Colombian biologist cleared of criminal charges for posting another scientist's thesis online

Source: Nature

A Colombian biologist who faced a criminal trial for posting another scientist’s thesis online has been cleared of copyright violation — an offence that, under Colombian law, might have brought him a jail sentence. Diego Gómez Hoyos was handed down his ‘not guilty’ verdict on 24 May by a judge in Bogotá, although the prosecutor in the case has appealed the decision.

"I have been cleared. I am innocent," a delighted Gómez said after the verdict. "When I received the news, after four years with so much uncertainty, which is an obstacle in personal and professional life, that was a great happiness. However, knowing that the prosecutor appealed brings uncertainty back."

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.