The world’s largest torrent website has been seized, with its alleged founder arrested by US authorities, in what is a comprehensive blow to the domain and the wider torrenting community.
Artem Vaulin, a 30-year-old Ukrainian national and the alleged owner of KickassTorrents, the largest torrent website in the world was arrested in Poland yesterday. The US Government is seeking his extradition.
Following his arrest, US authorities have charged Vaulin with criminal copyright infringement and have seized multiple domain names associated with the website.
The complete list of charges are:
- One count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement
- One count of conspiracy to commit money laundering
- Two counts of criminal copyright infringement
Assistant Attorney General Leslie R.Caldwell made the announcement, revealing that Vaulin had set up servers in multiple locations around the world and moved his domains several times due to several law enforcement seizures and lawsuits.
Vaulin is charged with running today’s most illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials.
The criminal complaint against Vaulin alleges some intriguing numbers behind the world’s most popular torrent website.
- The website gained over 50 million unique visitors per month.
- It was also the 69th most frequently visited website on the internet
- Its net worth is estimated at over $54 million.
- Its annual advertising revenue was in the range of $12.5 million to $22.3 million.
- The website operated in nearly 28 languages.
Furthermore, the website was already ordered to be blocked by courts in various countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, Denmark, Belgium and Malaysia, the complaint alleged.
As things stand, KickassTorrents and a number of its domains, all of which can be found in its very own server-status page, are all offline and unreachable.
The arrest and the subsequent takedown is certain to leave a void in the torrent community, as KickassTorrents was even bigger in the popularity stakes than the Pirate Bay.
Featured image from Shutterstock.