Business News Digital Legal Top Stories

Kickass man can be extradited, says Polish court

By | Published on Thursday 2 March 2017

Kickass Torrents

The alleged founder of the one time leading file-sharing facilitator KickassTorrents can be extradited to the US to face copyright crime charges, according to a court in Poland. Though there are still a number of stages to go through in the extradition process before Artem Vaulin is actually handed over to the American authorities.

As much previously reported, Vaulin was arrested in Poland last year at the request of US prosecutors. They accuse him of rampant copyright infringement in relation to his role running KAT and want him to face charges in an American courtroom.

The KAT man is being represented in the US by Ira Rothken, the same lawyer as Kim Dotcom, who is likewise accused of copyright crimes, in his case in relation to his former business MegaUpload. Efforts to extradite Vaulin have not been caught up in quite so many technicalities as with Dotcom who, despite being arrested in 2012, is still living in his adopted home of New Zealand where he is now plotting a second appeal after the courts there twice said that he could be extradited to America.

The Polish courts have provided an initial all-clear for Vaulin’s extradition much quicker than their New Zealand counterparts, though this week’s decision is just stage one in a three stage process. According to Torrentfreak, a second court hearing must also back extradition, and then the move must be rubber stamped by the country’s Minister Of Justice. Vaulin could then appeal the final ruling in Poland’s Supreme Court.

The full details of the court’s initial ruling on Vaulin’s case are yet to be published, apparently because of “the complexity and breadth of the case”. Vaulin himself remains in custody because, unlike Dotcom in New Zealand, he never managed to secure bail. Though recently he has been held in a hospital rather than prison because of ongoing back problems.

Back in the US, Rothken is attempting to have the whole case against his client dismissed based on that argument that – while KickassTorrents may have been liable for so called secondary or contributory infringement, by facilitating the infringement of others – that is a civil rather than criminal matter under US law.

By that logic, the American entertainment industry could sue Vaulin for damages, but the US authorities can’t extradite him to face criminal charges. For their part American prosecutors reject that argument.