Reporter | Li Chenyang Xu Keying Editor | He Tao
On May 13, China Science News learned from Professor Zhao Dexin that CNKI came to apologize on the afternoon of the 12th, expressing his willingness to re-list his and his wife Zhou Xiuluan’s thesis works.
Zhao Dexin told China Science News that after their husband and wife sued CNKI for infringement, the latter not only removed their works involved in the case, but also all works that were not involved in the lawsuit.
He took the initiative to ask CNKI to restore these works, but the other party kept ignoring them. It wasn’t until the wife won the case that they got their response in recent days.
“They want us to issue a power of attorney for the works to be put on the shelves first. But according to the lawyer’s suggestion, we will sign the relevant agreement after careful consideration and sufficient sincerity on the premise of both parties.” Zhao Dexin said.
About a week ago, the China Judgment Documents Network published 10 documents made by the Beijing Intellectual Property Court against the Electronic Magazines Co., Ltd. (the organizer of CNKI) and Zhou Xiuluan for infringing the work information network. The civil judgment of the second instance in the case of dispute over the right of communication. The court ruled that CNKI had infringed on four academic papers written by Zhou Xiuluan, compensated Zhou Xiuluan for the corresponding economic losses, and rejected CNKI’s entire appeal.
Zhou Xiulan, who won 10 lawsuits in one go, is the wife of Zhao Dexin, the “hard-core old man” who single-handedly pushed CNKI into the whirlpool of public opinion last year. It is reported that the academic couple are both retired professors of Zhongnan University of Economics and Law. Zhao Dexin is 90 years old this year, and Zhou Xiuluan is 93 years old.
At the end of 2021, Zhao Dexin sued CNKI for infringement, causing an uproar. He accused CNKI of reprinting more than 100 of his papers without his authorization, and never paid any manuscript fees, and even the authors had to pay for downloading their own papers. In the end, the court ruled that Zhao Dexin won the case and was awarded a total of more than 700,000 yuan in economic losses. However, after the two seniors won the case, CNKI removed their full-deployment papers respectively.
Recently, CNKI’s attitude seems to have changed, sending staff to apologize and claiming that they hope to get the legal authorization letter from Er Lao as soon as possible, so that their signed papers can be put on the shelves again.
Because of Professor Zhou Xiulan’s hearing loss, Professor Zhao Dexin accepted an interview with China Science Journal on the matter on behalf of the couple.
Photo courtesy of the interviewees of Zhao Dexin and Zhou Xiuluan
“Chinese Journal of Science”: In the judgment published recently on China Judgment Documents Online, a batch of papers involved in the case were completed by two professors, Zhao Dexin and Zhou Xiuluan. Why did you choose to give up a series of substantive rights to claim your works in this lawsuit and sue in the name of Teacher Zhou?
Professor Zhou Xiuluan and I are a husband and wife, with the same major, and have been working in the same unit for a long time, so many academic achievements are completed by our cooperation.
We decided to sue in her name, on the one hand to show my respect for her, and on the other hand for “technical” considerations. The Internet Court stipulates that each lawsuit cannot exceed 4 articles. My articles are a little more, and hers are a little less. In order to shorten the litigation process, we put the articles that the two of us cooperated on to sue her.
At first, Teacher Zhou didn’t really understand. Persuade me, saying that we are all old, not short of money, and worried about my body. I told her that it was not a question of money, but a question of “rights” and safeguarding their rights. She understood, and she supported me afterwards.
In a handwritten letter to the reporter of “Changjiang Daily”, Professor Zhou Xiuluan expounded his original intention of defending his rights
“Chinese Journal of Science”:Will this act of removing the author’s works from the shelves once a litigation dispute is involved will hinder the rights protection of many people?
yes. I have such an example around me. Many of my articles were co-authored. At that time, some collaborators expressed their unwillingness to authorize me to file a lawsuit. The reasons can be summarized as “three fears”: first, they were afraid that CNKI would remove his articles from the shelves; second, I am afraid that the newly published articles will not be included in HowNet; third, I am afraid that even the journals will no longer include his articles. Because many journals also cooperate with CNKI, I have received a phone call from the editor-in-chief of the journal. They want me to withdraw the lawsuit and not inform the website.
