The world’s top torrent website, Kickass Torrents, was shutdown on Wednesday and its 30-year-old owner hauled to jail in Poland, sources report.

Kickass Torrents was for years the internet’s go to website to illegally downloaded movies, games, and music, and was used by millions around the globe every day. The US government put a stop to all of that, however, shutting down the website and arresting Artem Vaulin, the owner, on charges of copyright infringement, showing that the US is finally starting to get tough on those who break the laws abroad. It is estimated that Kickass Torrents alone has cost artists over $1 billion, and raked in over $17 million in revenue just from advertisements on the site.

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The charges

Federal prosecutor Zachary Fardon, in a statement concerning the case, said “"Copyright infringement exacts a large toll, a very human one, on the artists and businesses whose livelihood hinges on their creative inventions."

The US government will most likely ask Poland for extradition soon, finally bringing to a close a several year long case to bring Vaulin to custody. Vaulin consistently managed to avoid the legal noose closing around him by changing his website address numerous times, registering it in places such as the Philippines, Tonga, and even Somalia before finally ending up in Costa Rica, his final destination. As a cover for his illegal operations, Vaulin pretended to be an engineer working for a company called Cryptoneat, but this was in reality nothing more than a mere front for his massive piracy operation.

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Vaulin is expected to be charged with two separate counts of criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit copyright infringement, and conspiracy to commit money laundering, according to the Justice Department press release on the subject.

Apple and Facebook

Apple and Facebook both took lead important roles in the investigation, and were vital to the government’s attempts to apprehend Vaulin. The government first approached Facebook to find the login address he had been using to check his page. It was then uncovered that an @me.com email address, which is owned by Apple. Apple was only too happy to aid the Justice Department, and tracked that address to several purchases from iTunes, which lead them to an IP address. Slowly but steadily, the pieces of the puzzle were put together as the government followed the trail of breadcrumbs, aided heavily by Apple, until they were lead almost right to Artem Vaulin’s door.

Shutting down the website is of course going to be a major blow to those who pirate movies and other forms of entertainment online, but it is by no means an end to the trade.

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Already, some are speculating that another Artem Vaulin will rise up and take his place, with some of the more hopeful torrent users saying that they expect Kickass Torrents to be back up and running in no time. One thing, however, is for sure: the government is serious about catching those who break the law, and they are willing to travel the world to bring copyright infringers to justice. #News