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“Nerd Judge” Questions KickassTorrents Case Evidence

Artem Vaulin, the suspected owner of torrent site KickassTorrents, was arrested in Poland last year for alleged copyright infringement in the US. Vaulin’s legal team is trying to get the case thrown out while the accused awaits possible extradition to the US, and a self-described “nerd Judge” is in the process of querying the prosecution’s evidence.

US District Court Judge John Z. Lee has scheduled an oral hearing in the Illinois Federal Court to assess the evidence against Vaulin following an initial hearing, during which Judge Lee confessed that he is “kind of a nerd Judge” and posited the following hypothetical scenario to examine the legality of Vaulin’s alleged involvement in providing access to copyrighted materials in the form of torrents (via TorrentFreak):

“I’m kind of a nerd judge, so I kind of like to think about things like: Where is that line?” Judge Lee said during the initial hearing. He also questioned whether his District Court even has the jurisdiction to indict the defendant, a matter which will be debated at the upcoming oral hearing. “I understand the defendant’s argument that the government hasn’t met that level yet,” the Judge added.

“So, I agree that the indictment is detailed; but it’s detailed in certain respects, and it’s not in others. I mean, it’s detailed in the way the site works, in the way Mr. Vaulin and his co-conspirators kind of – what sites they owned and how they – how they administered these sites,” Judge Lee explained. “But it doesn’t provide much specific detail as to – because I was looking for it, and I was ticking it off as I went along – as to what particular acts, copyright violations, took place in the United States that would bring this within the jurisdiction of the Court.”

Vaulin’s defence, as outlined by his lawyer Ira Rothken, is that the copyrighted material that the defendant is accused of distributing constitutes eleven torrents stored on foreign servers, which is not enough evidence to support a criminal case, he argues.

“They have not met that threshold in the four corners of the indictment, or more seriously, have pled themselves out of it by the way they articulated the 11 torrent files in this litigation, in this criminal case. They’ve pled themselves out of it,” Rothken said.

An oral hearing on the motion to dismiss the case against Vaulin is due to be heard next week.

Ashley Allen

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