KickAss Torrents & Megaupload: Ira Rothken will represent Artem Vaulin, a 30-year-old Ukrainian website administrator working in Poland who was arrested by police for allegedly running the billion-dollar Kickass Torrents website.
Ring any bells? Rothken is the man who held the large hand of Kim Dotcom as he navigated similar waters, and was there when Dotcom celebrated some of the things in his case that were worth celebrating.
Vaulin’s choice, if it was his choice, is a good one, and we expect that Rothken will earn his money in a case that has reportedly already cost Hollywood a bundle in lost The Expendables 3 revenue and other stuff.
“Vaulin is charged with running today’s most visited illegal file-sharing website, responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1bn of copyrighted materials,” said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell when Vaulin was hauled in.
“In an effort to evade law enforcement, Vaulin allegedly relied on servers located in countries around the world and moved his domains due to repeated seizures and civil lawsuits. His arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cyber criminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice.”
Rothken told Ars Technica that he is up for the challenge. “[Kickass Torrents] is a glorified set of hyperlinks, very much like you would get from a search engine like Google,” he said.
“We’re not able to find any cases, especially criminal cases, where a hyperlink was considered direct willful infringement. We believe that the US case here is without merit and ultimately the folks involved with that will win as a matter of law.
“This case by the US is an attack, using the criminal laws, on BitTorrent technology generally. The US is involved in experimental criminal litigation and it’s designed to have a chilling effect on people using BitTorrent technology.
“If one were to go out and spider all the BitTorrent files they could find online … the same allegations could be made against that search engine, and we believe that’s improper use of the prosecutorial power. We believe that this case will ultimately be dismissed.”
Rothken has not spoken to his client yet as Vaulin is languishing in a Warsaw jail. We don’t know what the conditions are like there, but the suspect may take some consolation from the fact that Dotcom remains firmly placed in New Zealand despite efforts to extradite him to the US, and is brimming with confidence when it comes to file storage