Last Summer, Artem Vaulin, the alleged operator of KickassTorrents, was arrested in Poland and the website was taken down. The US Department of Justice has sought to extradite Vaulin, who is still in a Polish jail. According to the Hollywood Reporter Vaulin has retained some of the attorneys working on behalf of Kim Dotcom, the alleged operator of another file sharing website Megaupload.
Like Vaulin, Dotcom is not an American citizen and does not live in the United States. Dotcom has also not been extradited to face trial. ArsTechnica reports, “Dotcom, while on bail, continues fighting his extradition from New Zealand to the US as part of a prolonged legal battle that could take another year or more. All the while, the US government has seized millions of dollars in Dotcom bank accounts in Hong Kong and New Zealand, as well as multiple cars, four jet skis, Dotcom’s mansion, several luxury cars, two 108-inch TVs, three 82-inch TVs, a $10,000 watch, and a photograph by Olaf Mueller worth more than $100,000.”
To further complicate matters, Dotcom is being prevented from challenging the asset forfeiture on the grounds, according to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, that he’s a fugitive. And by “fugitive” the Court simply means, he’s not coming into a country that he’s never been to. His lawyers further argue that Kim Dotcom “isn’t a fugitive because he is lawfully challenging his extradition in the New Zealand courts.”
Similarly to Kim Dotcom, Judge John Z. Lee, from the District Court for Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, recently ruled that Artem Vaulin “is actively resisting extradition efforts,” by which the judge means Vaulin “is actively appealing the Polish courts’ decision to extradite.”
To further compound matters, the judge acknowledges that Vaulin’s alleged crimes are not actually crimes under US law, writing, “Vaulin is correct that, as a general matter, the Copyright Act does not apply extraterritorially to reach acts of infringement that occur entirely abroad.” However Judge Lee adds, “When viewed in a light most favorable to the Government, as the Court must do at this preliminary stage, the indictment alleges acts of domestic infringement.”
TorrentFreak reports, “Vaulin’s defense noted that the Government’s theory could expose other search engines, such as Google, to criminal liability.” Judge Lee rejected this piece of logic from the defense and ruled, “the Court need not decide whether and when a search engine operator might engage in conduct sufficient to constitute aiding and abetting criminal copyright infringement.” Noting that his decision was about this specific case.
Ira Rothken, an attorney representing both Vaulin & Dotcom, is reportedly disappointed with the ruling from Judge Lee, saying “If federal judges disagree on the state of the federal copyright law then people shouldn’t be criminally prosecuted absent clarification by Congress.”
Even with clarification from Congress, no one should be criminally prosecuted for sharing information, because sharing is an act of love and love is not subject to law!