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The Man Who Runs the World’s Biggest File-Sharing Site Has Been Arrested in Poland

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The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) is seeking to extradite Ukrainian national Artem Vaulin who was arrested in Poland on Wednesday and is believed to be the man behind Kickass Torrents, the most popular site for peer-to-peer file sharing.

Vaulin, 30, faces two counts of criminal copyright infringement, as well as conspiracy charges relating to copyright and money laundering, U.S. authorities said. The district court in Chicago also ordered the seizure of seven Internet domain names and a bank account belonging to the Ukrainian.

More than 50 million users a month share movies, TV shows, music, video games and computer software on Kickass Torrents, and the site is “responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie 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,” Caldwell says in the DoJ statement. “His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”

Defenders of file-sharing sites insist they are not in breach of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the main law used to prosecuted intellectual property offenses, since they only facilitate sharing data — it’s the users who are breaking the law by sharing copyright-protected material, they argue.


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Write to Simon Lewis at simon_daniel.lewis@timeasia.com