate judge agreed that the site is guilty of mass copyright infringement and counterfeiting.

    In a lawsuit filed in June in a Virginia court, the American Chemical Society (ACS) – one of the largest academic publishers in the US – alleged that Sci-Hub had illegally made the vast majority of its 150,000+ research papers freely available, and had cloned aspects of its own website and infringed upon ACS trademarks.

    ACS filed a default judgement motion last month after Sci-Hub's operator, Kazakhstani neuroscientist Alexanda Elbakyan, failed to respond to the allegations in court.

    As well as contending that Sci-Hub be held liable for $4.8m (?3.7m) in piracy damages, the injunction also determined that search engines and internet service providers (ISPs) in the US should block the site from view.

    It has now emerged that Virginia Magistrate Judge John Anderson has agreed to the order and has recommended that a broad injunction be implemented. The recommendation as noted in the court documents (via TorrentFreak) reads as follows:

    "... the undersigned recommends that it be ordered that any person or entity in privity with Sci-Hub and with notice of the injunction, including any Internet search engines, web hosting and Internet service providers, domain name registrars, and domain name registries, cease facilitating access to any or all domain names and websites through which Sci-Hub engages in unlawful access to, use, reproduction, and distribution of ACS's trademarks or copyrighted works."

    Unlike in the UK where pirate sites like The Pirate Bay have effectively been removed from the public eye through similar injunctions, the potential action against Sci-Hub would be one of the rare occasions where an ISP block has been implemented in the US. A final decision will be made by a US District Court Judge at a later date.

    The $4.8m in damages joins the $15m (?11.6m) academic publisher Elsevier successfully won in a case also leveled against Sci-Hub this year. That case was also settled with the defense in absentia, although Elsevier's request for a similarly permanent injunction against the site appears to have been unsuccessful in shutting it down for good.

    As Elbakyan resides in Russia, the absence of an extradition treaty between the US and Russia limits the chances of Elsevier and/or the ACS ever receiving any damages awarded by US courts.

    According to data analyst estimates, Sci-Hub hosts roughly two-thirds of the world's peer-reviewed academic papers for direct download via numerous domains using institutional proxies. Elbakyan envisioned the website as means for university students and researchers to bypass publisher paywalls.

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