News Feds in Chicago charge owner of global illegal file-sharing site

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by dawg, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

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    ct-kickass-torrents-copyright-charges-chicago--001.jpg

    For years, the file-sharing site Kickass Torrents has enabled users around the world to illegally reproduce hundreds of millions of copies of copyrighted material, from hit Hollywood films to the latest video games, TV shows and songs, federal authorities allege.

    As the site grew into a multimillion-dollar business, its owner, Ukrainian-born Artem Vaulin, has managed to stay one step ahead of authorities, changing domain names and moving his servers from country to country to throw off investigations before charges could be brought, authorities say.

    That changed Wednesday, when federal prosecutors in Chicago announced sweeping copyright infringement charges against Vaulin, alleging he allowed the illegal sharing of more than $1 billion worth of copyright-protected material.

    Vaulin was arrested by authorities in Poland on Wednesday, according to the U.S. attorney's office. He was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed in Chicago with conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering and two counts of criminal copyright infringement, authorities say.

    The most serious charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

    Federal prosecutors will seek Vaulin's extradition to the U.S., a process that could take weeks. In addition to the charges, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert earlier this month ordered the seizure of seven domain names associated with the alleged conspiracy, court records show.

    "Copyright infringement exacts a large toll, a very human one, on the artists and businesses whose livelihood hinges on their creative inventions," U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said in a statement.

    According to the 50-page complaint, Kickass Torrents, also known by its acronym KAT, was founded in 2008 and is currently the 69th most-visited website, with more than 50 million unique monthly visitors. It operates in at least 28 languages, and has a net worth estimated at $54 million.

    The site relies on a network of computer servers around the world, including Chicago, Costa Rica and the Pacific island nation of Tonga, according to the complaint.

    Court records show that as part of the investigation, agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security executed a search warrant in January on KAT servers housed at the Chicago Board of Trade building at 141 W. Jackson Blvd.

    Vaulin, who used the online screen name "tirm," helped design KAT's original website and oversaw the company's vast operations, according to the complaint. Recently, Vaulin operated under the guise of a Ukrainian-based front company called Cryptoneat, authorities say.

    Over the years, KAT has been the subject of numerous seizures and copyright lawsuits, and has been ordered blocked by courts across Europe, the complaint states. Despite the legal action, KAT has consistently offered copyright-protected movies for download, including many that were still in theaters at the time, authorities say.

    In March, the Motion Picture Association of America estimated that based on the number of KAT downloads of just six recent movie titles — including the blockbuster "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" — it had lost more than $324,000 in revenue.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/...right-charges-chicago-met-20160720-story.html
     
  2. cg256

    cg256 Well-Known Member VIP

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    Reported for linking a torrent site.
     
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  3. WillyBest

    WillyBest Achiever Gold

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  4. Head Censor

    Head Censor Turgid Member VIP

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    I believe an appropriately sized "donation" to the Clinton Foundation should be sufficient to tie up these extradition proceedings, at least for a while. ;)
     
  5. dawg

    dawg In The Dog House Staff Member

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    I was just about to say that the people downloading illegal pirate movies are blaming Hillary and Obama that they can no longer break the law. Then you come rushing in :coffee:
     
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  6. lastlaugh

    lastlaugh Well-Known Member

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    I wonder how much, if anything from the smaller artists/content creators who are actually hurt by piracy was downloaded?
     
  7. DarkFriday

    DarkFriday Fired as a MOD...Twice. Gold

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    :mad:
     
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  8. Droog

    Droog Well-Known Member VIP

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    It's a losing battle. Torrents are already yesterday's news. The new thing is modifying one of those streaming devices using a home theater PC to stream just about anything. No need to wait for a torrent to download. People are out in the open selling those modified devices. I'm wondering what technology will surpass TOR, which is too slow to be practical for downloading movies and music. Something with that level of anonymity but faster is going to really fuck the authorities. They already have a hard time pinning down these sites and their operators.
     
  9. Bren

    Bren Bite me Gold

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    Boy im proud to be in Chicago..... Ugh
     
  10. Engaged Chicken

    Engaged Chicken VIP Extreme Gold

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    :rolleye:
     
  11. Bren

    Bren Bite me Gold

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    Chicago's so corrupt, I don't get why this is even on any radar . there's probably 20 shootings a night here and they're worried about the internet? Meh
     
  12. onefourthree

    onefourthree Well-Known Member

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    My feeling is that eventually this will be de-criminalized. When people can easily make a copy of something, how do we expect it to retain its value?

    In fact I feel it is immoral to expect people to pay for such "product." The people that make money this way have to accept the fact that it's not a good way to make money any more, and move on to some other way. They are just trying to hang on to what they are used to. But computers and the internet have changed everything.

    History has proven that you can't always make a living always doing the same things. Some things just fall by the wayside when a new industry becomes the norm.

     
    Droog likes this.
  13. blckknight60

    blckknight60 Well-Known Member

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    piracy is awesome
     
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  14. aerostern

    aerostern Well-Known Member

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    No wonder there are so many shootings and terrorist bullshit, this is what the fbi is working on ugh
     
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  15. rolltide

    rolltide Well-Known Member VIP

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    As a photographer and creator of intellectual property; I know I'm not going to get any sympathy here for my view but I hope that they lock the fucker up for 20 years+.
     
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  16. reno

    reno VIP Extreme Gold

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    Well, shiver me timbers.
     
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  17. DogStar69

    DogStar69 Well-Known Member

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    People who use that site weren't gonna pay to see the movie anyway.

    With Comcast owning half of everything now you can't even watch tv for free online unless you pay for cable, and not just internet you have to pay for their cable first.
     
    Mr Pink, Droog and GIRLY like this.
  18. DogStar69

    DogStar69 Well-Known Member

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    The only movie that got me out to the theaters in the last 10 years was Avatar and that's cause it was 3D
     
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  19. Head Censor

    Head Censor Turgid Member VIP

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    As my clean track record here might suggest, I really don't know much about how people who illegally download content might think or feel on any subject.

    But then again, one really doesn't have the first thing to do with the other, am I right? ;)
     
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  20. Engaged Chicken

    Engaged Chicken VIP Extreme Gold

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    That makes perfect sense. :coffee: