Diego Gómez Hoyos is studying for a master’s degree in conservation and wildlife management. But his thirst for knowledge is also threatening his freedom.
The 26-year-old Colombian biologist faces up to 8 years in prison for posting a copy of another scientist’s thesis online. Colombia, like many other countries, grants strong protections to authors. In 2006, its law was revised to bring it into agreement with a free trade agreement with the United States, lengthening jail times and increasing fines.
“What worries our community is how a relationship of colleagues turned into a tremendous legal affair, with these horrible consequences,” writes Ángela Suárez-Mayorga of the University of the Andes in Bogotá, to ScienceInsider in an e-mail. “Nobody believes that Gómez should go to jail for sharing a document.”