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The owner of “pirated” librusec is not guilty “pirate”, the prosecutor’s office says

The prosecutor’s office has waived to proceed the criminal case in relation to owner of online library “Librusec”. “Librusec” is known as online library of literary works. On this resource different literary works have been published and available for downloading for certain payment. Uploading of works on this web-site was not authorized by right holders, at least in relation to works of major publishing houses.

In 2016 the legal online store of literary works “LitRes” has lodged a claim on copyright infringement by online resource “Librusec” to police. According to claim, the resource published illegal content and provided paid access to this content during years. De-facto the resource sold many copies of electronic books to users of online library and the right holders have not received anything  – nor royalties neither compensations – and certainly have been not asked to provide any licence or permission. Legal online store “LitRes” defined the damages, caused by illegal business model of illegal library, at least in 3,7 mln Roubles.

Investigation has determined that Belousov – the natural person indicted – was directly involved in massive copyright infringement by “Librusec”. Belousov was founder of “Imobilco” company. This company processed all payments for subscriptions on “Librusec”, in other words his company was beneficiary of “Librusec” business activity. Taking into account the role of Belousov and his company, the investigators indicted Belousov in massive distribution of illegal content through the web-site “Librusec”.

But prosecutor’s office has different view on this case and different opinion. The prosecutor believes Belousov cannot be indicted because he did not know that the content on “Librusec” has been published illegally. The right holder’s claims made him aware of illegal nature of Librusec’s business activity. Therefore the criminal intention “arose” after the beneficiary of the service continued to sell illegal copies of the works bear in mind the right holders’ claims notifying of copyright infringement.

The prosecutor’s office has taken into account the scale of illegal copies sold through the “Librusec” and assessed the amount of damaged suffered by legal online store. Why the prosecutor’s office did not take into account the damages suffered by the right holders remains unclear. The right holders are injured party, but in this case the injured party was legal online library, who is not owner of the copyright in infringed literary works. According to prosecutor’s office the total amount of damages does not exceed 100 thousands Roubles, therefore there is no corpus delicti, in other words there is no crime.

The beneficiary of the “Librusec” activity claimed his service was totally legal, he has concluded agreements with all right holders, whose works were represented on “Librusec”. But he was not able to provide the investigators with such agreements or even their copies. As there is no corpus delicti, the prosecutor’s office refused to proceed the indictment to the court for consideration. The injured party – legal online store – believes such decision of prosecutor’s office can create dangerous precedent.