The Struggle over the Future of ’Pirate’ Libraries and Universal Access to Knowledge

A discussion with Balázs Bodó, Marcell Mars, Tomislav Medak and Femke Snelting

Elsevier, the largest academic publisher in the world, whose 37% profit margin benefits from the public funding of science and the free labor of scientists, has recently won an injunction allowing it to shut down the online libraries ScienceHub and Library Genesis.

In the aftermath of the shut-down an informal group of activists working on shadow libraries has issued a public call to everyone publishing their writing behind the backs of their publishers, circumventing pay-walls, sharing publications, maintaining repositories — custodians of knowledge commons — to mass civil disobedience. If we’re not to see our libraries get shut-down over and over again, we need to put an end to the endless ’pirate’ game of hide and seek, and do our acts deemed ’illegal’ in the public.

Balázs Bodó will provide insights from his research into the ’pirate’ libraries. Marcell Mars, Tomislav Medak and Femke Snelting present the letter and the next steps in the struggle for universal planetary access to knowledge.

@ Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart