Kim Dotcom Lawyer Will Fight the Feds Pursuing KickAssTorrents Case

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Ira Rothkoen, the same man who’s worked in keeping Kim Dotcom out of U.S. hands for the past several years, will also represent Artem Vaulin in his case against U.S. federal authorities. Charged with one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement in Chicago federal court, Vaulin, a 30 year old Ukrainian website administrator, was arrested just a little over a week ago by authorities who accuse him of being the mastermind behind the world’s largest BitTorrent site, KickAssTorrents (KAT), the world’s largest BitTorrent site. In a tweet, Rothken boldly announced:

“Kim Dotcom attorney to fight Feds ‘aggressively’ pursuing KickassTorrents case”

Vaulin remains in police custody in Poland. Following his arrest on July 20, The Justice Department first tweeted the news, posting a link on their site that says:

“Artem Vaulin, 30, of Kharkiv, Ukraine, was arrested today in Poland and is charged by criminal complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, 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. The United States will seek to extradite Vaulin to the United States.”

Commenting on the arrest, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell said, “Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials.”

Rothken, arguing about Vaulin’s case, says that he doesn’t see Vaulin’s case as criminal, and should follow the Grokster standard. Speaking to ArsTechnica about the arrest, Rothken likens KAT to a simple search engine:

“It is a glorified set of hyperlinks, very much like you would get from a search engine like Google. This case of KickassTorrents, we’re not able to find any cases especially criminal… where a hyperlink was considered direct willful [sic] infringement.”

The Grokster standard refers 2005 MGM Studios v. Grokster Supreme Court case, in which the Court unanimously decided Grokster and Streamcast could be sued for inducing copyright infringements for their file sharing software. Justice Souter wrote then:

“We hold that one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties.”

2 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    “Your honor, my client is shocked, SHOCKED to find out that the popularity of his website was due to its preponderance of infringing content.”

  2. Viv Savage

    Ah the same lawyer that lost the IsoHunt case and also seems to think there is no criminal secondary copyright infringement in US law, despite the fact there is. And that’s exactly the DOJ charge. Super lame. Second his legal strategy on Dotcom is ultimately self serving. It seems to runs Dotcom bank account down on easy stuff: New Zealand motions and procedures. Money might be better spent actually defending case in US. Unless of course Google/EFF defends Dotcom in US. A distinct possibility since Google’s ad networks were essentially Dotcoms bankers.