Kickass Torrents' longtime domain, kat.ph, was shut down after the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines issued a temporary restraining order. While the restraining order has expired, and kat.ph is back in the hands of Kickass Torrents, the popular file-sharing site may never return to its original home and still faces legal action.
On June 14, Kickass Torrents was temporarily down, and users going to kat.ph were greeted by an error message, not the bustling activity of recently added torrents. Because of the restraining order, Kickass Torrents had to find a new home and quickly reemerged at kickass.to. After the 72 hours that the restraining order was in effect, dotPH, the domain registry of the Philippines, returned the domain to the Kickass Torrents' team. Kat.ph now redirects to the new site, but the domain could once again be seized, reports TorrentFreak.
As comments, as well as the swift action of Kickass Torrents, have shown, shutting down domains is a rather ineffective policy, as the domain seizure was a temporary nuisance, at best, for frequent users. Earlier in the month, popular movie streaming Movie2k was shut down only to soon reemerge as Movie4k.
While the torrent site could appeal the temporary restraining order, a new order could be issued by the court, once again shutting down the domain, notes TorrentFreak. Even a full seizure of the domain could prove futile, as Kickass Torrents has established a new home that's becoming as popular as kat.ph.
Emil Avancena, of dotPH, told TorrentFreak that domain seizures don't work. Avancena says the Philippines intellectual property office could learn a lesson from how European associations handle copyright infringers, by having Internet Service Providers block access to offending sites. In the UK, access to Kickass Torrents is blocked by six different ISPs, and while there are workarounds, blockades could be more effective than a domain seizure, as the sites still have their servers and domain shutdowns don't prevent these sites from continuing operations.