Kickass Torrents — the world’s top website for illegally sharing movies, TV shows and music — has been taken down by the U.S. government. And the website’s alleged owner, Artem Vaulin, a 30-year-old Ukrainian man, has been arrested in Poland on Wednesday (20th July)
The international bust is a massive blow to the online torrent community, where millions of people share copyrighted material without paying for it.
In a statement, federal prosecutor Zachary T. Fardon said: “Copyright infringement exacts a large toll, a very human one, on the artists and businesses whose livelihood hinges on their creative inventions.”
The primary method of file sharing right now is through something called “torrents.” A website like Kickass Torrents provides a searchable list of files available for swapping. Then a separate program, called a BitTorrent client, actually downloads or uploads the file.
The cyber crimes unit at the Justice Department’s office in Chicago investigated the case. The sealed criminal complaint against Vaulin was filed there on July 8. In the U.S. Department of Homeland Security affidavit supporting the government’s case, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement special agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan lists several examples of theft.
Some Twitter comments from the ex-users
RIP #Kickasstorrent you still the number one for all the internauts
— Hicham Chawling (@HichamChawling) July 22, 2016
End of an era. rip #kickasstorrent
— Gurkirt Singh (@GT404_) July 22, 2016
Government that steals your money & bombs kids will cage those who challenge their monopoly on the so called “Free Market” #KickAssTorrent
— Kyle Reese (@BloodedtheBrave) July 21, 2016