The alleged owner of Kickass Torrents, Atrem Vaulin, recently got arrested in Poland, and the United States is seeking his extradition. The man behind the most popular torrent-sharing website in the world has been charged with four counts of criminal activity. Kickass Torrents is offline since Wednesday, July 20 after the U.S. government seized its domains.
Vaulin, aged 30, hailing from Kharkiv, Ukraine, was arrested on July 20 in Poland. The man is charged with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
Vaulin is believed to be behind the world-renowned commercial website Kickass Torrent, or KAT, that enables users to illegally download, reproduce, and distribute hundreds of millions of movies, video games, TV shows, musical recordings, and many other types of files.
The website has been online since 2008, and it grew a massive popularity. United States Department of Justice claims that the copyrighted material can be valued at over one billion dollars.
Kickass Torrents used to receive more than 50 million unique visitors every month, beating the other leading torrent website – The Pirate Bay. KAT is the 69th most visited website on the internet. The site’s net worth has been calculated at about $50 million.
However, the charges are just accusations, and Vaulin is presumed innocent unless it is proven that he indeed committed the criminal acts. If proven guilty, Atrem Vaulin faces up to five years for copyright infringement and up to twenty years for money laundering.
“Actions like these help protect the livelihoods of the 1.9 million hard-working Americans whose jobs are supported by the motion picture and television industry – and a legal market that generates $16.3 billion in exports for the U.S. economy,” says Chris Dodd, chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America.
Other torrent-sharing websites might one to reconsider their “business”, as they can no longer escape the law. “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,” says Chief Richard Weber of the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI).
IMAGE SOURCE: KatProxies