Since its debut in 2008, KickassTorrents was on the forefront of the file-sharing movement. In 2014 it overtook The Pirate Bay as the top visited torrent site in the world, and stayed in that position until July 20, 2016 when US authorities seized KickassTorrents domain name and arrested its founder.
KickassTorrents is dead, may it rest in peace. The question now is, how long will it rest, and who will run it when it comes back?
Users of KickassTorrents know that the site has had a colorful history when it comes to domain names. At different times the site’s domain changed, from kat.ph, Kickass.to, kat.cr, and more throughout its history, all leading back to the same base content. With the arrest of Artem Vaulin, the site’s 30-year-old Ukrainian owner, in Poland this week, KickassTorrents as users have known it is a thing of the past.
Torrent Freak dug up the official criminal complaint that was filed in the U.S District Court of Chicago and learned Vaulin has been charged with a laundry list of crimes including conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and, oddly, just two counts of criminal copyright infringement.
The arrest was made possible due to the help of Facebook and Apple, both of whom handed over personal information, including IP address logs and iTunes transaction information to the authorities over the course of the investigation. Apple apparently even gave investigators private email conversations from Vaulin’s @me.com address. Torrent Freak has posted an in depth examination of the case against KickassTorrents, including Apple’s involvement, that you should read.
Of course when we say “KickassTorrents is dead” it’s important to remember that just because Vaulin has been arrested doesn’t necessarily mean someone else won’t continue the work in his name. For example this site has already launched. The question for people hungry to get back to using KickassTorrents is, who is running this new site, and is worth the risk to give it a spin.