They are called “pirate libraries,” but one would be better-served envisioning Robin Hood than Blackbeard. Atlas Obscura takes a look at these floaters of scientific-journal copyrights in, “The Rise of Pirate Libraries.” These are not physical libraries, but virtual ones, where researchers and other curious folks can study articles otherwise accessible only through expensive scientific journal paywalls. Reporter Sarah Laskow writes:
“The creators of these repositories are a small group who try to keep a low profile, since distributing copyrighted material in this way is illegal. Many of them are academics. The largest pirate libraries have come from Russia’s cultural orbit, but the documents they collect are used by people around the world, in countries both wealthy and poor. Pirate libraries have become so popular that in 2015, Elsevier, one of the largest academic publishers in America, went to court to try to shut down two of the most popular, Sci-Hub and Library Genesis.
ROBERT STEELE: I have tried to alert both Elsevier and Thomson Reuters to the possibilities over the years, and particularly in the past two years, but these companies are ethically and intellectually challenged. They really don’t “get” that making a fortune by screwing the 99% for access to the 1% of 1% of knowledge that they publish is very retarded as well as unsustainable. What they should be doing is using their cash flow to create the World Brain and make ten times more money via micro-cash payments at the paragraph level while also creating a crypto-currency that directly compensates authors, reviewers, and citers. It is time to bury the publishing industry (Jeff Bezos is brilliant at the packaging level, he refuses to listen to what he and all his developers were told in 2007, to wit, become the World Brain — see this Amazon movie of me speaking in Seattle. The CEOs of Elsevier and Thomson Reuters are not well-served by myopic staffs consumed with protecting the status quo and not showing their CEOs that there are options both profitable and productive. Sidenote: the companies about to pay billions for TR’s “intellectual property” would get much much more for their billions if they created a clean sheet World Brain that by-passed Elsevier and TR entirely.