Two Russians Charged By DoJ Over ‘Massive eBook Piracy Website’

Department of Justice charges two Russian nationals over Z-Library, that for a decade offered free downloads of copyrighted ebooks

Two Russian nationals are facing a potential prison sentence in the United States after they were arrested by Argentina after a US request.

Last week the US Department of Justice announced it had charged “Russian nationals Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova with criminal copyright infringement, wire fraud and money laundering for operating Z-Library, an online ebook piracy website.”

At the same same time, Z-Library’s network of online domains was also taken offline and seized by the US government.

Russians arrested

The pair, both from St. Petersburg Russia, are alleged to have operated Z-Library for the best part of a decade.

“As alleged, the defendants profited illegally off work they stole, often uploading works within mere hours of publication, and in the process victimized authors, publishers and booksellers,” stated Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

“The defendants are alleged to have operated a website for over a decade whose central purpose was providing stolen intellectual property, in violation of copyright laws,” added Michael J. Driscoll, assistant director-in-charge, New York Field Office (FBI).

“Intellectual property theft crimes deprive their victims of both ingenuity and hard-earned revenue,” said Driscoll. “The FBI is determined to ensure those willing to steal and profit from the creativity of others are stopped and made to face the consequences in the criminal justice system.”

Z-Library had touted itself as “the world’s largest library” and claimed to offer more than 11 million e-books for download.

It had been active since 2009 and offered ebook files in a variety of file formats, stripped of their copyright protections.

It encourage users to upload and download titles.

Online domains

According to the DoJ, many of the e-books offered by Z-Library are protected intellectual property for which authors hold copyrights and publishers hold exclusive distribution rights, and which Z-Library has no right or license to distribute, and which are available elsewhere only with anti-circumvention measures applied.

In addition to its homepage, Z-Library operated as a complex network of approximately 249 interrelated web domains. As part of this action, those domains were taken offline and seized by the US government.

The FBI thanked Argentine authorities for their assistance in the capture of Napolsky and Ermakova.