Is It The Possible Comeback Of KickassTorrents? Defence Argues That Torrents Are Not Copyrighted


kickass-artem-vaulin-caseShort Bytes: The alleged founder of KAT is fighting an indictment against the US. His legal counsel has submitted a memorandum arguing that the KAT is a mere torrent indexing website which itself doesn’t host any copyright content. Also, the criminal legislation doesn’t acknowledge secondary copyright liability. Thus, Vaulin’s case should be dismissed.

It’s almost two months since we last heard about KickAssTorrents (KAT). The world’s most popular torrent hosting website burned in the legal fire of the United States. The alleged KAT founder Artem Vaulin was arrested in Poland with the support of Apple and Facebook. Currently, he is fighting extradition to the United States.

The legal defense of Artem Vaulin in the US has submitted a memorandum requesting the Illinois district court to dismiss Vaulin’s case. The defense, Ira Rothken, argues that the criminal copyright charges claimed by the US government against Artem Vaulin are faulty.

That fact that KickAss is a website that indexes torrent files and behaves like a search engine for the visitors has been illuminated by the defense. Moreover, torrent files themselves don’t include any copyrighted content. Thus, indexing torrent files can’t be considered as a criminal copyright infringement.

“Websites like KAT are devoid of content files. Instead, KAT is nothing more than a search engine, no different in any material way from Google and other popular website search engines, except that KAT indexes BitTorrent files,” writes Rothken in the memorandum.

“Thus, at its core, the indictment merely alleges that visitors to KAT may take advantage of KAT’s automated search processes to search for and locate ‘dot torrent’ files. Such files contain textual information assembled by automated processes and do not contain copyrighted content.”

KAT is a search engine like Google which allows users to find indexed torrent files.

If people simply download a torrent file, it doesn’t count as a copyright infringement. If there is any, it happens on the users’ computer which is beyond the authority of KickAss.

“Given the lack of direct willful copyright infringement, torrent sites do not violate criminal copyright laws,” the defense argues, referring to the fact that “there is no copyright protection for such torrent file instructions and addresses.”

The defense says that under the civil law only, it is possible to hold torrent website operators responsible for the secondary infringements committed by the users, as it has been observed in the past. However, the criminal legislation has no concept of “secondary copyright liability” which strengthens the fact that Vaulin has been indicted for a non-existent crime.

The defense indicates that there were no copyrighted media specifically mentioned in the indictment which was downloaded or violated the copyright law in the US. Also, the money laundering claims are moot as they depend on the criminal copyright claims.

The claim, hosting and providing a search engine for indexed torrent files is a willful direct copyright infringement, fails, the defense concludes.

“Any theory that a torrent search engine could be held responsible for the offsite infringing acts of its users would be a theory of civil secondary copyright infringement. Such a civil theory is not an offense against the United States and fails as a matter of law,” Rothken writes.

“Any and all counts that are dependent on criminal copyright infringement, including the conspiracy and money laundering counts, must fail. For all the reasons set forth above, the Court should dismiss the indictment.”

In the following weeks, the US government is expected to deliver counter arguments for the claims mentioned in the memorandum. The court shall take the decision based on that. You can read the full memorandum here.

If the defense manages to get the Artem Vaulin’s case dismissed, will it open the doors for KickAssTorrents to make a comeback?

via TF

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