iTunes Purchase May Be Downfall of Pirate Website

FBI arrests Artem Vaulin of website KAT with help from Apple
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2016 6:48 AM CDT
ITunes Purchase May Be Downfall of Pirate Website

It might—might—be a little tougher to grab illegal downloads off the Internet in the near future: The FBI says it arrested the owner of the biggest illegal site on the Internet, with help from Apple, reports MacRumors. Artem Vaulin, a Ukraine native, was arrested in Poland and accused of running Kickass Torrents, better known as KAT. Visitors to the site could download illegal copies of movies, TV shows, and the like, in the manner of the well-known Pirate Bay. As Torrent Freak reports, the FBI nabbed Vaulin when Apple turned over his personal details after an investigator flagged an IP address used for an iTunes purchase. The same address had been used to log in to KAT's Facebook page, according to the FBI complaint.

“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials," says the Justice Department in a news release. It specifically cites the availability of Captain America: Civil War, currently in theaters. The department plans to seek the extradition of the 30-year-old, who faces charges related to copyright infringement and money laundering. Like other such sites, KAT doesn't host the offending files but provides links to them, notes Ars Technica, and it holds that it should not be held responsible for what its users do. The feds estimate that KAT pulled in up to $22.3 million in ad revenue a year, adding that one of its investigators posed as an advertiser. (Kanye West may have inadvertently revealed a little piracy of his own.)

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