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KickassTorrents Lawyer: 'Torrent Sites Do Not Violate Criminal Copyright Laws' (arstechnica.co.uk) 80

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: Lawyers representing Artem Vaulin have filed their formal legal response to prosecutors' allegations of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, among other charges. Vaulin is the alleged head of KickassTorrents (KAT). KAT was the world's largest BitTorrent distribution site before it was shuttered by authorities earlier this year. Vaulin was arrested in Poland, where he now awaits 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 Leslie Caldwell said in a July 2016 statement. The defense's new 22-page court filing largely relies on the argument that there is no such thing as secondary criminal copyright infringement. While secondary copyright infringement as a matter of civil liability was upheld by the Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster in 2005, Vaulin and his associates have been charged criminally. "The fundamental flaw in the government's untenable theory of prosecution is that there is no copyright protection for such torrent file instructions and addresses," [the brief's author, Ira Rothken,] argued in his Monday motion to dismiss the charges against Vaulin. "Therefore, given the lack of direct willful copyright infringement, torrent sites do not violate criminal copyright laws." "The extradition procedures have formally been started by the US in Poland," Rothken told Ars. "We are in a submissions or briefing period, and our Polish team is opposing extradition." Rothken also said that he has yet to be allowed to meet or speak directly with his client. For now, Rothken has been required to communicate via his Polish counterpart, Alek Kowzan. "Maybe they are afraid that Artem's extradition defense will be enhanced if American lawyers can assist in defending against the US extradition," Rothken added. No hearings before US District Judge John Z. Lee have been set.
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KickassTorrents Lawyer: 'Torrent Sites Do Not Violate Criminal Copyright Laws'

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  • Cool story bro (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bcarson ( 3960625 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @06:34PM (#53119091)
    What's really important is that the judges agree.
    • Re:Cool story bro (Score:5, Insightful)

      by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @07:49PM (#53119491) Homepage Journal

      What's really important is whether the judge follows the law or makes a ruling that is against the law because the judge thinks the law is flawed and should be changed at his discretion.

      • by GrpA ( 691294 )

        What's even more important is that any information such as this is presented before the judges, so that they can exercise their discretion in the first place. Judges are just like computer programs. They only process what they are given.

    • Re:Cool story bro (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KingBenny ( 1301797 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @10:23PM (#53120061) Homepage
      i think we all know the actual trial is a farce and the decisions have already been made ... same for demonoid, tpb and all the rest i mean ... EXTRADITION, helllooow ?
      in fact they dont host content so i agree they dont violate shit, and the argument of facilitation is bullshit since smartphones, google, and your fingertips also make it easier to address the content through a certain channel
      load of american horsecrap ... im almost starting to suspect myself of being anti-american today but you gotta admit .... the last two weeks ???
      the textbook definition of OTT
    • by PMuse ( 320639 )

      Can we please stop posting stories that amount to:
      Lawyer Says His Client Wasn't Wrong?

      Irrespective of whether any particular guy was wrong or not, his lawyer talking about it is almost never news.

  • Extradition? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 20, 2016 @06:35PM (#53119095)

    I don't get how everybody on this planet an his dog can be extradited to the fucking USA at their whims. The guy isn't even a US citizen...

    • Its based on a prior agreement [wikipedia.org].

      • Re:Extradition? (Score:5, Informative)

        by BarbaraHudson ( 3785311 ) <barbarahudsonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 20, 2016 @07:33PM (#53119403) Journal

        And if it's not a crime in the country where the person being sought is staying, it's generally not extraditable. Canada is one such country where the treat with the US allows Canada to refuse to extradite such a person [mcnabbassociates.com]. Another reason in the same treaty is if the extradition is of a political nature:

        Article 4, section 1, subsection iii

        (iii) When the offense in respect of which extradition is requested is of a political character, or the person whose extradition is requested proves that the extradition request has been made for the purpose of trying or punishing him for an offense of the above-mentioned character. If any question arises as to whether a case comes within the provisions of this subparagraph, the authorities of the Government on which the requisition is made shall decide.

        Additionally, Canada can refuse to extradite in cases where the death penalty is in play unless the US agrees beforehand not to seek it, of if such judgment is made, not to follow through with it. And in the case of minor children, extradition can be refused if it is determined that such extradition

        ARTICLE 5

        If a request for extradition is made under this Treaty for a person who at the time of such request, or at the time of the commission of the offense for which extradition is sought, is under the age of eighteen years and is considered by the requested State to be one of its residents, the requested State, upon a determination that extradition would disrupt the social readjustment and rehabilitation of that person, may recommend to the requesting State that the request for extradition be withdrawn, specifying the reasons therefor.

        ARTICLE 6

        When the offense for which extradition is requested is punishable by death under the laws of the requesting State and the laws of the requested State do not permit such punishment for that offense, extradition may be refused unless the requesting State provides such assurances as the requested State considers sufficient that the death penalty shall not be imposed, or, if imposed, shall not be executed.

        It can be argued pretty easily that Snowden, Manning, and Assange all have a defense under Article 2.1(iii) to have safe haven in Canada, since the whole mess has taken on a HUGE political angle, overshadowing everything else. Unfortunately, Obama's [nytimes.com] kill list [wikipedia.org] has no geographical limit [democracynow.org] - it's fine to kill Americans anywhere in the world, even in the USA, in violation of their constitutionally protected right to due process. Looks like Obama is taking a page from Bush's "the constitution is just a damn piece of paper" playbook and ran with it.

