Federal authorities announced on Wednesday the arrest of the alleged mastermind of KickassTorrents (KAT), the world’s largest BitTorrent distribution site. As of this writing, the site is still up.
Prosecutors have formally charged Artem Vaulin, 30, of Ukraine, with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
Like The Pirate Bay, KAT does not host individual infringing files but rather provides links to .torrent and .magnet files so that users can download unauthorized copies of TV shows, movies, and more from various BitTorrent users.
According to a Department of Justice press release sent to Ars, Vaulin was arrested on Wednesday in Poland. The DOJ will shortly seek his extradition to the United States.
“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials,” Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in the statement. “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 cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”
According to the 50-page affidavit authored by Jared Der-Yeghiayan, Vaulin and KAT claimed that they respected the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, but they did not. Der-Yeghiayan is a special agent with Homeland Securities Investigations and also was a key witness in the trial of Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht.