Arrested in Argentina, a Russian couple accused of being behind “the largest library of pirated ebooks in the world”

Bonnie and Clyde electronic literature version. US authorities have just seized the alleged founders of the Z-Library site. The latter made it possible to download pirated e-books worldwide for free. The site had closed overnight at the beginning of November, without further explanation.

Z-Library back on the deep web

The United States Department of Justice announced Wednesday, November 16 the arrest of two Russian nationals, Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova, presumably affiliated with the service. The couple were apprehended in Argentina on November 3. Both individuals are charged by federal authorities with criminal copyright infringement, wire fraud and money laundering.

As a result of this arrest, Z-Library’s services were taken offline. However, the site would soon be available again on the deep web, according to information from the site. Ars-Technica.

“The defendants illegally profited from the work they stole by downloading works, often only hours after publication, and thus penalizing authors, publishers and booksellers”said Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

A complaint filed in October

Z-Library had hosted more than 11 million books in digital format since 2009. Files could be downloaded in several formats to meet the demand of the site’s customers. According to American justice, no less than 249 interconnected domains were used to keep the site online.

“Crimes of intellectual property theft rob victims of both their ingenuity and their hard-earned income. The FBI is committed to ensuring that those willing to steal and profit from the creativity of others are caught and face consequences for their actions in the criminal justice system.”explained Michael J. Driscoll, deputy director of the FBI.

However, as our colleagues from The Verge, Z-Library had become over the years an essential resource for students who could not finance the purchase of university textbooks. The arrest of the site’s two founders comes after a complaint was filed last October by the Authors Guild, a group of writers supporting copyright protection.

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