2 Mar 2017

Court allows extradition of Kickass Torrents site owner to US

11:45 am on 2 March 2017

A Polish court has opened the way for the extradition to the United States of the owner of a file-sharing website to face charges of copyright infringement.

Kim Dotcom's US-based lawyer Ira Rothken (centre) in court as the main extradition hearing begins on 24 September 2014.

Ira Rothken, middle, who is Kim Dotcom's lawyer also represents Kickass Torrents owner Artem Vaulin. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

In a case paralleling the Kim Dotcom's in New Zealand, a US court indicted Ukrainian Artem Vaulin last July - who ran Kickass Torrents - for copyright infringement related to the distribution of more than $US1 billion worth of movies, video games, music recordings and other content.

Mr Vaulin has been in custody in Poland since July and he denies any wrongdoing.

His lawyer, Ira Rothken, who also represents Kim Dotcom, said his client would appeal on the grounds that torrent files cannot constitute a criminal infringement of copyright.

Torrent files can be used to download relatively large files like films from a network of other users.

The District Court in Warsaw said in a statement seen by Reuters that it was legally admissible to hand over Mr Vaulin to US.

However, Mr Rothken said the extradition request lacked merit.

"If the indictment is defective then the extradition request based on the indictment is erroneous."

US officials alleged Kickass Torrents, which operated in about 28 languages, had a net worth of more than $US54m and illegally made available for download movies that were still in theatres.

-Reuters

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