Kickass Torrents has been taken down by the U.S. government
Kickass Torrents – the world’s top website for illegally sharing movies, TV shows, and music — has been taken down by the U.S. government.
Kickass.to now displays a seizure notice, which means that the associated domain registry was quick to respond to the U.S. warrant. People who visit the Kickass.to address today will see the above banner, specifically tailored for KAT.
The international bust is a massive blow to the online torrent community, where millions of people share copyrighted material without paying for it.
The man behind the web’s biggest piracy network has been arrested, charged with criminal copyright infringement and money laundering.
The website’s alleged owner, Artem Vaulin, a 30-year- old Ukrainian man, was arrested in Poland on Wednesday.
Kickass Torrents is a commercial website that enables users to illegally reproduce and distribute hundreds of millions of copyrighted motion pictures, video games, television programs, musical recordings and other electronic media since 2008.
With millions of unique visitors per day, it is now one of the most-used BitTorrent portals online – even bigger than The Pirate Bay .
In a criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Chicago , Vaulin has been charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
It also shows how American law enforcement is ramping up its efforts to combat copyright infringement.
Governments have been pressured in recent years by entertainment giants — including Sony Pictures, the Walt Disney Company (DIS), Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Universal Music Group — to crack down on digital piracy.
Alongside the arrest of the alleged site owner in Poland, a federal court in Chicago has ordered the seizure of Kickass Torrent domain names, in an attempt to close the site down.
Assistant Attorney General Caldwell told the US Department of Justice that Kickass Torrents helped to distribute over $1 billion in pirated files.
“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 said.
“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.
Law-enforcement officials across the globe have battled pirate sites for years, but the task of shutting down such illegal operations remains challenging as pirates routinely switch up domain names and use anonymizing services that mask their identities and locations. In one of the most notorious cases, the FBI in 2012 shut down Megaupload.com, which allegedly caused more than $500 million in damages to copyright holders — while legally embattled founder Kim
In one of the most notorious cases, the FBI in 2012 shut down Megaupload.com, which allegedly caused more than $500 million in damages to copyright holders — while legally embattled founder Kim Dotcomhas claimed he’s going to relaunch the site next January. Meanwhile, the Pirate Bay, despite several raids and arrests of its organizers over the years, remains up and running today.
Kickass Torrents had been attracting more than 50 million unique monthly visitors, according to officials.
Federal agents allegedly identified Vaulin by an online name, tirm. They then used records kept by Apple (AAPL, Tech30) to link the Apple email account firstname.lastname@example.org to Vaulin. They also looked into Vaulin’s records at Facebook(FB, Tech30).
According to law enforcement, Vaulin posed as the lead engineer of a company called Cryptoneat — which was really a front company for this massive online piracy operation.
This latest federal takedown focused on the largest torrent site at the moment. But fans of Kickass Torrents are sure to migrate to competing sites like Torrentz, ExtraTorrent, and BitSnoop.