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Feds Seize KickassTorrents Domains and Arrest Owner In Poland (arstechnica.com) 302

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Federal authorities announced on Wednesday the arrest of the alleged mastermind of KickassTorrents (KAT), the world's largest BitTorrent distribution site. As of this writing, the site is still up. Prosecutors have formally charged Artem Vaulin, 30, of Ukraine, 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. Like The Pirate Bay, KAT does not host individual infringing files but rather provides links to .torrent and .magnet files so that users can download unauthorized copies of TV shows, movies, and more from various BitTorrent users. According to a Department of Justice press release sent to Ars Technica, Vaulin was arrested on Wednesday in Poland. The DOJ will shortly seek his extradition 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," Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in the 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." KickassTorrents added a dark web address last month to make it easier for users to bypass blockades installed by ISPs.
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Feds Seize KickassTorrents Domains and Arrest Owner In Poland

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:35PM (#52551009)

    So if I Google kickass torrents and Google returns a link to their site, shouldn't Google be prosecuted as an accessory?

    See how fucking stupid these charges are?

    I guess the DOJ needs something to distract everyone from the whole letting Clinton commit treason thing.

  • Some thoughts (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Okian Warrior ( 537106 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:36PM (#52551017) Homepage Journal

    We just saw an article explaining how China had just outlawed ad-blockers.

    Does this mean China can accuse the maker of ad-blocking software with a major crime, and require that person to be extradited to China for trial?

    • Re: Some thoughts (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:42PM (#52551049)

      For trial? Hahahahaha

    • better to punch the cop in the face and do the time in club fed vs china but china still has death penalty on books for hacking so you can fight it on that alone.

    • Re:Some thoughts (Score:5, Informative)

      by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @10:32PM (#52551293)

      We just saw an article explaining how China had just outlawed ad-blockers.

      Does this mean China can accuse the maker of ad-blocking software with a major crime, and require that person to be extradited to China for trial?

      Only if he's arrested in another country where ad blockers are illegal. Presumably aiding and abetting copyright infringement is illegal in Poland as well as in the United States.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sjames ( 1099 )

        So why can't they arrest the scam callers impersonating the IRS and demanding money? Fraud is illegal in most countries.

        • So why can't they arrest the scam callers impersonating the IRS and demanding money? Fraud is illegal in most countries.

          Telcos in those special countries where all the fraud comes from are complicit, they make it possible for people to do that without reporting their identities.

    • Re:Some thoughts (Score:5, Interesting)

      by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @10:40PM (#52551337)

      It's hard to extradite someone from somewhere what they have done it not a crime

      That's probably why the DOJ is slapping on "conspiracy to commit money laundering" because a lot of countries have treaties to combat money laundering.
      They won't have to argue Artem has committed a crime that Poland recognises in relation to copyright infringement.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Ennetcom springs to mind, the Dutch encrypted phone the Dutch police raided to shut it down. That had a 'money-laundering' charge tacked onto it. But the Dutch press reported that the money-laundering was because criminals were reselling the phones to other criminals, allegedly to clean their drug money. Except how can it be cleaned if they're selling to other criminals? The other criminals money must also be tainted too! It made batshit sense.

        The core two complaints: a fake money laundering charge (which w

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        It's hard to extradite someone from somewhere what they have done it not a crime

        I've lost track of all the Julian Assange articles on slashdot and have got no idea how you managed to forget all of them.
        However extradition is still hard, especially from Poland where a very high profile convicted pedophile rapist has been evading US justice for decades.

      • "Dual criminality" used to be pretty important ... of course, that got thrown out the window in the EU when they introduced the EAW (European Arrest Warrant).

        Since its introduction, abuses of the EAW have been well documented. Poland and Greece have been using them as means of simply extorting money from tourists. e.g. You claim you didn't steal that five euro towel when you visited their country, but the staff swore the towel was missing. A criminal charge was lodged, and an EAW granted. You can eith

  • Warning (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:38PM (#52551029)

    Warning. Last time the Feds seized a site (some child porn site on TOR) they kept hosting it themselves for a month with malware on it. Accessing KAT right now would be foolish.

