Apple Helps Feds Bust KickassTorrents


US authorities have arrested the alleged owner of KickassTorrents, a top file-sharing website.

Artem Vaulin of KickassTorrents (KAT) was detained Wednesday in Poland and charged with criminal copyright infringement. He is "responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials," Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said in a statement.

The 30-year-old Ukraine native reportedly relied on servers in various countries (including the US), and moved his numerous domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits in Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, and the UK.

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

A federal court in Chicago ordered the confiscation of one bank account and seven domain names associated with KAT; the United States has requested Vaulin's extradition.

As TorrentFreak notes, a criminal complaint filed in US District Court in Chicago details the website owner's crimes, and reveals that Apple assisted in the case. Cupertino provided Vaulin's personal details after an IP address used for an iTunes transaction was linked with one used to log into KAT's Facebook account.

According to Engadget, "agents were able to obtain records from Facebook that showed the "official.KAT.fanclub." page was almost certainly associated with KAT."

For eight years, KAT has allowed users to reproduce and distribute hundreds of millions of copyrighted movies, video games, TV shows, music recordings, and other electronic media—collectively valued at more than $1 billion. The 69th most frequented website on the Internet, KAT even beat The Pirate Bay.

"Copyright infringement exacts a large toll, a very human one, on the artists and businesses whose livelihood hinges on their creative inventions. Vaulin allegedly used the Internet to cause enormous harm to those artists," US Attorney Zachary Fardon said.

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