In common with The Pirate Bay, in recent months KickAssTorrents has experienced difficulties maintaining its domain names. Earlier this year the site moved from KAT.PH to KA.TT to circumvent censorship but within hours that domain had been disabled due to “technical issues.” But according to new information from the Trinidad and Tobago domain name registrar, a takeover was actioned due to concerns over copyright infringement.
While domain name seizures have taken a back seat to the ISP filtering blockades currently in vogue, two of the biggest torrent sites have lost domains this year.
The Pirate Bay lost control of its Greenland domain in April, and its Swedish domain is currently tied up in ongoing legal action.
And in a surprise move late March, KickassTorrents left its KAT.PH domain behind and switched over to KA.TT, a domain administered by Trinidad and Tobago. Ostensibly the move was designed to beat court-ordered ISP filters in the UK and Italy, but it quickly fell apart.
Within hours KickassTorrents had dumped the KA.TT domain and gone back to KAT.PH “due to technical issues”, but now several months later the precise reason has been revealed.
According to Patrick Hosein who administers the .TT TLD, an individual called Mr Schultz obtained the KA.TT domain for use with the KickassTorrents site.
“Mr. Schultz did apply for and receive KA.TT,” Hosein told TorrentFreak.
Hosein says he pointed Schultz to the .TT terms and conditions which state that the registry abides by ‘International copyright rules’. Clearly this became a problem.
“Once it was determined that [the domain] would be used for the KickassTorrent site we told them that this would violate our policies and they stopped,” Hosein adds.
The domain was subsequently deactivated by .TT.
Perhaps surprisingly, Hosein also supplied TorrentFreak with the full name, address and telephone number of the person who purchased the domain, although whether that information is accurate is open to question.
Comments made by Hosein to local media surrounding the KAT.PH episode also raise some interesting questions.
“The .ph registry (Phillipines domain) had to seize kat.ph because of legal action taken against them by the music industry. I did not believe that .tt should get involved in similar actions,” he said.
From a timeline point of view this is a curious statement. KickassTorrent’s KA.TT domain was shut down by Hosein’s .TT registry during March 2013 when the KAT.PH domain was still operating. The KAT.PH domain wasn’t seized by the Philippines until mid June, so unless Hosein was already privvy to inside information on the legal case, he couldn’t have known that seizure was going to happen.
While Kickass has since regained control over its KAT.PH domain, legal action continues. The outcome is probably a moot point though since the site is now operating under the Kickass.to domain.