Aaron Swartz may have been bullied into suicide for his ideas to make all scientific knowledge accessible for free to everyone, but his dream has come close to realization. There are several shadow libraries hiding in the Russian part of the internet that host millions of (scientific) books, and tens of millions of journal articles. They serve students, faculty and professionals from India and Iran to Germany and the US. How do they operate? What do they offer? Who uses them? For what reasons? Come and see how pirate libraries that cost less than 2000 USD/year may shape the future of libraries.
RuNet, the Russian segment of the internet is now the home of the most comprehensive scientific pirate libraries on the net. These sites offer free access to millions of books and tens of millions of journal articles. What factors led to the development of these sites? What are the social, cultural and legal conditions that enable them to operate under hostile legal and political conditions? We dig deep into the history to trace how Soviet censorship, samizdat and book black markets shaped the latest generation of Russian pirate librarians, and analyze their achievements. What is in these archives? Who uses them? How does knowledge flow around the globe due to these peer produced, distributed archives? And how do these low cost operations force to change the publishing industry and the multi-million dollar libraries?