TikTok Proves The Bane As FBI Takes Down 'World's Largest' Pirated E-Book Library Run By 2 Russians

The U.S. Department of Justice has charged two Russian nationals for operating Z-Library, an online e-book piracy website. 

What Happened: The Department of Justice has charged 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 website claims to be "the world's largest library."

Interestingly, the pirated e-book library's social media presence contributed to its undoing. 

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"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.

The duo was arrested on Nov. 3, in Cordoba, Argentina at the request of the U.S. 

"At the same time, Z-Library’s network of online domains was also taken offline and seized by the U.S. government," the Department of Justice press release said.

According to the Department of Justice, Z-Library “offers e-book files in a variety of file formats, stripped of their copyright protections, and encourages users to upload and download titles.”

Why It's Important: A TikTok trend significantly contributed to the undoing of Z-Library. In October, the hashtag "#zlibrary" began trending on ByteDance-owned TikTok, with more than 19 million views. 

The Authors Guild then complained to the office of the U.S. Trade Representative, saying students and other users were touting Z-Library to get textbooks and other course material for free, the report noted.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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