The US State Department has arrested the founder and operator, Artem Vaulin, of KickassTorrents illegal file-sharing website with copyright infringement. KickassTorrents, also known as KAT, operates in approximately 28 languages, has a net worth of more than $54 million, and generates an estimated $12.5 million to $22.3 million in annual advertising revenue.

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KickassTorrent is one of the world’s largest and most notorious BitTorrent distribution site. 30-year-old founder, Artem Vaulin, who hails from Kharkiv, Ukraine was arrested in Poland on behalf of US.

Vaulin has been charged with two criminal copyright infringement – one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. Access to all KickAss Torrent and sister sites (like kat.ph, kickass.to, kastatic.com, kickass.so, thekat.tv, and kat.cr.) have been halted, and presently they are in the process of being seized.

Leslie R. Caldwell, the assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s criminal division, said in a statement: “Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials.” He further added: “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. His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cyber criminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”

For long, Torrent sites have held their complacency with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has protected them. Their defence has been that Torrent sites only allow users to provide links to pirated contents and they are in no way responsible for what users do with the content.

When KickassTorrents was asked by Hollywood movie studios or other intellectual property holders to remove links to copyrighted contents, the site declined. Demands were made that went unresponded and unfulfilled.

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