There’s a battle taking place over the future of academic publishing, but the impact that battle will have on the world is anything but academic. The stakes are high, and there are real casualties.
Today and tomorrow, there’s an oral hearing taking place for Diego Gomez, a Colombian student being prosecuted for sharing another student’s Master’s thesis with colleagues over the Internet—something that thousands of researchers do every day. Diego faces the possibility of years in prison, thanks to the steep penalties for copyright infringement that Colombia implemented as part of a 2012 trade agreement with the United States.
EFF has long held that extreme criminal copyright rules chill people’s rights, especially in countries where copyright law doesn’t protect users’ freedom of speech through robust fair use exceptions.
Regardless of your opinion on copyright penalties, though, one thing is undebatable: if open access publishing were the global default, Diego wouldn’t be in court at all. Researchers shouldn’t risk severe penalties for sharing information. It’s time for publishing to change.
Together, we can make open access the standard for academic and scientific publishing worldwide. Join us as we stand with Diego.
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