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Government Music Piracy The Internet

Kickass Torrents' KAT.ph Domain Seized By Philippine Authorities 122

Posted by timothy
from the corporate-cronyism dept.
hypnosec writes "Kickass Torrents hasn't been accessible since sometime yesterday, and now it has been confirmed that the domain name of the torrent website has been seized by Philippine authorities. Local record labels and the Philippine Association of the Recording Industry said that the torrent site was doing 'irreparable damages' to the music industry and following a formal complaint the authorities resorted to seizure of the main domain name. The site hasn't given up, and is operating as usual under a new domain name. The government of the Philippines has confirmed that the domain name has been seized based on formal complaints and copyright grounds."
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Kickass Torrents' KAT.ph Domain Seized By Philippine Authorities

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  • You know (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArchieBunker (132337) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @12:42AM (#44013333) Homepage

    You "editors" could spend all of two minutes to link to the new domain. Or is that too much to ask?

    • Re:You know (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @12:48AM (#44013337)

      Apparently, since you couldn't be bothered to do it either.

      http://kickass.to

      • Re:You know (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Sean (422) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @01:02AM (#44013379)

        Thank you for posting. Any site that has a link taken away from it by any authority should be linked to by everyone in retaliation for the censorship.

        The editors should have linked to it in the summary. They should fix the oversight and link to it now.

        • Re:You know (Score:0, Flamebait)

          by Camembert (2891457) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @01:27AM (#44013433)
          > Any site that has a link taken away from it by any authority should be linked to by everyone in retaliation for the censorship. Do you equal taking down a site that is an obvious ali baba cave of illegal material with censorship? Please don't give me the excuse that, if you look long and hard enough you may find a handful of legal torrents on the site.
          • Re:You know (Score:5, Insightful)

            by TheP4st (1164315) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:21AM (#44013571)
            You wont be able to find any illegal content hosted by the site no matter how long and hard you look, what you will find however are .torrent files and magnet links. Big difference but not one I'd expect you to be willing to accept.
            • Re:You know (Score:5, Informative)

              by TheP4st (1164315) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:33AM (#44013605)
              I should perhaps added that legality is a matter of jurisdiction "in the 2004 case of BMG Canada Inc. v. John Doe, court decided that both downloading music and putting it in a shared folder available to other people online were legal in Canada." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_aspects_of_file_sharing#Canada [wikipedia.org]
            • by jersey_emt (846314) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @04:07AM (#44013789) Homepage
              Long and hard. Hah.
            • Re:You know (Score:1, Flamebait)

              by jones_supa (887896) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:20AM (#44013901)

              You wont be able to find any illegal content hosted by the site no matter how long and hard you look, what you will find however are .torrent files and magnet links. Big difference but not one I'd expect you to be willing to accept.

              There's no practical difference. You clicky the linky at KickAssTorrents website, warez flows to your computer. My point being, the torrent files and magnet links are the only way to access the illegal content behind them after all. They are essentially a complete description, a virtualization of the files. It's silly to say that a torrent site "does not host the files" because they still make the sharing possible in first place.

            • by jafiwam (310805) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:31AM (#44014327) Homepage Journal

              You wont be able to find any illegal content hosted by the site no matter how long and hard you look, what you will find however are .torrent files and magnet links. Big difference but not one I'd expect you to be willing to accept.

              While technically true. KAT.ph has served up malicious malware-infecting ads and solicitations for what are obviously scams for a long time. It's not like they are saints.

              That said it was a good site.... I am not going to bother with the "alternative" domains, those sites always go down shortly afterwards anyway.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:30AM (#44013595)
            Links are not illegal, regardless of whether they are hyperlinks, torrents or magnet links.
            • Re:You know (Score:0, Troll)

              by Camembert (2891457) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @04:06AM (#44013777)
              Yeah right, it is soo typical if this entitlement generation to find excuses like that. If you accept that the material itself can be illegally acquired by simply clicking the links, what is the issue with taking the site down?
              • by tlambert (566799) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @04:21AM (#44013807)

                Yeah right, it is soo typical if this entitlement generation to find excuses like that.
                If you accept that the material itself can be illegally acquired by simply clicking the links, what is the issue with taking the site down?