    • Re:Warning (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @04:20AM (#52552317)

      Warning. Last time the Feds seized a site (some child porn site on TOR)

      The irony here is they can extradite someone who links to things but not an actual child rapist such as Roman Polanski who is evading US justice in Poland. That's a pretty huge double standard considering the "think of the children" excuse used for internet crackdowns.

      • The irony here is they can extradite someone who links to things but not an actual child rapist such as Roman Polanski who is evading US justice in Poland.

        Time for a Roman Polandski child rapist meme. Bonus points if you can work a pun about "poles" in

      • The irony here is they can extradite someone who links to things but not an actual child rapist such as Roman Polanski who is evading US justice in Poland. That's a pretty huge double standard considering the "think of the children" excuse used for internet crackdowns.

        You obviously don't understand in reality how the US government works in some cases, so I'm gong to explain it to you. First of all, the US actually did submit papers to Poland requesting that Polanski be extradited. The Polish government rejected them. However, I'm pretty sure that Polanski feared that the Polish government might not always reject such requests, so apparently he's now back in France. French law prevents his extradition.

        What you also need to know is that US government will never, e

        • Just a nit - there's a difference between a civil case and a criminal case. It's nice that Polanski's victim has forgiven him - that means he doesn't have to face a civil case. But that doesn't absolve him from criminal liability. Statutory rape (and, if I remember the case correctly it was actually just plain "rape" - big difference for those of you who are scratching your heads) is a crime and is considered an offense against everybody, hence the criminal aspect of it.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          The reason is that because she was so underage at the time

          And also because she was violently raped.

        • by dbIII ( 701233 )

          His punishment in reality is that he can't come back to the USA again

          Do you think this torrent guy is going to be given that same "punishment" or do you think he is going to be extradited from Poland and do time in the USA if found guilty?
          Consider that and you will get my point.
          In this situation copyright violation is being taken far more seriously than a fugitive found guilty of rape. One is being extradited from Poland but not the other.

    • Re:Warning (Score:4, Funny)

      by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @07:07AM (#52552747)

      This is KAT we're talking about. Of course there's malware on it.

      Don't surf the internet without a condom. Whether you invite the FBI over for a threesome is irrelevant.

    • by fred911 ( 83970 )

      " for a month with malware on it. Accessing KAT right now would be foolish."

        Only if you are ignorant enough to allow your browser to execute foreign processes blindly or grant them permissions. As far as any swarm being infected, same deal, running unknown executables / scripts or "installers" without a sandbox is just plain stupid.

      • As if anyone really has control over what their browser does... All you can do is turn off javascript and flash and hope your browser isn't attacked via any of the other many security vulnerabilities left over.

        Unless you are running your actual browser in a sandboxed VM, you are still at the mercy of the ability of a team of humans to not make any mistakes.

  • Justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:38PM (#52551031) Homepage Journal

    "Vaulin is charged with running today's most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials," Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said in the 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."

    - is this what passes for 'justice' today?

    I guess he, who has the most guns defines what justice is. Justice is the opposite of what this Orwellian prick says. Justice is in non initiation of violence by any government. Justice is in equal treatment of individuals by law regardless of their circumstances. Using government oppression to enforce copyright has nothing to do with justice.

    Government may have a function, that function being enforcing contract law and dealing with fraud. That is all that any government should ever have any power to do. Everything else is oppression, not justice.

    • Re:Justice? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Applehu Akbar ( 2968043 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @09:49PM (#52551095)

      "...His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice."

      While ransomware distributors prey on us at will, because the priority is on protecting Hollywood from copyright violators.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        Meanwhile you can still hide from justice in Poland after being convicted of raping an American child (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roman_Polanski).
        Once again, protecting Hollywood.
        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by abies ( 607076 )

          This is a lot less obvious case then many people like it to be. Girl was pimped by her mother to extort money from Polanski. She lied to him about her age and then they were supposed to settle for a lot of money. Unfortunately (for both mother and Polanski) judge wanted to gain some political fame, so he blocked the settlement. Mother and girl ended up with no money, Polanski ended up being fugitive.

