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Operators of torrent sites remain defiant

[2016-07-27]

 POLICING file sharing on the internet is a task authorities will likely never be able to completely achieve.

Last week, one of the web’s most popular illegal torrent sites was brought down and its operator arrested in Poland following an investigation by US federal agents.

But one site’s loss is another’s gain.

Kickass Torrents was shut down after its 30-year-old founder committed a string of errors that allowed federal agents to track him down and seize his site.

One of the most popular torrenting sites on the internet, KAT operated in 30 languages and attracted more than 50 million unique viewers a month. It’s value was estimated at $72 million.

Since the domain has been shutdown (at least momentarily) users have flocked to other major torrenting sites.

According to Torrent Freak, The Pirate Bay and ExtraTorrent have been the main beneficiaries of the take down with the latter experiencing a 300 per cent uptick in traffic.

Before it was pulled down by authorities, Kickass Torrents was the 69th most-visited site on the entire internet so there are plenty of pirates looking to board a new ship.

Aside form some recent troubles which saw Pirate Bay pulled down for a number of weeks, the site has been a steady bastion of illegal torrents for those unconcerned about copyright laws.

Speaking to Torrent Freak, one Pirate Bay employee said they would welcome KAT users with open arms.

“When both TPB and its forum went down, we had overwhelming support from KAT users on their forum, and our staff were able to keep the communities updated on important news and announcements thanks to the help and messages of support we received,” she said.

“Reciprocation is only right and we hope KAT staff will keep us informed of any official news/announcements so that we can help to inform,” she added.

The torrent community remains defiant in the face of continued persecution.

For them illegal torrenting is more of an ideology and a steadfast commitment to open information than a crime, as evidenced by Australia’s Pirate Party which, among other things, warns about the overreach of copyright.

The operator of ExtraTorrent — only identified as SaM — which has enjoyed a swift rise in traffic in the past few days believes the KAT and torrent community will rebound.

“It is sad to see an iconic site go this way, and it shows how the torrent community is targeted by all means. But, I guess torrenting will prevail and this doesn’t mean the death or end of this era,” he said.