                If you accept that the drugs can be illegally acquired simply by approaching the undercover cop and offering them money, what is the issue with the sting operation being disbanded?

                NB: In case you were wondering, me linking or not linking does not make my site illegal; you clicking or not clicking in a jurisdiction where you clicking would be illegal is an illegal act by YOU, not an illegal act by me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier [wikipedia.org]

          • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @04:05AM (#44013775)
            If there's no censorship, then there's no such thing as 'illegal material' in regards to information.
          • by Camembert (2891457) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:00AM (#44013877)
            Actually, while of course contrary to the opinion of many slashdotters, this was not meant as flame bait. On a general news site this would not have been modded as such.
          • by cffrost (885375) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @12:37PM (#44015371) Homepage

            Please don't give me the excuse that, if you look long and hard enough you may find a handful of legal torrents on the site.

            I'm not sure what an "illegal" torrent is, but you might be interested in this: Law and Order SVU S14E24 720p HDTV X264-DIMENSION [kickass.to]

          • by Sean (422) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:14PM (#44017871)

            I don't care what it's hosting. Censorship of any kind is unacceptable.

        • Re:You know (Score:5, Interesting)

          by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @01:45AM (#44013471)

          The editors should have linked to it in the summary. They should fix the oversight and link to it now.

          The editors are now owned an operated by a corporation. As a corporation they can be sued. As they can be sued, they aren't going to partake of legal action that might jeopardize their profits. This isn't like Digg or a dozen other sites that, upon hearing from their users they had caved to political pressure mounted a massive PR campaign.

          The slashdot of years past no longer exists. It won't take the chance anymore. In other news, what I really want to know is why torrent sites aren't going to .onion domains ... which can't be taken down by any government order. As a 'hidden service', they're just a new tor circuit connection away from restarting... no DNS, no jurisdictional issues... not much chance of finding out even where they really are. And the .torrent files and magnet links don't take up much bandwidth, unlike the P2P transfers, which don't involve the site anyway...

          I really don't get why they're sticking with blockable technologies... maybe they're just stubborn or trying to prove a point.

          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @01:53AM (#44013487)

            Why aren't they using .onion domain websites/urls?

            Because they don't work with 99.999% of web browsers installed today.

          • Re:You know (Score:4, Interesting)

            by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:41AM (#44013623)

            Accessibility. There are some people who pirate for a hobby, who would love any excuse to go cloak-and-dagger. There are also many, many more casual pirates who are just thrifty or lazy. If accessing a torrent site requires spending an hour researching and configuring new technology, they'll just find a different site - or go buy what they want legitimately.

            • by jones_supa (887896) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:34AM (#44013943)
              True, and that's why services like Steam make profit so well: they are just convenient enough compared to the piracy route.
              • Re:You know (Score:2, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @11:37AM (#44015021)

                Any more I only seem to torrent things that I already own. Often it is faster to just download an 'illegal' copy than to find the disk in a box somewhere. Other times I opt to just re-buy via steam. If they sold movies and mainstream software I would re-buy those too.

                The only time that it at all becomes morally ambiguous for me is when I download something that is cracked merely because the proper version does not work as expected. It is against the law to do so, but then again shouldn't selling a license to something that does not work as advertised also be illegal?

                • by jones_supa (887896) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @11:45AM (#44015055)

                  Any more I only seem to torrent things that I already own. Often it is faster to just download an 'illegal' copy than to find the disk in a box somewhere.

                  I know what you mean. I have downloaded albums which I own due to it being easier than going to my CD archives and ripping the original. With software though, ain't you scared of malware?

            • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @03:27PM (#44016673) Homepage

              It doesn't take a PhD to use the TOR Browser bundle [torproject.org], you could also direct users to a TOR gateway service like onion.to if you only care about protecting the anonymity of the site. I think the main reason it's not happening is because the current whack-a-mole game is not working very well. Search for any popular item + torrent on Google and you'll find plenty sites, public torrents usually refer to many independent trackers and on top of that there's trackerless peer exchange. It doesn't really matter where you get the torrent/magnet link, you'll be part of the same swarm. They can't win unless they shut down that down and if they shut that down moving the torrent sites to TOR wouldn't help.

          • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:35AM (#44014175)

            What? Someone linked to the site directly above. /. staff do have the ability to remove posts and as such are every bit as liable for links in the comments as for links in the summary.

            • Re:You know (Score:4, Informative)

              by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:50PM (#44016369)

              "What? Someone linked to the site directly above. /. staff do have the ability to remove posts and as such are every bit as liable for links in the comments as for links in the summary."

              No, they aren't. This reflects ignorance of how the law in the US actually works. (No insult intended. A great many people don't know how it works.)

              First, the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA -- the only good provisions in the DMCA -- free them from liability from any content uploaded by their users... as long as they don't mess with that content.

              Another important legal precedent says that if they DO mess with that content, including editing, censoring, or even top-down moderation, then they DO become liable for that content. Because then they are controlling that content, and if they control it they become liable for it. (Question: if you remove one "illegal" post but not another, why would you NOT be responsible for leaving that other post up? The law says you are. You made a choice.)

              There is an exception: if a DMCA take-down request comes from an outside party, then they may be obligated to take down that post. That's one of the many BAD provisions of the DMCA, because it imposes a sort of "prior restraint": forcing people to act before there is any proof or court determination of illegal conduct.

              So the upshot is: except for stupid parts of the DMCA (that is to say, most of it), they are far better off just leaving content alone, and not trying to censor it. They stand a much lower chance of running into legal difficulties.

              • by Sabriel (134364) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @01:26PM (#44022511)

                Possibly a dumb question, but does that mean any site that removes spam or has a profanity filter becomes liable?

                • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @06:11PM (#44024171)

                  "Possibly a dumb question, but does that mean any site that removes spam or has a profanity filter becomes liable?"

                  That's not dumb at all, it's actually a pretty good question. I don't know for sure but I don't think that has really been established yet.

                  But we do have a general legal precedent that says if you attempt to control the content, you assume liability for it. And it's actually a pretty reasonable concept, if you think about it.

              • by DRJlaw (946416) on Sunday June 16, 2013 @07:50PM (#44024783)

                No, they aren't. This reflects ignorance of how the law in the US actually works. (No insult intended. A great many people don't know how it works.)

                First, the Safe Harbor provisions of the DMCA -- the only good provisions in the DMCA -- free them from liability from any content uploaded by their users... as long as they don't mess with that content.

                Another important legal precedent says that if they DO mess with that content, including editing, censoring, or even top-down moderation, then they DO become liable for that content. Because then they are controlling that content, and if they control it they become liable for it. (Question: if you remove one "illegal" post but not another, why would you NOT be responsible for leaving that other post up? The law says you are. You made a choice.)

                A great many people don't know how it works, including you.

                The Communications Decency Act provides a safe harbor for editing/moderation. The section 230 immunities [cornell.edu] include an immunity for "any action voluntarily taken in good faith to restrict access to or availability of material that the provider or user considers to be obscene, lewd, lascivious, filthy, excessively violent, harassing, or otherwise objectionable, whether or not such material is constitutionally protected." This section 230(c) immunity has been interpreted by the courts to include essentially any editing decision short of creating content.

                Thus, if a service provides choses to "mess" with content, they will not automatically become liable for that content. Instead, they are only potentially liable for any content that they might add. When you combine that with various exceptions to the DMCA user-generated content safe harbor, most particularly "red flag" knowledge of infringement, most service providers have an incentive to moderate. They are usually not obligated to do so because proving that they knew that content was infringing is difficult, but they certainly are not biased toward leaving user-generated content "as is" in order to avoid liability.

          • by Paperweight (865007) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @11:57PM (#44019503)

            There must be plenty of .onion torrent indexers, not that I've checked because you can still access all the largest indexes quickly and easily with DNS.

            They're just playing a game of whack-a-mole.

      • by advocate_one (662832) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @03:53AM (#44013757)
        already blocked in the UK

        Sorry, the web page you have requested is not available through Virgin Media.

