Polish court says owner of file-sharing website can be extradited to U.S.

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By Marcin Goettig

<span class="articleLocation”>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, but Artem
Vaulin’s defense lawyer said he would appeal against the ruling.

A U.S. court indicted Vaulin, a Ukrainian, last July for
copyright infringement related to the distribution of more than
$1 billion worth of movies, video games, music recordings and
other content.

The indictment stated that for financial gain Vaulin’s
peer-to-peer file-sharing website, Kickass Torrents (KAT), had distributed since 2008 copyrighted works such as last year’s
film “Captain America: Civil War.”

Vaulin, who has been in custody in Poland since last July,
denies any wrongdoing.

“It is legally admissable to hand over the citizen of
Ukraine, Artem V., to U.S. justice authorities,” the District
Court in Warsaw said in a statement seen by Reuters on

Vaulin’s lawyer, Ira Rothken, told Reuters his client would
appeal on the grounds that so-called torrent files cannot
constitute a criminal infringement of copyright.

Torrent files are used by Internet users to download
relatively large files like films from a network of other users.

“We believe that the extradition request lacks merit,”
Rothken said. “If the indictment is defective then the
extradition request based on the indictment is erroneous.”

U.S. officials have alleged that the KAT website, which
operated in about 28 languages, had a net worth of more than $54
million and illegally made available for download movies that
were still in theatres such as “Independence Day: Resurgence.”

Vaulin has been in custody in Poland since last July.

If Vaulin’s appeal is rejected, Polish Justice Minister
Zbigniew Ziobro will then decide whether to extradite him. The
Polish supreme court may also have a say in the case.

Earlier this year, Ziobro wanted to extradite Oscar-winning
filmmaker Roman Polanski, a Polish citizen, to the United States
over a 1977 child sex conviction, but the extradition was
blocked by Polish courts.

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