Alleged Mastermind Of Largest BitTorrent Site Arrested

Nearly two years after authorities took popular pirating site The Pirate Bay down, federal authorities say they have arrested the mastermind behind another BitTorrent distribution site, Kickass Torrents. 

The Department of Justice announced that the 30-year-old Ukrainian man alleged to be the owner of the most visited illegal file-sharing website, was arrested Wednesday in Poland and the agency will seek to extradite him.

So far, prosecutors have formally charged the man with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.

According to a criminal complaint [PDF] against the man, he allegedly owns and operates Kickass Torrents (KAT), a commercial website that since 2008 has enabled users to illegally reproduce and distribute hundreds of millions of copies of copyrighted motion pictures, video games, television programs, musical recordings and other electronic media.

The complaint claims movies that were still in theaters have consistently been made available for download by KAT.

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The site, which launched in 2008, is estimated to have provided links to content valued at $1 billion.

KAT, which receives more than 50 million unique monthly visitors and is estimated to be the 69th most frequently visited website on the Internet, has an approximate value of $54 billion, according to the claim.

While KAT claims that it adhered to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the complaint alleges otherwise.

According to the filing, when KAT received notice-of-takedown filings from film studio and other companies related to possible DMCA violations, it would respond by claiming the request could not be processed because of a slew of issues, including that the request was not written in English language, there was no evidence showing that the content is legally copyrighted, or that the content was hosted on a different website.

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Criminal copyright infringement and conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison. Conspiracy to commit money laundering is punishable by up to 20 years.

[via ArsTechncia]

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