A commentary on Sci-Hub: 3/n Legal aspects | petermr's blog
"It’s impossible to discuss Sci-Hub without discussing legal aspects. Unfortunately these are complex and highly varied, so it is impossible to give simple clear answers. On one hand many claim that this is a criminal (or near criminal) activity and She-who-must-not-be-named should be incarcerated or worse; others including Aleksandra herself claim that what she is doing is her (and our) right and is therefore not illegal. Now I am not a lawyer (IANAL) but I have talked to lawyers about this and talked to legal academics and talked with people who are authorities and … and PLEASE correct anything I get wrong and ... The simple answer is that no-one can give a definite answer about the law. And I will deliberately try to avoid giving anything definite. A competent lawyer will advise about the risks and the client has to decide whether they are worth taking. Then there are many laws involved. And many jurisdictions. What is illegal in US might not be illegal on some Pacific islands or even in Kazahkstan. And copyright alone is fiendishly complicated. Criminal as well as civil law may be involved. It’s not just about copyright. It’s also potentially about The US Computer_Fraud_and_Abuse_Act . That’s the Act under which Aaron Swartz was indicated - a criminal, not a civil case. That means Aaron could have been sent to jail - and there were demands for a 35-year sentence… for downloading academic articles. And most relevantly, incitement to break the law is, in itself, a crime in many jurisdictions. I have been advised that those who support Sci-Hub and urge its use could be prosecuted for this incitement and could be jailed ..."