Kim Dotcom’s lawyer to also represent KickassTorrents founder
Recently, we had reported the shocking arrest of 30-year-old Artem Vaulin, a Ukrainian man supposed to be the mastermind of KickassTorrents (KAT) portal, the world’s largest BitTorrent search site. His arrest in turn led to the shut down of several KAT domain names such as kickasstorrents.com, kastatic.com, thekat.tv, kat.cr, kickass.to, kat.ph and kickass.cr.
Vaulin has been charged by the Chicago federal court with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
The alleged owner of KickassTorrents has now decided to retain services of the California lawyer, Ira Rothken, who is also handling the long and dragging case of Kim Dotcom, the founder and CEO of Megaupload. Rothken has been successful in keeping Dotcom out of custody in New Zealand since 2012. The charges against Vaulin are similar to those filed against Megaupload’s Dotcom.
Rothken believes that Vaulin has a strong case against the U.S. Government and hopes to have the Ukrainian released from his Warsaw jail soon.
Speaking to ARS, Rothken told that he is ready for the challenge. “[Kickass Torrents] is a glorified set of hyperlinks, very much like you would get from a search engine like Google,” he said.
While still in its early days, Rothken believes that they have strong arguments to have the criminal complaint dismissed.
“We’re not able to find any cases, especially criminal cases, where a hyperlink was considered direct willful infringement. We believe that the US case here is without merit and ultimately the folks involved with that will win as a matter of law.”
“This case by the US is an attack, using the criminal laws, on BitTorrent technology generally. The US is involved in experimental criminal litigation and it’s designed to have a chilling effect on people using BitTorrent technology.”
“If one were to go out and spider all the BitTorrent files they could find online … the same allegations could be made against that search engine, and we believe that’s improper use of the prosecutorial power. We believe that this case will ultimately be dismissed.”
As noted by ARS, who first reported the news, Vaulin languishes in a Warsaw jail pending his extradition request. As a result, Rothken has not spoken to his client yet. However, Rothken hopes that the alleged owner of KickassTorrents will be able to fight his extradition outside of jail.
“We are working with local Polish counsel to try to get Artem out of the Warsaw jail so he can assist with his defense,” Rothken said.
In the meantime, the KickassTorrents website continues to remain offline. However, the KAT “community” been revived and remains active. While there are several mirrors available, there is no surety if the torrent site will be resuming any time soon.