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Paper-Sharing Sites Told to Pay

A US court has ordered Sci-Hub and other paper-sharing sites to pay publisher Elsevier $15 million in damages for copyright infringement, Nature News reports.

Robert Sweet, a federal district judge in New York, had previously ruled in 2015 that sites like Sci-Hub and the Library of Genesis violated US copyright laws and issued an injunction. But, Nature News says, the sites continued to host free versions of science journal articles.

Elsevier's attorneys argued in court that the sites' "unlawful activities have caused and will continue to cause irreparable injury to Elsevier, its customers and the public." Nature News says that neither Elbakyan nor the other defendants or their legal representatives were present at the hearing.

It adds that as Elbakyan lives outside the court's jurisdiction and has no US assets, it's unlikely that Elsevier will see any of those damages or that sites like Sci-Hub will shutter.

"Sci-Hub is obviously illegal," Stephen Curry from Imperial College London tells Nature News. "But the fact that it is so immensely popular, inside and outside academia, is a symptom of many people's frustration with the status quo in academic publishing."