Copyright infringement, on a large scale, happens in the public right under our noses, in the full light of the day and nothing can be done against it.
This is one specific example: Alexandra Elbakyan, a Kazakh neuro-technology researcher funded the Sci-Hub project: a web server where all science is available for free. Virtually, all scientific papers that have been published, which is about 48 million documents, are easily accessed with a simple search mask.
Yet, the owners of these copyrights are helpless.
Is this a new problem?
No. I have written about this issue before, in here.
The Sci-Hub site is accessible here:
Try it out by clicking on the links shown above. Very likely, you will be unable to access these sites from your country as your Internet provider has DNS-blocked them.
Wikipedia says the following about DNS blocking: "Domain Name System Blocking, or DNS Blocking is a strategy for making it difficult for users to locate specific domains or web sites on the Internet."
Can one still access Sci-Hub? If yes, how?
"Making it difficult" indicates that it is possible but not straightforward to access these sites, for example by doing as follows:
1. download the Tor browser here http://bit.ly/DownLoadTorBrowser
2. After installing the Tor browser on your computer, access the Sci-Hub project over the following Tor address: scihub22266oqcxt.onion
That bypasses the DNS-blocking.
Then, you can just type the title or some other keywords into the search bar and the website first searches for the article on LibGen (Library Genesis). If the article is there, enter the captcha. At times, you have to click on random Russian words. Usually, you have your article sitting right there.
If you require help, Youtube does have screencasts explaining how to work with Sci-Hub, here https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=sci-hub+access
The above is not meant for encouraging or promoting the infringement of copyright. I do not know of anybody who might be interested in downloading scientific articles, when patent publications are far more practical and available. These few lines are meant to update you with respect to the futile efforts of enforcing copyrights against those whom infringes copyright in the Internet.
Is this at all relevant for real life?
Yes. Take note that the commercial domain of scientific articles is a hot topic. Not only do publicly listed companies normally sell scientific articles for $30 (American Dollars) per article. There is a whole industry built around scientific articles that begins at the review boards of the scientific journals.
Academic researchers seek tenure or government research grants. The articles must be published in a peer-reviewed journal in order to tenure as a researcher or to obtain government research grants. Peer review is how control is maintained by academia over the definition of what constitutes an acceptable idea or discovery.
Not just protection of copyright, even this academic control of ideas and discoveries is going to be demised due to the fact that the Internet is destroying it.
Are Sci-Hub and LibGen singular events?
Not at all. The LibGen project is not the sole source for free scientific information. Try out Google Scholar https://scholar.google.com, whereby you can enter your search query and the website automatically tries a series of university proxies to bypass any paywall present.
There are still more tricks to gain access copyright protected scientific articles. The above ways are just a few of them, for demonstrating that fighting infringements of copyright protected written works has been made futile by the Internet.
Does the use of Sci-Hub and LibGen constitute a moral hazard?
If you are worried about the moral question, you may change your mind after checking out Sci-Hub\\'s webpage rank.
In America, Sci-Hub's page rank on Alexa.com is 3,500 (as of May 2017), up from 30,000 one year ago. It is not only a huge marketing success to bring up the click rate within such a short time, a page rank of anything less than 10,000 within America cannot be neglected. Libgen.io with 2,195 (up from 5,000 one year ago) and Sci-Hub.io 11,000 (up from 150,000 one year ago) have similar ranks, all in the United States.
This means nothing less than a big chunk of scientific copyright infringements using Sci-Hub and LibGen happens exactly in the nation that perceives itself to be the most advanced country in the world.
Now, do deliver your judgement. Does usage of Sci-Hub and LibGen leads to a moral hazard or simply did reality overtake wishful thinking?
A look into the future.
Will it easily be possible to assert Intellectual Property (IP) rights against articles, which are 3D-printed and made from a file on a USB thumb drive in one of millions of 3D print shops worldwide?
I do not think so because the Internet will likely wipe out copyright protection and a large part of other IP rights.
Verbum sapienti sat - a word to the wise is sufficient