In June of this year, the New York District Court sentenced the “pirated” Sci-Hub
website: according to it, Alexandra Elbakyan is obliged to pay $ 15 million to Elsevier Scientific Publishing House to compensate for the free publication of scientific articles on the Internet.
The Sci-Hub website distributes free articles from paid scientific journals. Russian universities and libraries are now paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to get legal access to these foreign publications.
Now the scientist and activist faces another large fine. She was sued (pdf) by the
American Chemical Society. A leading source of academic publications in the field of chemistry accuses the Russian-Kazakh activist in a massive copyright infringement. The amount of damage was calculated in the amount of $ 4.8 million. This figure was obtained by multiplying the number of “pirated” scientific articles from the sample (32 pieces) found by the maximum law compensation for the illegal distribution of each publication ($ 150,000).
The American Chemical Society notes that only a small sample of scientific articles whose distribution rights belong to this non-profit organization were tested for a lawsuit. Therefore, only 32 out of 9000 articles were presented to Alexandra, otherwise the amount of damage could have been much higher. If they had presented all 9,000 works, then the activist would have to pay 9,000 × 150000 = 1,350,000,000 dollars. Apparently, from the principles of humanism, the right holders decided not to present an amount of $ 1.35 billion. However, for Alexandra herself there is not much difference, forcing her to pay $ 4.8 million or $ 1.35 billion. In any case, she does not have that kind of money. The respondent herself did not appear at the court hearing and is currently hiding from American justice.
For the Sci-Hub website, the danger may be not so much a financial penalty, as other sanctions that the court may impose: it is the prohibition of Alexandre Elbakyan to work on the site, as well as a number of prohibitive measures against providers. In particular, “any search engines, web hosting services, Internet providers and domain name registrars” are instructed to “stop providing access to domain names and Sci-Hub websites”. That is, law-abiding search engines will have to remove Sci-Hub from the search index, and registrars will have to split the domain. Internet providers will be instructed to block access to this site.PS Since yesterday, Sci-Hub has blocked access for users from the Russian Federation in connection with the harassment , which some representatives of the Russian scientific community have organized in relation to Alexandra.