          Yes, Polanski at that time certainly had a taste for girls which were on the edge of being legal age. But it

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by dbIII ( 701233 )
            You forgot to mention the injuries, and that he was found guilty.
            Very odd to see someone here as an apologist for a convicted pedophile rapist, perhaps that "Men's Rights" stuff is far more toxic than I imagined.
            • by abies ( 607076 )

              Can you link to the information about injuries? Because, at least from wikipedia, Samantha Gailey Geimer stated "he had sex with me. He wasn’t hurting me and he wasn’t forceful or mean or anything like that..."

          • by cdrudge ( 68377 )

            But it was very far from being 'rape'

            No, I think that's pretty much the definition of rape, specifically statutory rape.

            • by abies ( 607076 )

              But it was very far from being 'rape'

              No, I think that's pretty much the definition of rape, specifically statutory rape.

              You are right - sex with anybody below age of consent is rape by definition, even if that person is willing, because she or he is not legally allowed to 'give consent'.

            • by abies ( 607076 )

              Actually, after doublechecking, it is more complicated - it differs from country to country. In US, you are right. In Poland (where the extradiction was being considered), it is not a 'rape', it is ''sexual intercourse with minor', which has separate penalties from rape and one does not imply the other. For people who might be interested (I hope nobody _really_ does), here are the penalties:
              - for sexual intercourse with minor: 2-12 years in prison
              - for sexual intercourse with close relative: 3months-5years

              • by dbIII ( 701233 )
                Yes but in his case the Judge described it as both - if she was 23 instead he still would have been convicted.
                There are many books on this case. Even if all the very nasty rumors are discounted the stuff that came out in court made it very clear.
          • Girl was pimped by her mother to extort money from Polanski.

            So her mother's a scumbag too. But dude, she was 13. Just because her mother was complicit doesn't make Polanski any less of a kiddie fiddler.

            Yes, Polanski at that time certainly had a taste for girls which were on the edge of being legal age.

            13 is not on the edge of being legal. Dude's a kiddie fiddler.

            But it was very far from being 'rape', it was a prostitution+blackmail arranged by girl's mother.

            How the hell is it not rape just because her mothe

    • - is this what passes for 'justice' today?

      Prosecutors and police enforcing the laws passed by your democratically elected representatives? Yes, I should hope so.

      Government may have a function, that function being enforcing contract law and dealing with fraud. That is all that any government should ever have any power to do. Everything else is oppression, not justice.

      That's democracy for you. Sometimes the 51% passes laws that the 49% doesn't like. I'm sorry you don't like it.

  • Did he really think responding to DMCA takedown notices and removing the content was going to keep this from happening?
  • Update (Score:4, Informative)

    by Areyoukiddingme ( 1289470 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @10:13PM (#52551203)

    As of this writing, KAT is down, both through conventional DNS and through their onion address.

  • by 0100010001010011 ( 652467 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @10:33PM (#52551301)

    People still use those? Google is still the fastest and best:

    filetype:torrent [your query]

    • Re:Torrent Sites? (Score:5, Informative)

      by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@nOspAm.world3.net> on Thursday July 21, 2016 @03:49AM (#52552253) Homepage Journal

      filetype:magnet is even better, as Google usually supplies an actual working magnet URL that you can use to directly start your download. Exactly the same as Kickass Torrents.

      • by DarthVain ( 724186 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @11:18AM (#52554337)

        KAT was never about finding torrents, as you say, it isn't hard by various methods. The real value of KAT was the community. The KAT community would comment and rate torrents. As you're probably aware, there are a lot of bad torrents, and simply fake ones generated by the various copyright associations. The only thing KAT really did was enable a large group of people to crowd source the verification of torrents enabling people to find good ones. Otherwise yes you can most easily find a "torrent" you are looking for, but is it any good, or is it a fake.

        However, none of this has anything to do with technology, so any site can do it, it just helps to be a popular one (i.e. a larger community to manually verify torrents). Should KAT go away, people will just move to a different one, and things continue as before. There will likely be some disruption, but it will only really be a temporary win for the copyright associations. They of course will simply use this is justification of their existence to continue to leech money from the various media industries (hence the "BILLION" dollar figure which is complete BS, as the simplistic example goes the car thief wasn't going to buy the car if he hadn't stolen it)... Rinse, repeat, etc...

