Colombian biologist cleared of criminal charges for posting another scientist’s thesis online : Nature News & Comment
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"In 2011, Gómez, then at the University of Quindío in Armenia, Colombia, uploaded a scientist’s 2006 thesis on amphibian taxonomy on the document-sharing network Scribd, hoping to help fellow students with their fieldwork. But two years later, he was notified that the author of the thesis was suing him.
Gómez says that he removed the document immediately, but he was still accused of violating copyright. And according to Colombia’s laws, these charges were criminal in nature and punishable by up to eight years in jail. (The country’s law was reformed in 2006 to meet the stringent copyright protection requirements of a free-trade agreement signed with the United States. Yet, although the United States has few criminal penalties for copyright infringement, Colombia allows for only a few exceptions.)
The Karisma Foundation, a Colombian human-rights organization, took up Gómez’s case, and launched the campaign ‘Sharing is not a crime’ in support of him. And Gómez’s lawyer tried — unsuccessfully — to settle the case as the trial dragged on. The whole case seemed 'out of proportion in a rather grotesque way', says Barend Mons, a molecular biologist at the Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands who is involved with the European Open Science Cloud, a data-sharing initiative.
With Gómez cleared of the charge, 'finally justice has been done', says Michael Carroll, who directs the Program on Information Justice and Intellectual Property at the American University in Washington DC. 'This should have never been treated as a criminal matter. It’s still evidence of a broken system when a situation like this has been treated as a criminal case and has gone on so long,' he says."