MIAMI (CN) – A Brazilian couple is pirating dozens of scientific journals and reselling them all over the world, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and 10 other academic publishers claim in Federal Court.
Plaintiffs claim Rubens and Rosemeiri Valerio, of Sao Paolo, use mail drops and false names in Miami and Brooklyn to buy dozens of scientific journals, which they resell illegally.
Scientific publishers generally offer dual rates: cheaper, individual rates to subscribers who buy journals for their own use, and more expensive rates to institutions, such as universities and libraries, that make the journals available to the public.
Plaintiffs say the defendants abuse this by posing as individuals to buy the scientific and technical journals at the cheaper rates, then they undercut the publishers’ rates and resell the journals to universities and libraries.
The main vehicles the defendants use for this are their defendant businesses, Periodicals Publicacoes Tecnicas, of Brazil, and Subscription Services International, of Miami, the complaint states. The publishers also sued Hotline Inc., aka Hotlyne Communications, and its putative manager, Christopher Fellrath, all of Brooklyn, who allegedly serve as a mail drop for the Valerios’ scheme.
The plaintiffs cite several aliases the defendants used at multiple addresses to buy the journals at the cheap rates. Plaintiffs say the defendants’ Miami address is a vacant condo unit they use only as a mail drop. They claim Rubens Valerio has subscribed to more than 25 journals in his own name, illegitimately, for resale.
In addition to “Science,” the defendants are accused of pirating subscriptions to journals such as the “New England Journal of Medicine,” “Brain and Cognition,” the “Journal of Internal Medicine,” “Physics Today,” “Optometry,” “Chemical and Engineering News,” “Environmental Science and Technology,” the “Journal of Physical Chemistry,” “Educational and Psychological Measurement,” “Applied Linguistics,” the “Journal of Teacher Education,” and many others.
Plaintiffs demand punitive damages for fraud, theft, conspiracy, conversion, breach of contract, copyright violations, and unfair and deceptive business.
The AAAS publishes the journal “Science.” Joining it as plaintiffs are Wiley-Liss, Wiley Periodicals, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Sage Publications, the Massachusetts Medical Society, Oxford University Press, Blackwell Publishing, Elsevier, the American Chemical Society, and the American Institute of Physics.
Plaintiffs’ lead counsel in Federal Court is Michael Diaz Jr., with Diaz Reus & Targ.