2024-06-17 00:31:17
Free online library in Russia books

CONTEXT – This Week in Arts and Ideas from The Moscow Times:

For the past decade, Maxim Moshkov’s online archive Lib.ru has been the main literary resource for Russian Internet users. Free of charge and furnished mostly by readers’ contributions, its contents act as a gauge of literary popularity. According to Lib.ru’s honor system, authors maintain the right to protest against online publication and have their books withdrawn.


A Moscow court has found Maxim Moshkov, owner of the biggest and most popular Russian on-line library, lib.ru, guilty of breaching copyright law.

The court ordered Moshkov to pay a 3,000-ruble ($107.7) fine to the plaintiff, writer Eduard Gevorkyan. The writer had initially wanted 1.5 million rubles (about $54,000) from the library owner. The court significantly decreased the fine after Moshkov explained he gains no profit from his library.

It was the only lawsuit brought against Moshkov that has ended in success for the plaintiff. Other writers have been unable to even start their cases. However, Gevorkyan had earlier won cases against two other libraries, edu-all.ru and aldebaran.ru, that were obliged to pay 50,000 rubles each. The writer’s interests were presented by the company KM-online.

Moshkov told the court that all the texts in his library were taken from the Internet or sent by readers. If the author disagrees with the release of his texts, Moshkov removes them. However, over 120 writers have agreed to publish their work on lib.ru. The library owner said he wrote letters to Gevorkyan asking if he would permit the publication of his texts but did not receive permission.

Moshkov’s lawyers intend to appeal the court decision.

Moshkov created his library in 1994. Every day over 20,000 people visit lib.ru.


How often do you receive new texts?

On average, 10-20 texts per day.

How much traffic does your site get per day?

40,000 readers a day

Do you know where people are visiting your site from?

The audience is proportional to the diaspora of Russian-speaking internet users worldwide:
Moscow- 20%
Petersburg- 5%
All of Russia together- 40%
Former republics of the USSR- 20%
USA + Israel + Germany- 15%

Do you know anything about the people who send you texts?

A few thousand people have sent me books. They live all over the world, almost from every country. Most are Russians, but there’s been Americans, Bulgarians, Polish, Portuguese, Arabs, etc.


Maksim Moshkow’s Library (also known as lib.ru), which contains approximately 40,000 e-books, both public domain and copyrighted.

On the site it says that the library has the support of the Federal Agency of Printing and Mass Communication. What sort of support did they provide, and how did you get it?

In the 10th year of the library [2004] the Federal Agency of Printing and Mass Communication decided to offer me help and set aside a $35,000 grant for the development of the library. In September 2005, I received that money, and now I’m spending it on modernizing the technical equipment for the site. I’m upgrading the servers, and getting OCR done on electronic texts I’d like to have in the library.


What about copyright? Do Russian writers mind that their books are on your site?

Book circulation in Russia is steadily declining every year, and only two or three hundred authors are making money off publications. For a lot of other authors, the Internet is becoming the only way to reach readers and, for that matter, to advertise their books and attract the interest of publishers. So the majority of Russian authors have neutral or positive feelings about Internet publishing, and many of them put their books on-line themselves.

With the growth of Internet usage, more and more authors have started to send their books to me for the library, and I had to organize a special service that would automatically put up those books. Now I have servers for the library where authors register, create their section of the library, put up their work, and communicate with readers.

There’s already about 300 of these self-directed sections in the library. I had to make a separate server for beginning, still-unpublished authors — there’s about 19,000 of those sections and around 200,000 works.

Has an author ever asked you to remove their books? What did you do?

It’s happened. Since the library was created, around 20 people have gotten in touch, telling me to delete their books from the library. I deleted them, naturally. After all, this is something the author should decide — whether or not he wants to be read on the Internet or not.

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Roberson29Katina — November 26, 2010 @ 4:38 am

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