Alleged Kickass Torrent Founder Arrested, Site Goes Offline

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The alleged founder and owner of Kickass Torrents, one of the biggest piracy sites on the web, has been arrested in Poland.

Ukrainian Artem Vaulin has been charged 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 after an operation led by US law enforcement officials.

The Department of Justice said in a statement that it would seek to extradite Vaulin to the US.

Kickass Torrents rose to prominence after the collapse of The Pirate Bay, and quickly became the biggest file-sharing site on the web. US authorities allege that the site enabled users to download and share hundreds of millions of films, video games, TV shows, albums and more.

According to the complaint, the copyrighted material is worth over $1 billion (£760 million). The site attracts 50 million unique visitors per month and is the 69th most visited website on the internet.

A federal court in Chicago has ordered the seizure of a bank account and several domains associated with the site, in an attempt to shut it down.

Vaulin had evaded capture and closure of his site for many years by allegedly relying on servers located across the world and frequently moving domains whenever they were under the threat of seizure, US authorities said.

It appears that what eventually led to Vaulin’s capture was his use of Apple iTunes and Facebook. According to papers filed with the court, an email address associated with Vaulin conducted an iTunes transaction in July 2015 and the same IP address was used to log into the Kickass Torrent Facebook page the same day.

The same process was repeated in December 2015, when an IP address was logged accessing the Kickass Torrent Facebook account. A few days later the same IP address was used to make another iTunes transaction via the same “” email address.

Photo © Gil C/

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