It’s been two and a half weeks since the shutdown of KickassTorrents, the world’s leading torrent site, but beyond the US criminal complaint and the arrest of its owner, little fresh news has been made available.
In the background, however, the wheels turn.
As revealed last week, Ira Rothken, Kim Dotcom’s lawyer, will be representing KAT founder Artem Vaulin in his battle with US authorities. Rothken sees parallels with the Department of Justice’s battle against Megaupload, so in some respects the cases will compliment each other.
But as Vaulin languishes in a Polish jail, the work of US law enforcement continues. Part of the KickassTorrents complaint supports seizure warrants against several of the site’s domains, as listed below.
KickassTorrents.com has already been seized and currently displays the familiar Homeland Security/Department of Justice seizure banner.
Kastatic.com, a domain utilized for some technical aspects of the site, is also in the hands of the United States government.
Thekat.tv has been taken too and is being directed to the familiar SeizedServers.com. It does not currently display the banner, however.
All three of these domains were under the control of the US-based Verisign registry, which might explain why they were seized so rapidly. That being said, the Tonga-based Kickass.to also fell quickly into US hands, despite the ccTLD being a famous hold-out for all kinds of pirate sites. It too displays the seized banner.
Others are taking longer to process, such as the Philippines-based Kat.ph. That domain hasn’t been used for some time though, despite being involved in earlier legal disputes.
Interestingly, Kat.cr, the site’s main domain, and Kickass.cr, a memorable backup, are both sitting dormant and not yet directing to a seizure banner. The Costa Rican domain registry in control of them is staying tight-lipped over their status, informing TorrentFreak that local legislation forbids them from providing details.
“According to the Republic of Costa Rica Law on Protection of Persons against the use of their Personal Data (Law No. 8968), we are not authorized to provide information of any kind about .cr domains to third parties who are not the owners of the domain,” the registry told TF.
However, we can see from the domains’ WHOIS entries that one of them is sporting an unexpected update.
Despite all its troubles, somehow Kickass.cr has been put up for sale. Those interested in purchasing the memorable domain are directed to the SEDO marketplace where they are invited to submit an offer. After two bids the price being asked is a ridiculously low $230, but anyone is free to offer as much as they like.
While someone may be tempted to offer real cash (rather than our Monopoly money), it seems unlikely any sale will go through to completion. Firstly, the US government is determined to get its hands on the domain but separately it also shows some unusual markers in its status which suggest any sale won’t be a smooth one.
In the meantime, many other KickassTorrents-owned domains appear to have been overlooked or are of no interest to the United States. At least a dozen separate domains owned by KAT-related entities remain active. Crucially, however, none point to a useful torrent website.