Aaron Swartz and His Legacy of Internet Activism

“To build this future for our society, we need to adopt the Guerilla Open Access Manifesto to inverse the information asymmetry between citizens and Big Tech-Big Government. This can only happen if we build alternative networks of information infrastructures that support these ideas. These information networks can’t be built overnight, but we need to strive towards them. Sci-Hub and LibGen are some examples of these information infrastructures and not only do we need to support them, we need to build more of them.”

Anti-Piracy Group Warns of a Problematic Textbook Piracy Culture Among Students * TorrentFreak

“This week, a Danish court convicted a 26-year-old man for selling pirated digital copies of textbooks. The seller received a suspended jail sentence and was ordered to pay damages. While this incident has been dealt with, anti-piracy group Rights Alliance signals a broader piracy habit among students that has rightsholders worried.

Free access to information is a broadly held ideal, but when students have to pay for their textbooks, it’s far from reality.

Getting a proper education certainly isn’t cheap. As a result, many students have found shortcuts in pirate sites such as Libgen and Z-Library….”

Zlibrary’s demise and its consequence – how things stand at the moment – Good e-Reader

“Zlibrary is no more. At least, the law enforcement agencies did their bit to make this claim. That includes taking down more than 200 domain names related to the site. The Russian duo who operated the site have been booked too. No doubt that’s a major victory achieved against those who distribute copyrighted material but the final battle is far from being won. That’s primarily because there is no dearth of those who have been openly championing Zlibrary and their modus operandi, that of making available essential books to the masses for free….

As for Zlibrary, it continues to be online and offers e-books to download for free as usual. However, that is via its darknet site on the Tor network. The IPFS version of Z-Library too continues to be functional. However, it will require some additional technical know-how to access either website. Apart from this, there are also reports of a particular site, 1lib.to that provides access to the original Zlibrary site as usual. However, the access seems to be limited to the original account holders, mods, or those who donated to the older site.”

Jumping over the paywall: Strategies and motivations for scholarly piracy and other alternatives

Abstract:  Despite the advance of the Open Access (OA) movement, most scholarly production can only be accessed through a paywall. We conduct an international survey among researchers (N=3,304) to measure the willingness and motivations to use (or not use) scholarly piracy sites, and other alternatives to overcome a paywall such as paying with their own money, institutional loans, just reading the abstract, asking the corresponding author for a copy of the document, asking a colleague to get the document for them, or searching for an OA version of the paper. We also explore differences in terms of age, professional position, country income level, discipline, and commitment to OA. The results show that researchers most frequently look for OA versions of the documents. However, more than 50% of the participants have used a scholarly piracy site at least once. This is less common in high-income countries, and among older and better-established scholars. Regarding disciplines, such services were less used in Life & Health Sciences and Social Sciences. Those who have never used a pirate library highlighted ethical and legal objections or pointed out that they were not aware of the existence of such libraries.


In the Shadow Library · LRB 14 December 2022

“Last month, Z-Library – one of the world’s most popular ‘shadow libraries’, or unlicensed eBook databases – was shut down by the FBI. Two of its alleged operators, both Russian nationals, were arrested in Argentina on behalf of the US authorities and charged with criminal copyright infringement. Z-Library, which archived 11 million books and 84 million articles, had a good claim to being the largest resource of its kind, and had managed to skirt serious legal action since it first emerged as a replica, or mirror, of Library Genesis (LibGen) in 2009.

After the arrests, most of the domains associated with Z-Library were overwritten by an FBI seizure notice, but the repository was still accessible via Tor and other anonymising browsers. A few days after the official indictment the remaining Z-Librarians realised a statement. They expressed regret at the arrests and apologised to any writers who had ‘suffered’ because of the site, but stuck to the principles that had guided its creation. ‘We believe,’ they wrote, ‘that the knowledge and cultural heritage of mankind should be accessible to all people around the world, regardless of their wealth, social status, nationality [or] citizenship.’ The democratisation of knowledge, they maintained, was Z-Library’s ‘only purpose’. They quoted a few lines from Queen’s ‘The Show Must Go On’, and went silent….”

How Google and Amazon helped the FBI to successfully track the Russian owners of Z-Library – Good e-Reader

“Behind-the-scenes information is slowly pouring out as to what really happened as the cops closed in on Z-Library and eventually took it down. As TorrentFreak reported, active co-operation from companies like Google and Amazon helped the FBI in tracking the activities of the company as well as its Russian owners. Also, from what the investigators revealed, tracking down the owners of what came to be known as the world’s largest digital library proved to be much simpler than they might have thought.

The FBI, armed with search warrants aimed at Google and Amazon found it relatively easy to unravel the truth given how, as the investigators soon got to know, the need to secure their identity never seemed to be the top priority for the owners Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova. Both have since been arrested from Argentina and chances are that they will be deported to the US for further investigation….”