        Virgin Media has received an order from the Courts requiring us to prevent access to this site in order to help protect against copyright infringement.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:23AM (#44013913)

          already blocked in the UK

          Sorry, the web page you have requested is not available through Virgin Media.

          Virgin Media has received an order from the Courts requiring us to prevent access to this site in order to help protect against copyright infringement.

          Then try one of it's many proxies! [torrentproxies.com]

    • by Jonah Hex (651948) <hexdotms AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 15, 2013 @01:52AM (#44013485) Homepage Journal
      ... they weren't seized, at least not according to the blog post [kickass.to] 15+ hours before this story appeared on /.

      Moving to Kickass.To posted 14 Jun 2013, 14:42 by KickassTorrents

      We had to drop Kat.ph as a part of our global maintenance and move to Kickass.to. This was a hard decision, but it was necessary for the further development of KickassTorrents. Stay tuned for more news.

      Either way, hasn't screwed with their service, still working great. SickBeard Torrent version might need an update, maybe Couchpotato too. - HEX

    • by gothzilla (676407) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @03:01PM (#44016473)
      Why do they even bother with domain names anymore? Wouldn't it be easier at this point to just get an easy to remember IP address?
  • New Domain (Score:5, Informative)

    by cffrost (885375) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @01:07AM (#44013383) Homepage

    http://kickass.to/ [kickass.to]

    No https yet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:00AM (#44013509)

    DNS is one of the few old protocols still in use, but it's not irreplaceable. If you keep pissing of the people who grew up breathing the internet, they'll make sure that you'll have no say in whatever replaces DNS.

  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dido (9125) <dido@im[ ]ium.ph ['per' in gap]> on Saturday June 15, 2013 @02:37AM (#44013619)

    The .PH domain administrator, a certain fellow named Joel Disini [wikipedia.org] whom I once met several years ago, has been known to have treated the domain as his proprietary interest. He has vigorously resisted several efforts over the years to redelegate the domain to the agencies of the Philippine government and other interested organisations, ever since it was granted to him by Jon Postel in 1990, and he has taken a dim view of attempts to control the registry ever since, so I wonder what might have gone down behind the scenes to make this happen.

    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:04AM (#44014241)

      They just went over his head? It doesn't matter if the guy was listed as the domain administrator or not, the real control is at the DNS servers themselves.

    • by Jonah Hex (651948) <hexdotms AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday June 15, 2013 @12:45PM (#44015407) Homepage Journal
      I posted this earlier but it's buried, looks like no one else caught it though and it relates to your post:

      ... they weren't seized, at least not according to the blog post [kickass.to] 15+ hours before this story appeared on /.

      Moving to Kickass.To posted 14 Jun 2013, 14:42 by KickassTorrents

      We had to drop Kat.ph as a part of our global maintenance and move to Kickass.to. This was a hard decision, but it was necessary for the further development of KickassTorrents. Stay tuned for more news.

      Maybe they gave it up and the Government are now taking credit for it after the fact. Either way, hasn't screwed with their service, still working great. SickBeard Torrent version might need an update, maybe Couchpotato too. - HEX

  • by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @03:00AM (#44013649) Homepage

    Well... actually it's is calculable: https://www.dot.ph/services [www.dot.ph]

  • For someone who just needs a torrent every 3 months or so, this cat-and-mouse game quite annoying. How about making a Tor hidden service for things like thepiratebay, just like the silk road? ( https://www.torproject.org/docs/tor-hidden-service.html.en [torproject.org] ). I am wary of suggesting it, because it will turn the powerful media lobby against Tor, but someone is going to have a fit about Tor sooner or later anyway. In fact, Tor is quite extreme, because it allows hosting of *anything* without any possibility for censorship. Most people (excluding me of course) would want to be able to censor some kinds of (more or less extreme) information, be it porn, exploits, national secrets or copyrighted material.

