In a letter sent to the U.S. Justice Department (DOJ), the legal defense team of purported Kickass Torrents (KAT) ringleader Artem Vaulin is pushing to have the charges dropped and Vaulin released from prison.

The torrent scene started heading down a bleak path when alleged KAT owner Artem Vaulin was arrested and charged with copyright infringement, among other charges. KAT, the world's largest torrent site, ceased operations recently, spelling trouble for the torrenting world. Not long after, Torrentz shut down without any explanation, bidding farewell after 13 years of serving as the world's largest torrent search engine, further heralding a dark period for torrenting.

The alleged KAT owner has been in prison since his arrest but has hired Ira Rothken as his lead legal counsel, significantly boosting his chances of release. Rothken successfully managed to keep Megaupload's Kim Dotcom free for years and is expected to pull off a similar victory for Vaulin as well.

Without wasting any time, Vaulin's legal defense team now urges the DOJ to release Vaulin at once and drop the charges against him. According to the defense, Vaulin cannot be held criminally responsible for the pirated copyrighted material potentially downloaded by KAT users.

The defense argues that allegations against Vaulin are baseless and the charges don't hold up. TorrentFreak has shared a letter (PDF) from Vaulin's defense team to the DOJ, requesting the authorities to release Vaulin from prison as soon as possible and dismiss the criminal complaint against him, albeit not mentioning whether Vaulin is indeed the owner of Kickass Torrents.

As expected, one of the main issues the defense raises is the fact that the potentially infringing actions were performed by KAT users and Vaulin cannot be held criminally liable for that as indirect or secondary copyright infringement does not have a statute under U.S. law.

"This alleged criminal copyright case arises out of an erroneous theory of criminal copyright law advanced by the United States that attempts to hold Artem Vaulin criminally liable for the alleged infringing acts of KAT's search engine users," Vaulin's legal defense team argues.

The KAT website only stored torrent files, but did not actually host any infringing content, the lawyers further highlight. In this context, any potential copyright infringement would occur once KAT users left the site.

"Defendants cannot be held criminally responsible for what users do after they leave the KAT search engine behind. The Copyright Act does not criminalize secondary copyright infringement," adds the defense.

Furthermore, the lawyers point out that several irrelevant, misleading and incorrect allegations made their way to the affidavit, misinterpreting how KAT and BitTorrent technology worked.

The affidavit also falls short when it comes to listing specific examples that would link Vaulin to the allegedly infringing downloads. Pouring more gas onto the fire, the lawyers point out that the only relevant infringement referenced is the one performed by a Homeland Security Investigations agent.

The fact that there are no specific allegations linking Vaulin to the infringements indicates that the purported KAT ringleader was not directly tied to the copyright infringing, highlights the defense team.

Considering that the criminal charges hold no merit, Vaulin's attorneys see no reason why the defendant would not be released from prison immediately, with the charges dropped.

Lastly, the letter to DOJ urges authorities not to interview, interrogate or question Vaulin, but to allow the defense team to speak with their client in prison at once.

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