ResearchGate Wins (& Loses) Scientific Publishers’ Copyright Lawsuit
In 2017, publishers Elsevier and American Chemical Society filed a copyright lawsuit against research sharing platform ResearchGate, claiming that 50 of their articles were made available without permission. A court in Germany has now prohibited ResearchGate from making those titles available but refused to award damages due to the plaintiffs’ failure to demonstrate acquisition rights.
ResearchGate is a social networking site aimed at the academic community. Its users, which currently number around 20 million, are able to upload content to the platform, which at times includes published research papers.
In September 2017 the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers (STM) wrote to ResearchGate on behalf of 140 publishers. The group said that in its opinion, the platform had a responsibility to address infringing content on its servers.
STM demanded that ResearchGate should implement a system to identify copyrighted content but the platform rejected the proposition. Five publishers – Elsevier, ACS, Brill, Wiley, and Wolters Kluwer – which form the Coalition for Responsible Sharing, reported that ResearchGate wanted publishers to send takedown notices so that infringing content could be removed.
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