1. The U.S. Filed Charges Against Artem Vaulin, Who Could Face Up to 20 Years in Jail
The United States filed charges against Artem Vaulin that include criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, and conspiracy to commit money laundering. The suit alleges that Vaulin, 30, owns and operates Kickass Torrents or KAT. Vaulin was arrested in Poland and federal authorities will seek to extradite him to the United States.
Assistant Attorney General Caldwell, commenting on the press announcement, 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… His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.
2. Seven Kickass Torrents Domains Have Been Seized and the Entire Site is Now Down
In addition to arresting Vaulin, the U.S. government has seized seven Kickass Torrent domains. According to the complaint, the seized domains are:
According to Kickass Torrents’ status website, the service still has other domains or proxy sites that aren’t listed in the complaint. These domains include kickassto.co, kickass.ag, kickass.cs, katproxy.is, thekat.se, katproxy.cc, lovekat.org, and an onion site. But at the time of publication, all of those sites are down too.
KAT has moved its domains before due to seizures and copyright lawsuits. In early June, the site was pushing back against repeated attempts to block its domains, and it added a new domain on the Tor (dark web) network.
3. Apple May Have Given the U.S. Government Personal Details About Vaulin
According to the complaint, federal investigators posed as an advertiser, buying an ad on KAT in March 2016 for $300 a day. He was given information for a Latvian bank for making his payment, but was told not to mention KAT anywhere. When he went to buy a second ad, he was told that only pricier ads were available for $1,000 to $3,200 a day.
4. Vaulin Owns a Company Called Cryptoneat, Which the Lawsuit Alleges Was a Cover for KAT
The complaint alleges that Artem Vaulin, 30, has been the owner and operator of KAT since November 2008. It also alleges that he operated a Ukrainian company called Cryptoneat at least partially to conceal KAT’s operations. According to the complaint, a backup account for KAT’s Whois registration was once firstname.lastname@example.org (see page 34 of the complaint.) Cryptoneat.com redirects to Cryptoneat.ua.
5. The Lawsuit Is Not Connected to the MPAA or Last Year’s MovieTube Lawsuit
Some may be wondering if the lawsuit is connected with the MPAA, since a lawsuit filed about a year ago by the MPAA brought down the very popular MovieTube website. But according to the complaint, this lawsuit was filed by federal U.S. authorities, not the MPAA.
KickassTorrents users are already commenting on the sites impending demise:
Cousins: yo can you get us the Ultimate Version of BvS
Me: KickAssTorrents dead bruhs
Cousins: what?! pic.twitter.com/7nMGsTVHir
— Lynx (@MaAdLynx) July 20, 2016