Several of us are retired, and many of the papers have been circulating for decades, and colleagues know where to get them. But for young researchers, the above-mentioned problems cannot be ignored.
“Chinese Journal of Science”:At present, the two teachers have basically won all the lawsuits with CNKI. Do you have any other lawsuits going on?
Our lawsuit with CNKI is not over yet. And in addition to the thesis, there is a very important case.
As early as 2006, CNKI signed a contract with me to make the Chinese Economic History Dictionary into an electronic version. The contract stipulated that if a user paid to download the Dictionary or its entries, they would give me a part of the money, and each entry would be paid to me. Probably about a 3 cents or so. The contract clearly stated a collection account, but on this account I never received a cent. We recently confirmed that this account is still functioning normally.
So where did the money go? I specifically went to inquire about this issue, only to find out that CNKI used my name to create a private bank account without my consent, and also faked my signature.
This matter has violated the criminal law, and I have already appointed a lawyer to file a lawsuit.
“Chinese Journal of Science”:How much have you and your wife been compensated for winning the lawsuit against CNKI?
My side is more than 700,000, and Mr. Zhou’s side is probably less than 100,000.
“Chinese Journal of Science”:Are you mainly targeting CNKI rights protection? Or are other academic sites and other platforms involved?
Not against CNKI, but I also sued Beijing Wanfang and others. Everyone is staring at the CNKI case because CNKI has the greatest influence.
It can be seen that in China, this kind of infringement of academic works transmitted online is a relatively common phenomenon.
“Chinese Journal of Science”:What is the ideal result expected by the two teachers for this series of rights protection work carried out by CNKI?
Our wish is definitely not to let CNKI collapse. I do not want such a situation where one academic journal website dominates, and I hope to build and manage a knowledge platform in accordance with the principles of the socialist market economy. You use the author’s article, you should pay a certain amount of remuneration. Correspondingly, users who download articles from your website should also pay a certain fee. However, the profit obtained by the platform should be in line with national policies, and there should not be the current phenomenon of huge profits, two ends, and constant price increases.
“Chinese Journal of Science”:HowNet has renegotiated with the two teachers about the release of the works. Are you satisfied with the result?
HowNet staff told me that they had a new leader, and my feeling is that the new person has a new attitude. But whether the sincerity of the other party is enough, we will still carefully observe.
Is it legal for CNKI to take down papers after losing the lawsuit? This is a common concern of the academic community. In this regard, China Science News interviewed lawyer Li Weimin, director of Beijing Weibo Law Firm, and asked him to answer from a legal perspective.
“Chinese Journal of Science”:What are the so-called “infringing acts” in the judgment? Does CNKI’s removal of the plaintiff’s work counts as further infringement?
The agreements between CNKI and the relevant magazines are not sufficient to prove that the magazine has obtained legal authorization from the author, nor is it sufficient to prove that CNKI has obtained the author’s legal authorization through the magazine. Authorized by the journal, but not authorized by the author of a single article in the journal.
Therefore, CNKI provided downloading and reading services of the works involved to the unspecified public through various ports of CNKI operated by CNKI without obtaining the author’s permission, which infringed the right holder’s right to disseminate information on the works involved and should be liable for infringement compensation. responsibility.
In practice, once the infringement of a general website is established, it is necessary to stop the infringement and take it off the shelf. But HowNet is special. According to its official website, CNKI currently has 27,000 institutional users in more than 50 countries and regions around the world, and the total number of downloaded documents reaches 2 billion per year. , primary and secondary schools and rural areas, of which college users cover 76% of the world’s top 500 universities. An absolute monopoly of academic resources has been formed. Therefore, from the perspective of anti-monopoly law, CNKI directly refused to engage in commercial transactions, and removed the works after losing the lawsuit, which violated the rights of the authors.