Federal authorities on Wednesday arrested the alleged owner of the world's most popular illegal file-sharing site, Kickass Torrents (KAT).
Thirty-year-old Artem Vaulin of Kharkiv, Ukraine, was arrested in Poland, and the United States will seek to extradite him, the US Justice Department announced. He was charged in the US District Court of Chicago 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.
"Vaulin is charged with running today's most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials," US Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in a 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."
A federal court in Chicago has also ordered the seizure of seven domain names associated with the alleged KAT conspiracy.
According to the complaint filed against Vaulin, hundreds of millions of copies of copyrighted media have been distributed through KAT since 2008. Movies still in theaters have consistently popped up on the site, the complaint says, including recent releases like "Captain America: Civil War" and "Now You See Me 2."
KAT has more than 50 million unique monthly visitors, the complaint says, and is estimated to be the 69th most visited site on the Internet.