TorrentFreak, a torrent news site, has revealed that KickassTorrents has been taken down by the cops and its alleged owner has been taken into custody for numerous crimes against the entertainment industry.
KickassTorrents is the world’s most famous torrent site that gets millions of hits every month. The advertising revenue for the KickassTorrents alone reaches up to $14 million to $20 million in a single year.
It provides visitors access to some, if not all, of the world’s premium content from industries such as the entertainment industry etc. But KickassTorrents isn’t solely used for downloading the latest and the greatest movies out there in the market.
The site is also used to download (and upload) sports matches, documentaries, music, magazines, comics, software applications, TV series, training courses, banned materials (audio, video or written) and anything else (like ISIS videos) that can be pirated and uploaded on KickassTorrents servers.
The website makes money through the use of advertisements that are sprinkled all over its web pages. For a nominal fee, it grants users extra privileges which include a no-ads version of the website.
Because of its huge success, KickassTorrents, also started to offer its premium users the ability to stream content directly from KickassTorrents instead of users going through the troubles of downloading files and then playing them offline on their computer.
The website even has a rating system where users who have downloaded illegal content rate the files they have downloaded. There is a dedicated comment section in which users engage in lively discussions about the pros and cons of a particular downloadable content. Users can also ask for help if they don’t understand how to download the illegal content that is present on the website.
In short, KickassTorrents is not your run of the mill shabby looking torrent website. It is a community where people come together to download content that has been pirated and then discuss that content in order to help each other out.
KickassTorrents also has a Facebook page (which the investigative authorities use to identify some of the IP-address the company’s employees used), a twitter account and a number of mirror/proxy sites to keep user access unhindered in case its main site is taken down.
So if you thought that you’ll be able to watch Ghostbusters this evening after work, then you are simply out of luck. KickassTorrents is down and most probably out.
The only good news for you is that most of your friends will also not be able to download their favorite movies, books and much more any longer.
TorrentFreak also disclosed that the owner of the hugely popular torrent site, Artem Vaulin, was taken into police custody following his arrest in Poland this Wednesday.
He has been charged with several crimes including but not limited to,
- an attempt to carry out criminal copyright infringement activities,
- an attempt to commit money laundering frauds
- two counts of criminal copyright infringements
U.S District Court officials in Chicago have expressed that a complained filed with them has shown that the total value of the copyrighted content that is available on KickassTorrents is worth over a whopping $1 billion.
The federal court in Chicago has also given orders to shut down the domain and repatriate Vaulin, the owner of the website, KickassTorrents.
Vaulin, who turns 31 in a few months’ time, is widely reported to be the owner of KickassTorrents who founded the website in 2008.
The owner who, agents have revealed, used the nickname ‘tirm’ for his email address, is thought to be the key figure of highest authority when it comes to operational and financial matters relating to the torrent site KickassTorrents.
Reports also showed that the site KickassTorrents had multiple servers running in its backend to keep the website operational during heavy usage. One of those servers was located in Chicago and that lead to the complaint being filed in the city.
The owner has also been accused of trying to hide some of the operations of his torrent site KickassTorrents, as the company has been shown to have used another company’s name (also owned by Artem) Cryptoneat to stay underground.
Earlier in the day, Assistant Attorney General Laslie Caldwell of the Department of Justice said in a press release that Artem made use of many servers that were located in several countries in order to avoid getting caught by law enforcement agencies.
In his effort to evade the police and the several lawsuits that were brought against his website, he moved his domains on a regular basis between different servers.
Laslie Caldwell also stated that Artem’s arrest is further proof that cyber criminals can run for a while but cannot hide from justice forever.
KickassTorrents was once one of the most visited torrent sites in the world. Lately, however, it had become, by far, the most visited torrent site on planet earth.
And if the reports filed are to be believed then KickassTorrents is the 69nth most visited website in the world with over 50 million unique visitors a month. Observers believe that its popularity is one of the primary reasons why copyright holders and law enforcement agencies have taken aim at the website.
Investigators have also made known that they themselves advertised on the website using an undercover identity which lead to KickassTorrents staff revealing the bank account the website used for online transactions.
As of this moment, the website cannot be accessed from any browser and it is highly unlikely that KickassTorrents will make a comeback like Pirate Bay did some time back.
One of the reasons of an unlikely comeback is the involvement of Homeland Security as a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agent has revealed that most of KickassTorrents data has now been compromised.
And with the help of companies such as Facebook and Apple (where Artem was involved in an iTunes transaction and hence exposed his IP-address), there is very little left in the way uncertainity.
Investigators have all the date they need in order to implicate the owner of the website and shut down all operations of KickassTorrents for good.
Some uploaders and users may legitimately worry about their data being used by HSI to investigate the matter further as the complaint filed with the court cites many private messages sent that were sent through KickassTorrents.
This further suggests that investigative authorities have sufficient data in their hands to make a strong case.
However, it must be added, that regular users of the website should have nothing to fear because in all likelihood, law enforcement agencies will only go after heavy uploaders who uploaded thousands, if not tens of thousands, of pirated content files on the website for other users to access and download.
KickassTorrents’ future will now remain a mystery for some time to come. We’ll keep you posted as soon as things calm down and relevant parties come out with their official statements.