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U.S. authorities seize Kickass Torrents domains

Artem Vaulin, who allegedly owns the site, has been arrested and awaits extradition in Poland.

Kickass Torrents appears to still be running. Movies currently in theaters like "X-Men: Apocalypse" and "Captain America: Civil War" are available for illegal download.
Screenshot by David Priest/CNET

U.S. authorities announced that they have arrested Artem Vaulin, the alleged owner of the most-visited file sharing site online: Kickass Torrents (or KAT). A federal court in Chicago also ordered that a bank account and seven domain names believed to be associated with KAT be seized.

According to the criminal complaint filed with the Chicago court, Kickass Torrents is estimated to be the 69th most commonly visited website on the internet, and has an estimated net worth of over $54 million. Between all of the movies, TV shows, music, video games, and other media it hosts for download, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell says KAT is "responsible for unlawfully distributing well over $1 billion of copyrighted materials."

Kickass Torrents domain names have been blocked before in various countries across the globe, and its main site appears to still remain functional. But if Poland cooperates with the U.S. in the extradition process, Vaulin will be tried in American courts on counts of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and two counts of criminal copyright infringement.

In a statement Wednesday, Assistant Attorney General Caldwell said, "[Vaulin's] arrest in Poland, however, demonstrates again that cybercriminals can run, but they cannot hide from justice."