FBI takeover Zlibrary BookTok Erupted – The Washington Post

“The FBI’s takedown of Z-Library, one of the world’s largest repositories of pirated books and academic papers, this month set ablaze the subset of TikTok devoted to discussing books and authors, said Lexi Hardesty, a BookTok content creator….

The FBI revealed Wednesday that two Russian nationals, Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova, have been charged with criminal copyright infringement, wire fraud and money laundering for operating Z-Library….”

Feds arrest Russians with alleged ties to pirated ebook site Z-Library – The Verge

“Federal law enforcement arrested and charged two Russian individuals with criminal copyright infringement over their alleged involvement with the pirated ebook Z-Library. Z-Library, which has been around since 2009, billed itself as the “world’s largest ebook library” before the US government shut down the site earlier this month.

According to the Department of Justice, the pair in question, Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova, were arrested in Argentina at the request of the US government on November 3rd. In addition to criminal copyright infringement, the two are also facing charges of money laundering and wire fraud. The US government shut down and seized the domains associated with Z-Library at the time of their arrest, but, as noted by Ars Technica, some users are still able to access the site on the dark web….”

FBI takeover Zlibrary BookTok Erupted – The Washington Post

“The FBI’s takedown of Z-Library, one of the world’s largest repositories of pirated books and academic papers, this month set ablaze the subset of TikTok devoted to discussing books and authors, said Lexi Hardesty, a BookTok content creator….

The FBI revealed Wednesday that two Russian nationals, Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova, have been charged with criminal copyright infringement, wire fraud and money laundering for operating Z-Library….”

Two Russian Nationals Charged with Running Massive E-Book Piracy Website | USAO-EDNY | Department of Justice

“Earlier today, in federal court in Brooklyn, an indictment and a complaint were unsealed charging Russian nationals Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova with criminal copyright infringement, wire fraud and money laundering for operating Z-Library, an online e-book piracy website.  The pair was arrested on November 3, 2022 in Cordoba, Argentina at the request of the United States.  At the same time, Z-Library’s network of online domains was also taken offline and seized by the U.S. government, pursuant to a court order that was also unsealed today….”

Feds arrest Russians accused of running the largest pirated e-book library | Ars Technica

“Last month, the alleged masterminds behind Z-Library—an e-book pirate site that claims to be “the world’s largest library”—were arrested. According to a press release yesterday from the US Department of Justice, Russian nationals Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova have been charged with “criminal copyright infringement, wire fraud and money laundering for operating Z-Library.”

“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,” Breon Peace, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

At the request of the US government, Napolsky and Ermakova were arrested in Argentina on November 3. On the same day, the US government seized “a complex network of approximately 249 interrelated web domains,” the press release said. For many less web-savvy users, the domain seizure essentially shut down access to Z-Library’s 11 million e-books, but anyone on the dark web knows it’s still up and running—suggesting that while arresting Napolsky and Ermakova has stifled Z-Library, it has not shuttered it, and it could come back….”

Feds charge Russians linked to the ‘world’s largest’ pirated e-book library | Engadget

“US law enforcement isn’t just interested in shutting down video pirates. The feds have charged two Russian nationals, Anton Napolsky and Valeriia Ermakova, for allegedly running the pirate e-book repository Z-Library. The site was billed as the “world’s largest library” and held over 11 million titles, many of which were bootleg versions stripped of copyright protections.

The pair was arrested in Cordoba, Argentina at the US’ request on November 3rd. The American government disabled and seized the public Z-Library site at the same time. Napolsky and Ermakova each face charges of copyright infringement, money laundering and wire fraud….”

Z-Library shutdown ends years of free, but illegal, college textbook access – The Pitt News

“Sydnee Ruley has saved hundreds of dollars over her four years at Pitt by getting her textbooks from the library — Z-Library, that is. 

“I was able to save a lot of money just using Z-Library and using that for textbooks instead of paying like $70 for a textbook I was only going to use for one semester,” Ruley, a senior mechanical engineering major, said. 

But in early November, The Federal Bureau of Investigation seized a series of domain names from Z-Library, one of the largest and most popular sources for pirated books and articles, in early November. According to TorrentFreak, Z-Library held almost 12 million copies of digital books in its free internet archive. …”

U.S. charges Russian suspects with operating Z-Library e-Book site

“Anton Napolsky (33) and Valeriia Ermakova (27), two Russian nationals, were charged with intellectual property crimes linked to Z-Library, a pirate online eBook repository.

The defendants were arrested on November 3, 2022, in Argentina by the country’s authorities at the request of U.S. law enforcement.

A day later, Z-Library’s clearnet domains (z-lib.org, b-ok.org, and 3lib.net) were seized by the Department of Justice and the FBI, although the fate of the operators was unknown to the public at that time.

Z-Library was one of the world’s largest public and free-to-access written content repositories, containing 11 million books and 84 million articles in a massive 220 TB database….”