Kickass Torrents Defense Again Tries to Poke Holes in U.S. Indictment

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A week after a U.S. court denied a motion to dismiss the charges against Kickass Torrents owner Artem Vaulin, his lawyers have replied in a new brief that accuses the government of again failing to prove the shuttered site’s owner had committed any copyright infringement.

Last month’s motion to dismiss argued that websites like Kickass Torrents are "devoid of content files," rather, "KAT is nothing more than a search engine, no different in any material way from Google and other popular website search engines." It went on to say that "such files contain textual information assembled by automated processes and do not contain copyrighted content."

U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon responded several weeks later, rebuffing the search-engine analogy and arguing that torrent sites are inherently harmful to rights holders. "These indexed files enabled users to obtain copyrighted content from other users, including from the defendant’s own servers," Fardon said. "KAT therefore functioned like a flea market for infringing movies, television shows, video games, music, and computer software."

In a reply to the rejection, filed late last week (via TorrentFreak), Vaulin’s legal team said "no actual infringers or infringements … were alleged in the indictment. The [government’s] response fails to counter the overwhelming authorities provided in the motion to dismiss that the storage or transfer of dot torrent files is not direct infringement."

Vaulin’s lawyers also took issue with how the government pointed out that Vaulin and others were involved in sites that offer direct downloads or streams, including rolly.com, solarmovie.com and iwatchfilm.com. "More fatal to the indictment -- there are no facts alleged that such works were uploaded, stored, or downloaded" from those mentioned third-party download sites.

The government’s response also accused KAT of "aiding and abetting," meaning it  "sought out infringing material and trumpeted that to their users, targeting the infringement minded with rewards and honors for posting torrents for copyright infringement material."

KAT’s response to that response is that "aiding and abetting" was removed from the Copyright Act in 1976. "Aiding and abetting is applied to an accessory to an actual crime committed by a principal and no such actual crime is alleged in the Indictment," it argued.

The case is now in the hands of Illinois District Court.

Vaulin, a Ukraine native, was arrested on July 21 in Poland and remains in custody.