KickAss Torrents, the filesharing site that replaced the Pirate Bay on top of the online piracy food chain, has changed Web addresses after its domain was seized early Monday. The hugely popular torrent site has relocated from KickAss.so to KickAss.to after a prolonged outage turned out to be interference from law enforcement.
Users spent much of the day Sunday complaining on social media that the normally reliable KickAss -- which provides links to illegally posted movies, music, games and other content -- was unable to process requests. Yet the shadowy administrators who run KickAss told TorrentFreak Monday that the Somalian domain registry that was hosting the KickAss.so domain may have blocked them following a copyright complaint.
The site was available again at KickAss.to by early Monday, though it could be a sign of the future that even the registry of the government of Somalia is cracking down on torrent websites. Founded in 2008, KickAss was originally located at Kat.ph but has repeatedly had no choice but to switch locations as law enforcement tightens its grip.
The site attracts millions of visitors each day, though the only comparable blueprint for its future belongs to the Pirate Bay. The Swedish torrent site relocated to domains based throughout the world -- at one point they joked about moving to North Korea -- over more than a decade only to be shut down in December, maybe for good.
It’s possible that the surge in traffic KickAss experienced after the Pirate Bay’s demise ultimately wrote the site’s death notice. Yet experts have expressed optimism that, even when it seems futile to shutter one site when others take its place, any disruption of the piracy chain is a net positive.
“Certainly when you try to block sites people will create new sites that try to relink people to that content,” Brett Danaher, an economics researcher at Wellesley College, told International Business Times after the Pirate Bay was shut down. “Website blocking doesn’t convert people to legal sales. When you block one site people quickly find those sites, but when you block a lot of sites at once it does seem to have an impact.”