Less than 24 hours after the US government seized the domains of infamous online piracy website Kickass Torrents (KAT) and arrested alleged founder Artem Vaulin in Poland, the website is back up and there are multiple alternative ways to reach it.
Online piracy, whereby users log on to websites to find torrent files or magnet links to pirated content and then illegally download and share that content through peer-to-peer torrent networks, is a huge problem facing copyright holders, who claim to have lost revenue because now consumers can access content without having to pay for it.
Dealing with online piracy really is a whack-a-mole process for copyright holders. As seen from the ongoing saga with the Pirate Bay (previously the most popular online piracy website in the world before KAT took the title), even years after Pirate Bay's founders were prosecuted, went to jail and were released, the website still continues to flourish using new, ever-changing domains and mirrors.
Similarly, although KAT's main domains have been seized, the website is now back at the domain dxtorrent.com, and torrenting stalwart isoHunt has decided to launch its own unofficial KAT mirror at kickasstorrents.website. However, it is important to note that this is a replica of kat.cr, which was taken offline, and this mirror will not be updated with new content, or perhaps even be online for that long.
KAT mirrors might not be up for that long
The mirror website has been altered to include a message from KAT's supporters: "This is KAT mirror made by group of enthusiasts. We fight for Artem Vaulin's freedom. This site contains KAT torrent base for the last 1-1,5 years. If you want to archive some torrents from KAT now is the time, because we don't know how much longer we can keep this site up."
The website also links to a Change.org petition that has been set up by supporters of Vaulin and KAT, entitled "Free Artem Vaulin!" Vaulin, a Ukrainian national, was apprehended in Poland by the US Department of Justice (DOJ).
The petition, somewhat optimistically, demands that the DOJ releases him as the petitioners believe the DOJ should be focusing on terrorist attacks and combating diseases, rather than focusing on torrents, freedom of information and internet privacy rights.
Another key point worth mentioning is that many of KAT's key domains have already been blocked by internet service providers (ISP) in many countries prior to the action taken by the DOJ, including the UK, so savvy internet users routinely illegally download content have already being using an array of KAT proxies, and these proxy sites seem to be just as easily accessible as before.
"I'm sure all affected copyright owners and legal representatives will say that this is a victory for the authorities, though one person and one site constitute a mere drop in the ocean of torrented material found across the internet today," Comparitech security researcher Lee Munson told IBTimes UK.
"As any movie buff with an aversion to paying for their content will tell you, newsgroups are the best way to find the latest releases and many offer the tools required to stay anonymous too, even if a VPN isn't already being used."