KickassTorrents Is A Search Engine for Torrents Just Like Google, Says KickassTorrents’ Defense Lawyer
It is nearly a 8 months since FBI and Polish police collaborated to arrest Artem Vaulin the owner of KickAssTorrents (KAT). On 20 July 2016, the United States Department of Justice announced that it had seized the KAT.cr domain and had identified its alleged owner. Artem Vaulin, a 30-year-old Ukrainian man known online as “tirm“, was detained in Poland after being charged with a four-count U.S. criminal indictment. The remaining domains were taken offline voluntarily after the KAT.cr domain name was seized.
The US Department of Justice and the legal team of alleged KickassTorrents owner Artem Vaulin are now headed for a court battle over copyright infringement and other three counts.This week KickassTorrents’ alleged owner Artem Vaulin asked the Illinois District Court to dismiss the criminal indictment and set him free. His defense lawyer Ira Rothken asked the court to drop the case as there’s no proof of actual criminal copyright infringement. The US prosecutor disagreed, describing the site as a piracy haven that made millions of dollars per year.
For the uninitiated, FBI along with other law enforcement agencies had arrested Vaulin in Poland after a police raid. The FBI also confiscated the world’s most popular torrent website, Kat.cr during the raid. The arrest of Vaulim led to a big churning in torrents community with The Pirate Bay and Extratorrents emerging as the most popular torrent websites. KickassTorrents has made a comeback with a new domain called katcr.co/new but it is yet to create any mark.
The U.S. Department of Justice prosecutor Devlin Su says Vaulin is guilty as charged and said the site made millions every year by unauthorized sharing of digital content. However, Ira Rothken, lawyer of Artem Vaulin, had pointed the flaw in the case and said that torrent files themselves are not copyrighted content. Further, the secondary copyright infringement claims don’t even exist under criminal law.
“We believe that the indictment against Artem Vaulin in the KAT torrent files case is defective and should be dismissed. Torrent files are not content files. The reproduction and distribution of torrent files are not a crime,” Rothken told TorrentFreak. “If a third party uses torrent files to infringe it is after they leave the KAT site behind and such conduct is too random, inconsistent, and attenuated to impose criminal liability on Mr. Vaulin.”
The defense also described KickassTorrents a search engine for torrents just like Google. Vaulin’s lawyer said that that KAT website was more of a search engine, like Google and not a source of piracy. However, the prosecutor argues that Google is not dedicated to uploading and distributing of copyrighted works. Besides, the prosecution also argued that the torrent portal operated as a piracy flea market, raking in between $12.5 and $22.3 million in profit from advertising revenue.
To recall, Vaulin, was arrested by the authorities in mid-2016, after allegedly operating KickassTorrents for eight years. Following his arrest, the site’s domain was seized making it redundant. Also, alternate proxies were shortly taken down along with the main site.
He currently resides in Poland under custody where he was denied bail. Due to a serious health problem, Vaulin was admitted to hospital a few weeks ago.
If Vaulin is sent to the U.S. to face legal action, he could be charged with copyright infringement, tax evasion and money laundering and may spend about 20 years in prison It remains to be seen how does the District Court decide to move forward with the case.