Just over a week ago, federal authorities announced the arrest of Artem Vaulin, a Ukrainian man that they say is the mastermind of KickassTorrents (KAT), which was the world’s largest BitTorrent search site until recently.
Vaulin, 30, has retained Ira Rothken, the California lawyer who has successfully kept Kim Dotcom out of custody in New Zealand since 2012. Rothken serves as Dotcom’s lead global counsel—his client still faces criminal charges over alleged massive copyright infringement on his now-shuttered site, Megaupload. American prosecutors have failed to get Dotcom extradited to the US.
Vaulin was charged last week in Chicago federal court 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.
“Artem Vaulin was allegedly running a worldwide digital piracy website that stole more than $1 billion in profits from the US entertainment industry,” Peter T. Edge, the executive associate director of Homeland Security Investigations said in a statement last week. “Protecting legitimate commerce is one of HSI’s highest priorities.”
In a phone interview with Ars on Wednesday evening, Rothken said that the underlying issues in Dotcom’s Megaupload and KAT are essentially the same—in that there is no American criminal law for secondary copyright infringement. After all, Rothken argued, both sites provided a mechanism to access content that may have turned out to be infringing, he said, but KAT, unlike Megaupload, did not even host anything. ”It is a glorified set of hyperlinks, very much like you would get from …