After KickassTorrents was shut down July last year, several KAT-crew members regrouped in an effort to get the community part of the site back up.
They launched the Katcr.co forum as their new home and hinted that torrents could come back too, in the future.
And indeed, by December a new version of the site was launched, complete with the KAT look and feel.
Now, several months have passed, and the new site is still up, gaining traffic month after month. While things will never be entirely the same, the community doesn’t intend to give up its traditions including “Happy Torrents Day” which is penned in the agenda for March 30th.
In a message on the site the KAT-team has announced the sixth celebration of this festive day where people are encouraged to share as much as possible. Marking this milestone, we got in touch with one of the staffers, Mr. Gooner, to ask what all the fuss is about.
“Happy Torrents Day is to honor and celebrate the freedom and ability to share, to encourage users to share as much as possible on the day, whilst participating in various events within the community. We’ve known users to book time off work for the day and organize themselves well in advance,” Mr. Gooner says.
While the tradition is being kept alive, things will be a bit different this year. Although the new site has millions of visitors a month, the traffic is nowhere near what it was. According to the team, however, the most important part is that people can share again, freely.
“Our milestones for Happy Torrents Day are simply to share as many torrents as possible, more every year and celebrate our freedom to do so,” Mr. Gooner notes.
While KATcr looks a lot like the old site, there is still more work to be done behind the scenes to get it where the team wants it to be. The development of the original site took years and the current staff are working hard to get it at that level again.
The past months haven’t been without issues though. When the site first launched its torrent section it was unreachable for days, due to the massive attention, and even today there are some additional hiccups. However, things are progressing.
“At the present moment, the site design and code is not where we want it, system timeouts and overloads are present at some stages but as we mentioned it’s a huge challenge to start from scratch again. We are working hard on it,” Mr. Gooner says.
KATcr doesn’t consider itself a KAT successor. They are KAT. While the technical part of the site was previously managed by a separate team, the same group of staffers, uploaders, and users is still on board.
At the old site, the community was managed by much of the same team that handles things today.
“We are not the KAT successor – we are KAT and always have been. Kickass Torrents was never run by the founder, it was always run by Team Kickass, our Super Users, Translators, uploaders and community members.
“Every thread, team member promotion and site feature was decided by the team. The site was and is still running under the same command of administration, moderation team, and rules,” Mr. Gooner adds.
Bringing back a website whose alleged former owner and operators are caught up in a US criminal investigation isn’t without risk. Thus far, however, the new site hasn’t been targeted by law enforcement.
There are the occasional legal takedown requests, of course. The KAT team says it will fully comply with these, as long as they’re lawful.
“We’ve had some interesting demands such as supplying access to our database so that a particular agency can access and remove content directly from our site on their say-so. Obviously unreasonable requests won’t be entertained, however, genuine copyright requests are voluntarily actioned without delay,” Mr. Gooner says.
As for the future?
The KAT team intends to keep building the site and community, improving it bit by bit. If the original founder returns they are happy to hand over the reigns but for now, they plan to stay on their current course.
“Right now we are focusing on getting back to where we were. We fully support our founder and expect him to be released. If that happens quickly, we will go back to full site immediately.”
“If that takes time, we will continue to work hard, re-build the code and get KAT back to where we were. After that, we will just keep growing, sharing and fighting internet censorship. And the more they push us, the harder we’ll fight,” Mr. Gooner concludes.