  • by VicRS (2952423) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @06:17AM (#44014051)
    Nobody could tell this wasn`t over, maybe a change in labels revenue could be lot more effective. If that don't work, let's shift it to a local brazilian search of acompanhantes sp, sao paulo [slashdot.org] for a least some cool moments away from music.
  • by rally2xs (1093023) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:25AM (#44014159)

    ...to see such magic that everyone who acquires something of value against the wishes of those that created the value go directly to jail for, say, 90 days. Don't want to pay for movies or music? Then make your own. Oh, wait, whats that? You're a talentless slug that can't find middle C on any instrument? Well... that's the point - you pay people who know things and can do things to do them for your benefit.

    • by ArcadeMan (2766669) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:13AM (#44014271)

      You must work for the industry for suggesting something as stupid.
      1. You're asking the government to waste an average of USD$5887 [wikipedia.org] to incarcerate someone for 90 days
      2. 90 days is extreme for something like copyright infringement
      3. The real losses are nowhere near what the MPAA and RIAA wants you to believe. If they can sell a song for 99 cents then the actual damage for downloading a song is 99 cents, not thousands of dollars. You really need to watch this [ted.com] and get back to reality.

      Insane people like you are the reason why the USA is in rapid decline and under so much debt.

      • by coId fjord (2949869) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @08:19AM (#44014285)

        3. The real losses are nowhere near what the MPAA and RIAA wants you to believe. If they can sell a song for 99 cents then the actual damage for downloading a song is 99 cents

        Actually, copyright infringement causes no real losses; all it does is cause someone to not gain something, and even that is not certain. Yes, it is not even certain that copyright infringement causes someone to not gain money, and that is because it is also not certain that the person would have purchased the product if he/she could not download it.

      • by rally2xs (1093023) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @05:59PM (#44017537)

        Music industry? I don't have a thing to do with the music industry, beyond being an occasional customer. Naw, I'm just some guy that had parents that taught him that stealing is WRONG, and should be punsished. And 90 days would be insanely light punishment for STEALING - should be more like 1 - 5 in the state pen. But between that, and having my car broken into by thieves so many times I lost track, and losing 10's of 1000's of dollars of tools, ham radios, CB radios, and various optics, there's nothing that p's me off as much as thieves. Hate 'em. And you just try to picture yourself working 2 weeks per track on an album, and then recording it and polishing it and expecting to make maybe $5M on it, which would maybe be $800K per band member, and then a bunch of termites downloads the thing for free, and sales amount to $20K per band member, and you're getting paid less than auto workers for your time. Imagine that? Why would you make music for sale?

  • by rbarreira (836272) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @07:51AM (#44014201) Homepage

    I wonder if there's any visible impact on torrent traffic from this. Obviously torrents will continue working and many people will just go to another website, but there could still be a small short-term impact. Would be interesting to see.

    • I wonder if there's any visible impact on torrent traffic from this.

      If memory serves, kat.ph doesn't have a tracker, or if they do, they're one of several trackers per torrent. Also, because they're a public tracker, even if the tracker went down, most swarms would be able to continue for a while using DHT and other trackerless technologies. If kat.ph went down and remained down, by time the people who had files all had them seeded, the masses would move on to the next major public tracker, as was done with suprnova, mininova, demonoid, and depending on where you live, the pirate bay.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 15, 2013 @10:40AM (#44014795)

    Why do we continue to use the open-net for things like this? All sites should be moved to I2P or free net. The transfers could be done via regular net, but the sites not. Doing this would solve the problem of a single point of failure for the 'list' and the constant whack-a-mole game that is placed, and solve the problem of traditionally slow speeds thru these types of anonymous proxies which would put off all but the hard core paranoid..

    Its 2013, not 2003. It's time to change tactics.

  • by timmyf2371 (586051) on Saturday June 15, 2013 @11:26AM (#44014987)

    It now seems obvious that downloading torrents from a centralised website has had its day.

    Countries all over the world are blocking access to trackers and taking away the domain names, and the centralised nature of trackers has always been a weak point.

    What we need is for a major player, e.g. TPB, to step up the game and go TOR only (for website access - actual data transfer would still be over clearnet). By providing access via a TOR hidden service, you reduce or remove the possibility of the site being taken down, you provide a degree of anonymity for website operators and you have the added effect of educating the wider public about the private browsing benefits that TOR allows.

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