The Ukrainian man allegedly behind Kickass Torrents — the world’s biggest online piracy website — has been arrested in Poland.
Artem Vaulin, 30, is accused of being the owner and operator of the illegal file-sharing site, which went live in 2008.
Vaulin has been accused of distributing over $1 billion (£755 million) of pirated content over the last eight years, including well-known films and popular music.
Available in 28 languages, Kickass Torrents grew into a business with a net worth of $54 million (£40.7 million).
Vaulin was arrested by US authorities in Poland on Wednesday because a server for Kickass Torrents was based in Chicago. He is facing charges of money laundering and infringing copyright. The US is seeking his extradition.
In a Department of Justice press release, US assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell said:
“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials. 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.”
US attorney Zachary Fardon added:
“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.”
“Our Cybercrimes Unit at the US Attorney’s Office in Chicago will continue to work with our law enforcement partners around the globe to identify, investigate and prosecute those who attempt to illegally profit from the innovation of others.”
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