Court Orders Pirate Science Site to Shut Down
The US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia has ruled in favor of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in its fight against Sci-Hub, a pirate site for scientific papers. The court has issued a default judgment that grants all of the ACS’ requests, which includes monetary damages, an injunction that requires search engines, registrars, and hosting providers to block access to Sci-Hub, and a decree that Sci-Hub can no longer sell or promote any works registered to the ACS.
The case was originally brought against Sci-Hub in June. It was expected that the ACS would win, given that Alexandra Elbakyan, the site’s publisher, entered no defense, but the court’s decision to enforce blocked internet access to the site was a surprise to many. In speaking with The Scientist, a representative from the Electronic Frontier Foundation called the broad order “improper and dangerous.”
The site is currently hosted in Russia and registered to a domain in the Cocos Islands, so it’s unclear if its registrar will honor the court order. Even if it does, Sci-Hub will likely remain available as a Tor hidden service. As of publishing time, Sci-Hub is still online and operational.
This isn’t the first time Sci-Hub has been ordered to pay fines or shut down. Back in June, scientific publisher Elsevier won a similar default judgment against Sci-Hub, but Elbakyan repeatedly said she had no intention to pay. She told The Scientist earlier this year she has no intention to pay the damages awarded to the ACS as well.