As much as people like to watch Judge Judy hand out court orders to people on a TV show inside fifteen minutes, no one really wants to be her best buddy (unless they want a tax break maybe!).
In other words, people who are known to the public as “judges” aren’t people who dole out happiness amongst the public on a regular basis.
In an effort to further solidify that notion, another of our “judge” friend has questioned the evidence brought forward to the court in the infamous case of KickassTorrents from 2016.
We all know that the owner of KickassTorrents Artem Vaulin is in jail. And his legal team is trying desperately hard to prove to the public and to the court that Artem Vaulin is actually the “alleged” owner of the website and not the actual owner of the website.
Failing that, his legal team also has a second line of defense, which is that piracy isn’t really a big issue since Google does it on a regular basis by showing people results from all over the internet regardless of the fact if they have plagiarized that content or not.
Moreover, the legal team of Artem Vaulin also have another backup plan. Well, it shouldn’t be called a backup plan considering what it consists off but here we go.
Right now, the legal team is trying to make the court, dismiss the criminal case against Artem Vaulin in the United States District court.
In relation to that case, Judge John Z.Lee is expected to hold an oral hearing of the Vaulin Artem case sometime next week in order to discuss Artem’s legal team’s request. At least that is what is one the schedule. Of course, anything can happen between now and that “sometime” next week.
The Judge, John Z. Lee, interestingly enough, has also called into question something objectionable, in his mind, on his own side, apparently.
John Z. Lee is of the opinion that it is unclear based on the evidence that has been submitted to the court whether the United States Government even has sufficient jurisdiction to handle the case against Artem Vaulin.
Of course, the judge’s opinion could have mattered much more had he voiced it the moment law enforcement agencies along with local authorities arrested Artem Vaulin in Poland last summer.
Artem Vaulin was (quickly) declared the alleged owner of the site KickassTorrents (which was the world’s number one torrent site in terms of popularity, content and visitor count) and was taken into custody.
Artem has been in custody ever since and has not been able to get sufficient legal help from his legal team in the United States of America. It is believed that the United States government want to extradite Artem Vaulin to the United States and then convict him for mass scale copyright violations along with dissemination of copyright material.
Of course, his legal team disputes everything that is being purported by the US government and their representatives in the media, but it is safe to assume and their protest over the unfair treatment of Artem Vaulin as a criminal even before the court’s order isn’t going to make much of a difference if any.
Nevertheless, as mentioned earlier in the article as well, that has not stopped Artem Vaulin’s team from trying their absolute best to try and keep him out of jail. Preferably, out of the court in the United States as well.
The extradition process related to Artem Vaulin is still yet to start. In fact, all the involved parties have been made to wait quite a while for proceedings to being in a timely fashion, which they haven’t/
Artem Vaulin’s legal team, which must be getting paid a lot of money considering how much effort they are putting into the matter in order to ensure that their client stays out of jail for good, have now requested the federal court in Illinois to dismiss the criminal case against Artem Vaulin altogether. In its entirety!
Quite recently, District Court Judge John Z. lee, after some discussion one has to assume, agreed to an oral argument between the two parties involved.
In a recent hearing it was decided that sometime around next week, both Artem’s (alleged owner of KickassTorrents) and US government’s legal team would be allowed to have some kind of an oral argument between themselves to sort out some details regarding the case.
Representatives from the United States government have already formally charged Artem of KickassTorrents of a rather serious crime.
Which is copyright infringement and dissemination of copyrighted content?
During the hearing though, Judge Lee, who is a self-proclaimed “kind of nerd Judge” asked Artem’s side along with the US government’s side to talk, in detail, more about the arguments involved and the evidence provided.
Quite naturally, Artem of KickassTorrents’ legal team continued to stress the point that the US indictment of Artem failed to specify any kind of copyrighted media.
That is, any kind of copyrighted media that could be proved to have been downloaded or even infringed in the United States of America.
And because that question has so far gone unanswered from the other side, Artem of KickassTorrents’ legal team argues, the United States government’s unfounded claim of deliberate and direct copyright infringement act (which is in itself a criminal case) for managing and operating a piracy site, torrent site to be more specific, fall short. In fact fails, according to Artem of KickassTorrents’ legal team.
Some readers might find it surprisingly “nerdy” to know that during the official hearing, District Court judge John Z. Lee talked about something peculiar in order to get a real feeling of the case in terms of what kind of action could be considered to be an infringing action and what type of action, specifically, could be deemed as criminal in the sight of the defense team.
He also asked, conversely, what could not be considered any of the two actions stated above.
The Judge specifically asked whether it was considered as a criminal violation of the Copyright Act for someone to accept or offer, depending on one’s perspective, a total of $100 in exchange for a Rogue One torrent file.
Of course, no one should understand this as the judge trying to promote copyright violation or in any way encouraging people to do the same and feel good about themselves just because they have paid for a copy of the specified film.
