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Kickass founder might voluntarily face copyright charges in US

By | Published on Monday 19 June 2017


The alleged owner of defunct file-sharing site KickassTorrents has implied that he might consider voluntarily travelling to the US to face the copyright charges made against him and his former business.

Artem Vaulin was arrested in Poland nearly a year ago as American authorities moved to take the popular file-sharing hub offline. Efforts to extradite Vaulin to the US are ongoing, though an initial court hearing on the matter in Poland ruled that the Kickass chief could be extradited to America.

Meanwhile in the States, legal representatives – led by Ira Rothken, better known for representing MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom – have been trying to have the case against Vaulin dismissed, on the basis that Kickass was, if anything, liable for contributory rather than direct copyright infringement, which is, they argue, not a criminal matter under US law.

Vaulin was kept in custody until he finally secured bail last month. Now out of jail and living in Warsaw, Vaulin has been able to speak more freely and more regularly to his US counsel, and as a result they are in turn talking to the American authorities.

We know this because last week the defence in the US filed a court document, since published by Torrentfreak, requesting a ‘status conference’ in order to update the judge on various matters, including the ongoing extradition process, ongoing efforts to have the case dismissed Stateside, and the talks that have taken place between prosecution and defence.

On the latter point, the court document says: “Mr Vaulin and his counsel in the United States recently have engaged in discussions with the government to determine if the parties can resolve this matter, or at least certain significant issues like, for example, issues relating to the proper calculation of the sentencing guidelines and/or the possibility of an agreement for bond should Mr Vaulin decide to voluntarily surrender to the United States authorities and appear before this court to resolve the pending charges”.

Although that statement clearly makes no commitments, it hints at the kinds of conversations currently going on between the American authorities and Vaulin’s defence team. Though that doesn’t mean the Kickass man is currently in any rush to cancel his efforts to block extradition and have the criminal case against him dismissed. But more clarity on the state of play may be possible if and when the status conference takes place.