A victory in the fight against book piracy

Teddy McDonald

Teddy McDonald

Teddy works on SoA communications and outreach and alongside the Policy department on the SoA's campaigns work. He is also co-coordinator of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG).
Our response to the charges brought against the founders of Z-Library

We welcome the latest development in international efforts against book piracy. Following great work by the Publishers Association and the Authors Guild, the founders of e-book piracy website Z-Library, Anton Napolsky (33) and Valeria Ermakova (27), have been arrested in Argentina and charged by a United States court on counts of criminal copyright infringement, wire fraud and money laundering.

The library of more than 11 million e-books and 84 million articles has subsequently been taken offline from its approximately 249 web domains.

The arrest of the two Russian nationals follows a global operation that has profited from stolen intellectual property for more than a decade, in direct violation of copyright laws. The Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York have extended particular thanks to the Authors Guild in New York and the Publishers Association in London for their critical assistance in the case.

The development marks the demise of a network that attracted more than 175 million monthly visits from 165 countries – a significant breakthrough in the continuing fight against book piracy.

“We are greatly encouraged that such a huge operation as Z-Library has been taken down by law enforcement. This will be critical in protecting authors’ incomes all around the world, and facilitating new literature, which can’t be made without authors being paid for their work. Most encouragingly, this shows that publishing industry bodies, trade unions and law enforcement can work together to make meaningful inroads in the fight against internet book piracy, where there is still so much to be done.”

Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive of the Society of Authors

26 September 2023

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16 December 2022 13:49

I think it is too easy to see these arrests as a huge leap forward in terms of fighting book piracy, but I’m concerned, in the long term, this is nothing. I would like to be able to speak to Anton and Valeria to try to understand why they thought Z-Library was a good thing. It can be too easy to see everything these days as an evil plot coming out of Russia. Arresting two Russians seems to cement this idea. However, if they are guilty (and a fair trial has to establish that), there is a possibility that their… Read more »

Martin Reed
18 December 2022 09:08
Reply to  Helen

You’re quite right that this marks the closure of only one source of pirated books – there are and will be plenty more – and that there is a wider issue to be addressed of education about the impact of copyright infringement. However, the significance of the closure of Z-Library is its scale – it was a massive, well-established, highly organised network of distributed sites, quite unlike other downloads sites. Its closure will have a huge impact on the availability of pirated publications.

Jake Hillson
Jake Hillson
15 December 2022 22:51

Massive shame, students can’t afford every book and a wider reach of knowledge is always a good thing. People are going to find other ways of getting the books they need.

Alex Quaid
Alex Quaid
20 September 2023 18:55
Reply to  Jake Hillson

You’re obviously not someone who is trying to make a living from selling books. Average authors’ profits in the UK are less than £10,000 p.a. – and that includes subsidiary income, like school talks and festivals. If I spend a year writing a novel, how is it fair for someone to steal it for free?

Angela Paine
Angela Paine
15 December 2022 10:42

This is good. But can anything be done about AI scraping free content offered by authors to reformat into content for sale?

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