US arrested popular file sharing site Kickass Torrents’ owner Artem Vaulin, 30 in Poland on Wednesday. The charges on him was to commit copyright infringement related to the distribution of more than $1 billion of movies, video games, music recordings etc and money laundering. The site is now offline.
Kickass Torrents is a P2P file sharing site and was founded in 2008. According to Alexa, by 2014 it became the most visited site in the world overtaking The Pirate Bay. According to the officials it is the most trafficked illegal file sharing site with 50 million monthly visitors.
Seven domain names associated with kickass torrents were also seized. Ukraine based Vaulin was arrested after he cross-referring an IP address which he used for an i-Tunes transaction with an IP address used to log into Kickass Torrent’s Facebook page.
The U.S. officials claimed that the website KAT illegally available for downloaded movies that were still in theatres like “Independence Day: Resurgence” and “Finding Dory”. U.S. attorney Zachary Fardon stated, “Copyright infringement exacts a large toll, a very human one, on the artists and businesses whose livelihood hinges on their creative inventions. “Vaulin allegedly used the Internet to cause enormous harm to those artists.”
Chicago officials complained the annual advertising revenue of Kickass Torrents is $12.5 million to $22.3 million. The penalty of copyright infringement is 5 years imprisonment and the punishment of money laundering is up to 20 years detention. The website was blocked in several countries and this website has been forced to change its domain for many times.
The Us Department of Justice has released a press release, which 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,” said Assistant Attorney General Caldwell. “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.”
“Copyright infringement exacts a large toll, a very human one, on the artists and businesses whose livelihood hinges on their creative inventions,” said U.S. Attorney Fardon. “Vaulin allegedly used the Internet to cause enormous harm to those artists. Our Cybercrimes Unit at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago will continue to work with our law enforcement partners around the globe to identify, investigate and prosecute those who attempt to illegally profit from the innovation of others.”
“Artem Vaulin was allegedly running a worldwide digital piracy website that stole more than $1 billion in profits from the U.S. entertainment industry,” said Executive Associate Director Edge. “Protecting legitimate commerce is one of HSI’s highest priorities. With the cooperation of our law enforcement partners, we will continue to aggressively bring to justice those who enrich themselves by stealing the creative work of U.S. artists.”
“Investigating cyber-enabled schemes is a top priority for CI,” said Chief Weber. “Websites such as the one seized today brazenly facilitate all kinds of illegal commerce. Criminal Investigation is committed to thoroughly investigating financial crimes, regardless of the medium. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to unravel this and other complex financial transactions and money laundering schemes where individuals attempt to conceal the true source of their income and use the Internet to mask their true identity.”