Illinois
08 August 2017
Reporter: Barney Dixon

US right to indict KickAss Torrents founder


The US government was right to indict Artem Vaulin, the founder of peer-to-peer file sharing site KickAss Torrents, a US judge has ruled.

Judge John Lee of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois rejected Vaulin’s motion to dismiss on 4 August, ruling that the indictment related to making copyright works available can stand.

Vaulin was arrested in Poland in July last year and charged with committing several acts of criminal copyright infringement and conspiring to launder money through his operation of KickAss Torrents, which distributed more than $1 billion worth of illegal content. The US has since attempted to extradite him.

Vaulin filed the motion to dismiss the lawsuit, but the US government argued that because Vaulin is a fugitive and refuses to appear in court, the motion should be declined under the fugitive disentitlement doctrine.

The doctrine provides that the fugitive from justice may not seek relief from the judicial system whose authority he or she evades.

Judge Lee agreed with the US government’s assertions that Vaulin’s motion was invalid under the doctrine, however, “for the sake of judicial efficiency”, Lee also dismissed the case on its merits.

Among other things, Vaulin had claimed that the indictment failed to adequately allege criminal infringement in the US and that it improperly seeks to charge him for extraterritorial infringement that cannot be prosecuted under the US Copyright Act.

Judge Lee agreed that the Copyright Act does not apply extraterritorially, but said that the core theory underlying the indictment is that Vaulin “aided, abetted, and conspired with users of his network to commit criminal copyright infringement in the US”.

KickAss Torrents ranked 69th as the most frequently visited website on the internet, with more than 50 million unique visitors per month.

Though the website has since been taken down and blocked in Europe and the US, various versions of it are still available through alternative domains and the TOR VPN network.

The website’s net worth was estimated at more than $54 million and has cost copyright owners more than $1 billion, according to the US Department of Justice.

More news
The latest news from IPPro The Internet
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
Quarles & Brady hires internet of things expert
12 December 2017 | Milwaukee | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Quarles & Brady has hired Linda Emery as partner in its intellectual property practice group based in Milwaukee
Siemens reclaims infringing domains
11 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Siemens has been transferred seven infringing domain names following a World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Centre dispute
PSNI, HMRC and FACT seize 50 illegal streaming devices
08 December 2017 | Belfast | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A joint operation between UK enforcement bodies has resulted in the seizure of 50 illegal streaming devices
China world’s top trademark filer in 2016
07 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
China was the world’s top trademark filer in 2016, with the country accounting for 3.7 million applications out of an estimated global total of 7 million
Marlboro beats infringer in UDRP dispute
07 December 2017 | Geneva | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Marlboro has acquired seven infringing domain names in a dispute at the World Intellectual Property Organisation Arbitration and Mediation Centre.
Squire Patton Boggs hires ex Walgreens Boots Alliance counsel
06 December 2017 | London | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Squire Patton Boggs has appointed Kerry Lee as partner in its intellectual property and technology practice
Google wins UDRP dispute
06 December 2017 | Minneapolis | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Google has won a domain dispute at the Alternative Dispute Resolution Forum