US authorities have arrested the alleged Ukrainian mastermind thought to be behind the illegal Kickass torrent file sharing site.
Artem Vaulin, aged 30, has been charged ‘conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.’
US attorney Zachary Fardon said of the arrest:
“Copyright infringement exacts a large toll, a very human one, on the artists and businesses whose livelihood hinges on their creative inventions,”
Vaulin will stand trial, if US prosecutors get their way, in court where he will have to account for the apparent distribution of more than $1 billion worth of pirated music and films over the last decade.
Vaulin was arrested in Poland on Wednesday and the US justice department has confirmed it will seek his extradition.
Like The Pirate Bay, Kickass torrents, or KAT, as it is also known, and in similar fashion to most other file sharing torrent download sites, does not host individual copyrighted files, but instead acts as a middle man, or facilitator that provides the links to .torrent and. magnet files so that users can download unauthorized copies of TV shows, movies, and more from various Bit Torrent users.
Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said:
“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials. In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits. His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”
More than 50 million users a month share movies, TV shows, music, video games and computer software on Kickass Torrents.
Kim Dotcom, the founder of Megaupload is currently fighting extradition to the US, over his alleged role as the creator of one of the largest illegal file-sharing sites.