One of the more popular torrent sites online just went dark and the reason seems to be one of the silliest. 30-Year-Old Artem Vaulin is the man reported to be behind Kickass Torrents, the file sharing site that recently surpassed The Pirate Bay in terms of illegal downloading. Vaulin had been pretty good at moving the site through proxy servers and keeping it online, but then he made the simple error of purchasing something legally on iTunes and giving away his location according to Tech Crunch:
The U.S. government has applied for his extradition after he was located after using the same IP address to make a purchase, presumably legally, on iTunes and then log into the KAT Facebook page.
Vaulin has been charged with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of criminal copyright infringement. The attorney general suggested in a statement that KAT had “stole[n] more than $1 billion in profits from the U.S. entertainment industry.”
The authorities used the Kickass Torrents fan page to zone in on Vaulin’s email, owned by Apple according to Gizmodo, and then passed through the channels to catch him. It’s a long line of silly, careless mistakes. To add some layers to this silliness, The US Department of Justice released a statement that is essentially a celebration of the bust and a warning to other file sharers still in service:
“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,”
There are many different areas and departments behind investigations of this type, that’s not disputed. But it does seem odd to be celebrating the bust in light of the many terrorist attacks the global community has faced over the past weeks and months. Some are already using this as an argument, but it should be noted that it isn’t meant to be some free pass to break copyright.
Torrent Freak is already asking if Kickass Torrents can make a comeback, with many mirrors and copycats popping up following the fall of the original site and its proxies. There’s also a fairly meaty revenue stream tied to the site, but Torrent Freak reports that none of these people are involved in the bust.