Russian Duo Indicted Over E-Book Piracy

A Russian couple have been indicted for allegedly running one of the world’s biggest e-book piracy websites.

Anton Napolsky, 33, and Valeriia Ermakova, 27, both of St Petersburg, were arrested on November 3 in Cordoba, Argentina at the request of the US authorities, according to the Department of Justice (DoJ).

It’s claimed they ran Z-Library – the self-styled “world’s largest library,” containing 11 million e-books for download.

Online since 2009, the site offered e-books in various file formats stripped of copyright protections, in violation of US law. It also encouraged users to upload their own titles.

According to court documents, the Z-Library also operated a complex network of 249 linked web domains, all of which have now been taken offline and seized by the US authorities. 

“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,” said FBI assistant director-in-charge, Michael Driscoll.

“Intellectual property theft crimes deprive their victims of both ingenuity and hard-earned revenue. 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.”

The Russian duo have been charged not only with criminal copyright infringement, but also wire fraud and money laundering, which can carry lengthy sentences in the US.

“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,” said US attorney Breon Peace.

“This office is committed to protecting the intellectual property rights that enable creative and artistic expression, and holding individuals accountable for threatening those rights.”

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