  • Tails 1.4.1 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    They did it because it hosted the only version of uncompromised Tails.

    There are many other torrent sites. Stupid fuckers. As you take away, your shit is taken away harder.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      https://www.sendspace.com/file/w35ddl

      Here is the actual real sig and real sha and real torrent that had been hosted on kat.cr. It is in that 7z. Unzip it with peazip or whatever you want. That torrent was placed on kat.cr by some place called TNTVILLAGE or something like that. It is a very high traffic forum I think it was in Spanish. The .iso of Tails is multilanguage. Nothing different from the original. It's sig and sha matched the ones from the originally downloaded one I have from when 1.4.1 was

  • That does it, I'm not buying anything more from Poland!
  • ROFL (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shaitand ( 626655 ) on Wednesday July 20, 2016 @11:49PM (#52551613) Journal
    "His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice."

    What does justice have to do with it?
    • by abies ( 607076 )

      This was stated by 'Department of Justice'. As in, 'department owned by Justice'. Justice Hollywood, daughter of Torquemada McCarthy, son of Prohibition Rush, daughter of Saint Methody. Justice Hollywood asked for him to be caught and he was caught, so she is very much involved.

  • “Artem Vaulin was allegedly running a worldwide digital piracy website that stole more than $1 billion in profits from the U.S. entertainment industry,” said Executive Associate Director Edge. Stole? Okay.
  • We are shameful (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fred911 ( 83970 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @02:06AM (#52552027)

    "His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice."

    No, what his arrest demonstrates is how low we have become allowing Hollywood to buy laws, how little understanding judges and juries have of technology, and how weak Poland is permitting us to fuck with a sovereign citizen.

    • If you think that Poland bowed down before USA in this case, you are mistaken. They happily assisted. Poland has been sucking American dick for decades. Even though they are, for some reason, a member of the EU, they are far more closely allied to the US.

      • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

        Probably because the US did far more to help Poland when it was a soviet satellite state then their 'neighbors' in the rest of Europe did.

        • This is not what I have questioned. My question was, WTF does Poland do in the EU in first place?

          • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

            This is not what I have questioned. My question was, WTF does Poland do in the EU in first place?

            That's not what you asked though. What do you think any country in the EU does? Exploit the market, and create business opportunities. In Poland's case, it's mainly for protection against Russia.

            • What part of "Even though they are, for some reason, a member of the EU" is so difficult to understand?

              Poland is already a NATO member, they should have stayed out of the EU. They don't belong in the EU. They have voted for an anti-EU government for several times.

  • Whew! (Score:4, Funny)

    by fahrbot-bot ( 874524 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @02:08AM (#52552029)
    So glad they captured this foreign copyright infringer -- making the World a *much* safer place for everyone. Now maybe the Feds can finally spend some time on this "people keep killing other people" thing that seems to be going on here in the US and, I hear, other countries.
    • But just think what resources will now be available to the Feds with the tax revenue coming in because the copyright holders will be getting their $1B a year that was being stolen because of KAT. /s

  • He made millions (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Camembert ( 2891457 )
    According to the ars article, it looks like the arrested man made millions of dollars in advertising revenue from his site. It is one thing to engage in filesharing - copyright infringing and all, but in addition he was profiteering big time from his activity. That makes it to me quite different from a legal point of view - he obviously made money from an illegal activity, and I expect that the punishment will be harsher because of it.
    • And yet only 2 days ago Slashdot ran an article from a judge declaring that torrents themselves are not copyright infringement.

    • I suppose he ought to have pulled a Youtube and shared the ad revenue with the copyright holders...
  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Thursday July 21, 2016 @07:51AM (#52552917)
    Not being a banker or broker; that would have rendered him impervious to the rule of law.
    • Or if he was presidential candidate. Especially one who was secretary of state, and once married to the president.

  • I wasn't aware the DOJ had jurisdiction in Poland.

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