According to Beijing Chaoyang People's Court, 480 academics have sued Wanfang Data, an Internet information contents provider in China, for illegally including their dissertations in Wanfang's data resource system and its dissertation database called Dissertations of China.
This has been the third lawsuit targeted at Wanfang Data in addition to the two that happened in June 2008.
The 480 academics say in the indictment that these dissertations, which are completed by them independently, have not been published yet. However, Wanfang Data made these dissertations into electronic versions and put them in its data resource system and Dissertations of China without the authorizations of the writers. The company reaps high profits by selling its system to libraries and offering online browsing and downloading services. The behavior of Wanfang Data has violated their copyrights, they say. Therefore, they require Wanfang Data to make a public apology and compensate their economic losses and emotional distress.
The demanded compensation amount is reportedly about CNY7,000 for each person, so the company may face a total compensation of CNY3.5 million in the three lawsuits.