The question was asked purely on the basis of a hypothetical situation or example.
Artem Vaulin of KickassTorrents’ legal defense team’s lawyer replied with a firm no. The lawyer from Artem’s legal defense team was of the opinion that the action Judge John Z. Lee described could be, at the worst, considered as a misdemeanor if one had to go for a definitive answer.
Being a “nerdy” judge in his own word, Judge John Z. Lee continued to make up more hypothetical examples and asked more question of Vaulin’s legal defense team.
Perhaps this is a good time to mention that Judge John Z.Lee’s examples were extreme most of the time.
The reason behind asking for clarification to extreme copyright infringement examples is simple. The Judge simply wants to gain a better understanding of the situation at hand. The second reason could be the judge trying his level best to try to find out what could be considered as a threshold level of an action to be considered as a criminal act by law.
During the hearing, Judge John Z. Lee stated that he was kind of a nerd judge and hence liked to, kind of, think about the situation at hand in order to gauge where was that line after which one’s act of copyright infringement could be considered to be a criminal act.
Of course, the hypothetical questions and cases asked by the judge to Artem Vaulin’s legal defense team were not necessarily related or even applicable to the case at hand.
And perhaps that was the reason why the Judge made it clear to both sides during the hearing that he was not entirely sure whether Artem’s case, the case presented in the court, that was brought forward in the US indictment was sufficient for the respected court to have authority or legal dominion over the accused, ie. Artem of KickassTorrents.
Judge John Z. Lee further added that he completely understood the defendant’s argument that the United States government had not been able to meet that level yet.
In other words, the Judge was able to point out issues such as the ones discussed during the hearing and some other issues could be discussed, or rather should be discussed if we’re talking from Artem’s legal defense team’s point of view, in the oral hearing that was scheduled to be held sometime next week.
As mentioned before, the US government brought forward plenty of “evidence” in the indictment of Artem Vaulin. The indictment actually had a detailed description of lots of things that were related to Artem Vaulin, the least of which were his relation to KickassTorrents and the actual operation of KickassTorrents.
Judge John Z.Lee, however, did not look convinced and actually questioned if there was enough evidence presented to the court by the Department of Justice and whether the submitted evidence concretely proved that copyright infringements did indeed take place from inside the United States while KickassTorrents was up and running as the world’s most visited torrent site in the last couple of years.
Judge John Z Lee said that he (somewhat considering he questioned the evidence before) that the US indictment was detailed, but it was detailed in some respect and was not so much detailed in other aspects.
He further added, what he meant by his previous statement was that the indictment from US government was detailed in the way KickassTorrents worked and in the way Artem Vaulin and his buddies (co-conspirators, more specifically) did with the sites they owned and how they went about administrating these torrent sites (piracy sites).
Then the judge said what he wasn’t so sure about was what were the kind of acts, particular ones rather than generalizations, and copyright violations that took place in the United States which would sufficiently bring the case within the proper jurisdiction of the court.
He specifically mentioned that he was looking for such kind of details while going through the report and was ticking off checkboxes to keep a record as he went along but he did not come across many specific details about specific acts within the jurisdiction of United States of America.
William Ridgway, who is involved in the case as a United States Attorney, responded to the queries presented by the judge and assured the court by saying that the actual evidence of dissemination, in other words distribution, of copyright material which could have been considered as copyright infringement would definitely be provided to the court at the actual trial.
On the other hand, Ira Rothken, who also works as a defense lawyer, said the argument presented were not that convincing.
While pointed out the problem, he said that copyright infringing content, or material, which were specifically mentioned in the United States indictment was deliberately limited to just eleven torrent files.
These eleven torrent files were stored on servers that were located in foreign lands, i.e they were foreign servers.
And according to his study and experience, the fact that copyrighted content was stored on foreign servers, made the case brought forward against Arteam Vaulin of KickassTorrents not of sufficiently high standards for the US government to go after Artem Vaulin of KickassTorrents and bring forward criminal case against the alleged owner of the torrent site, KickassTorrents.
Rothken further noted that the representatives of the US government had not met that standard of threshold which was required in the four corners of the US indictment.
He also said that the other side had basically pled themselves out of the case simply by the way they had articulated the eleven torrent files that were brought forward in relation to this litigation, in this criminal case.
He reiterated that the other side had indeed pled themselves out of it.
As mentioned earlier in the article as well, the scheduled official hearing regarding the motion to dismiss the criminal case against Artem Vaulin of KickassTorrents will proceed sometime next week.
When that eventually happens, both sides involved in the case against Artem Vaulin of KickassTorrents will have to argue for their position in a timely manner and after that, it is expected, that Judge John Z. Lee will have little choice other than to firmly decide whether the criminal case against Artem Vaulin of KickassTorrents can go into a more advanced position, that is forward, or if it is weak enough to be thrown out of the court for good and save everybody a lot of time and legal fees.
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