As the largest torrent site on the Internet, KickassTorrents (KAT) has become a prime target for copyright holders.
In terms of daily visitors KAT is comparable to The Pirate Bay at its height, but there’s one key difference. Unlike TPB, KAT accepts DMCA takedown notices so rightsholders have the option to remove infringing content from the site.
Thus far the popular torrent index has processed more than half a million requests. While that’s already a decent number, last week many KAT users noticed that content had started to disappear at an increasing rate.
“In the past 48 hours over 200 of my uploads have been removed due to the DMCA. In the past four years only 100 had been removed. Does anyone know what’s going on?” KAT’s “elite mod” Politux wrote a few days ago.
“I haven’t uploaded as much as you, but I’ve lost 6% of my torrents to DMCA,” another user replied, before many more joined in to count their losses.
Ironically, the thread where the discussion on the takedown purge started was quickly removed. But that didn’t stop the complaints from pouring in. In several forum posts and blog entries people started discussing the takedowns, with some even threatening to leave the site over it.
Looking at KAT’s takedown stats we see that there has indeed been a significant increase in DMCA takedowns. Over the past week KAT has removed close to 30,000 torrents, which is more than 5% of all files that have been removed in the site’s entire history.
While the spike may just be temporary, KAT admin Mr.Gooner has seized the opportunity to respond in style, declaring February 1st to be “KickAss Upload Day.”
“Due to a recent rise in Torrents deleted because of copyright reasons and the mass of users rightfully having a grumble I suggested we should have a day like this as a ‘fight back’ if you like,” Mr.Gooner writes.
“A way of encouraging everyone to upload and let these removals go over our heads, to work together as a unit & to continue enjoying each and every minute of KAT and one another’s uploads,” he adds.
The idea seems to be catching on as the call to action has already generated hundreds of replies, with many uploaders vowing to upload as much as they can. On an average day KAT lists roughly 5,000 new torrents, but there may be a few more today.
Whether copyright holders are planning a counter-response is unknown, but based on the reactions thus far the DMCA whack-a-mole won’t end anytime soon.