With millions of unique visitors per day KickassTorrents has become a prime target for copyright holders, many of whom would like to see the site taken offline.
Among other tactics, copyright holders ask domain name registries to suspend pirate site domain names. For a long time the Somalian .so TLD appeared to be a relatively safe haven, but this changed last month when the Kickass.so domain was “banned.”
Initially the action appeared to be an isolated incident, but the .SO registry wasn’t done with the Kickass brand yet.
A few days ago the .SO registry targeted a new round of “Kickass” related domains. Kikass.so, Kickas.so, Kickasstorrent.so, Kickasstorrents.so, Kickasstorrent.so, Kickassmovies.so and Kickassmovie.so were all added to the ban list.
Interestingly, none of the domains were affiliated with the notorious torrent site. Kickassmovies.so, for example, was a relatively low traffic streaming site that simply used the Kickass brand to gain traffic.
A similar domain name, Kickassmovie.so, wasn’t even operational. The owner had parked the domain which wasn’t linking to any infringing material. Still, this domain was banned as well for an alleged violation of .SO’s policies.
“The central registry has deleted the domain ‘kickassmovie.so’. The domain was in violation of their usage policy,” Dynadot informed the owner.
The .SO registry isn’t commenting on its actions, but it’s very likely that complaints from copyright holders are the main reason. By taking away the domain names of popular sites rightsholders hope to frustrate and confuse the public.
To a certain degree this strategy seems to be working. KickassTorrents is currently hard to find on search engines such as Google. Instead, many users are redirected to scam sites where they have to leave their credit card details to register a “free” account.
Findability issues aside, the real KickassTorrents is still alive and kicking. The site continues to operate on its old Kickass.to domain name, which regained its spot among the 100 most visited sites on the Internet.