One of the world’s largest science publishers, Elsevier, has received $15 million in damages in its copyright infringement lawsuit against Sci-Hub, the Library Genesis project and related sites. Sci-Hub operates out of Russia, using varying domain names and IP addresses.
Judge Robert W. Sweet of the U.S. District Court in New York found the defendants guilty on June 21 of willfully infringing Elsevier’s copyright behind various scholarly articles. Judge Sweet had previously issued a preliminary injunction against the defendants in 2015 after ruling that they had violated copyright laws, but the sites stayed active and continued to provide illegal access to articles.
In the absence of any representatives of the defendants, the court calculated the award based on a representative sample of 100 infringed works and ordered U.S. domain registries to suspend the defendants’ domain names.
In a statement, the Association of American Publishers (AAP) said that Sci-Hub had “illegally accessed the secure computer networks of a large number of major universities by, among other methods, hijacking ‘proxy’ credentials, and compromising some 51 million protected works”.
Maria Pallante, president and CEO of the AAP, backed the decision, arguing that the court had “not mistaken illegal activity for a public good”. Instead, she said the ruling had “recognized the defendant’s’ operation for the flagrant and sweeping infringement that it really is and affirmed the critical role of copyright law in furthering scientific research and public interest”.