        • The argument that the kill list has no geographic limit is misguided at best, deliberately misleading at worst. The leaked white paper [upenn.edu] specifically says (emphasis added):

          "This white paper sets forth a legal framework for considering the circumstances in which the U.S. government could use lethal force in a foreign country outside the area of active hostilities..."

          The Obama administration has never claimed it is fine to kill Americans in the US. It has claimed that what delineates the battlefield is unclear

          • Just because it "sets forth a legal framework for considering the circumstances in which the U.S. government could use lethal force in a foreign country outside the area of active hostilities" doesn't mean that it's going to be limited to foreign countries. Stop being naive. The CIA wasn't supposed to do any domestic spying either.
        • by jdavidb ( 449077 )

          Bush's "the constitution is just a damn piece of paper" playbook

          Sidenote: I was trying to explain my beliefs on politics to my son earlier this week, and decided to look up this quote on the fly while I was telling him about it. I learned that there's no evidence Bush ever actually said this. Although he did certainly act like he felt that way.

          I realize you're not necessarily asserting that Bush actually said it - but I thought you might be interested. It was interesting to me.

    • Maybe because Hollywood is in the US....
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Whats really ironic is he was extradited from poland.

      One of the countries that won't hand over roman polanski for being a guilty as hell pedo.

      rape kids? thats ok. put up a website? we'll hand you right over.

    • Re:Extradition? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @09:07PM (#53119797)

      /sarcsam Because America has the "best" government money can buy son.

    • by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @10:05PM (#53120015) Homepage

      Everyone seems to miss this tiny detail. He had a server running in CHICAGO. Plus they tied the site to his personal email address. So he wasn't even trying to be discrete.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Everyone seems to miss this tiny detail. He had a server running in CHICAGO. Plus they tied the site to his personal email address. So he wasn't even trying to be discrete.

        No, he rented a server from someone in Chicago.
        It would be reasonable if the US government decided that they don't like if people rent servers to criminals and went after the one who actually committed a crime in the US.
        The problem here is that the one who owns the server is a company and the US government have decided that they don't have to follow the law so they try to go after the individual in another country instead.

        • Using your logic I can host all the infringing content I please as long as someone else owns the hardware it runs on. I can also run over people with my car because the bank still owns it and they are therefor responsible. The bottom line is the court believes he was infringing copyright in the USA and sent a legal extradition order to Poland. What is the court supposed to do, subpoena the hardware itself?

  • by BitterOak ( 537666 ) on Thursday October 20, 2016 @07:05PM (#53119263)
    Although I personally don't think the "crime" of money laundering should even exist, it does exist and it is a criminal matter. Even if secondary copyright infringement is a purely civil and not a criminal matter, he is also charged with money laundering and could be extradited on those grounds.
    • have to disagree on the money laundering part. The creation of money laundering laws was pretty much essential to prevent organised crime from hiding ill gotten gains by pumping them through shop fronts, casinos and international exchanges and then labelling their proceeds of crime as legitimate profits or winnings. Casinos, banks etc were more than happy to be complicit in these transactions as they got a healthy cut, you can't just ask nicely for them to not do this.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I think the point is that everything covered by money laundering is covered by other laws that were existing at the time, either the root crime generating the ill gotten gains, or the account fraud that takes place with laundering. The problem is that it's easier just to make up magic new laws than do police work.

        • by LesFerg ( 452838 )

          I think the point is that everything covered by money laundering is covered by other laws that were existing at the time, either the root crime generating the ill gotten gains, or the account fraud that takes place with laundering. The problem is that it's easier just to make up magic new laws than do police work.

          I imagine that they got pissed off never catching the perp with his hand in the cookie jar, tho they could catch him later with the cookie in his hand.

    • This. Either the court case will barely even touch on IP, or if it does that portion of the case will be dismissed. However, they will get him on money laundering probably. Kind of like getting Al Capone for tax evasion. Not really what they arrested him for, but good enough to put him in jail.

  • But... eBay..?? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Friday October 21, 2016 @03:41AM (#53120749)

    I've never understood why KAT, TPB et al are considered to be the very epitome of modern day evil, yet eBay can carry on selling fakes and bootlegs by the tens of thousands apparently unmolested by the US authorities?

    • Intent. ebay is first and foremost a shopping mall. For everything you find on there that's fake, I'll show you 10 things that are not.

      KAT on the other hand was first and foremost a platform for copyright infringement. Sure you may say it was just about tracking torrents, but when the specific criteria and options presented are given only for copyright infringement and the daily top 10 is purely based on copyright infringement and they even provide you with a nice voting system to identify if the infringing

  • I am Kickasstorrents

  • ...of his extradition trial based on:
    • - lack of sworn translation to Ukrainian, so that their client can read it more directly than going through American->Polish->Ukrainian lost-in-translation sequence. (dimissed by judge)
    • - extremely poor translation of USA documents (150 pages) to Polish. For example movie title "Deadpool" was written literally meaning "A non-living swimming pool". Multiple other sentences make no sense or have a different meaning than USA original. (judge asked lawyers to present
  • How many counterfeit and copyrighted items do the USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc transport on a daily basis? Following the logic applied to torrent sites, these businesses need to receive cease and desist orders as well and have their CEOs / Postmaster General dragged into federal courts for actively aiding copyright infringement. The claims are totally ludicrous.

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