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Feds nab KickassTorrents.com owner, seize domains

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U.S. authorities have charged the alleged owner of today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, KickassTorrents.com, with criminal copyright infringement and have seized domain names associated with the website.

According to the US Department of Justice, Artem Vaulin, 30, a Ukrainian citizen, was arrested today in Poland and is charged by criminal complaint.

The charges include one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.

The US federal agency will seek to extradite Vaulin 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,” said Assistant Attorney General 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.  His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”

Additionally, a federal court in Chicago ordered the seizure of one bank account and seven domain names associated with the alleged KAT conspiracy.

KickassTorrents.com has been seized by the US Department of Justice.

KickassTorrents.com has been seized by the US Department of Justice.

KickassTorrents, known as KAT, has been earning revenue estimated at $54 million, with estimated annual advertising revenue in the range of $12.5 million to $22.3 million dollars.

KAT has moved its domains several times due to numerous seizures and copyright lawsuits, and it has been ordered blocked by courts in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Italy, Denmark, Belgium and Malaysia.

KAT has allegedly operated at various times under the domains kickasstorrents.com, kat.ph, kickass.to, kickass.so and kat.cr, and relied on a network of computer servers located around the world.

For the full announcement, click here to visit Justice.GOV.


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