Type of site
|Torrent directory, magnet links provider|
|Available in||Multilingual (30+ languages, English primary language)|
|Users||Over 1 million per day (August 2015)|
|Part of a series on|
|Video sharing sites|
|File sharing networks|
|Anonymous file sharing|
|Development and societal aspects|
|By country or region|
KickassTorrents (commonly abbreviated KAT) was a website that provided a directory for torrent files and magnet links to facilitate peer-to-peer file sharing using the BitTorrent protocol. It was founded in 2008 and by November 2014, KAT became the most visited BitTorrent directory in the world, overtaking The Pirate Bay, according to the site's Alexa ranking.KAT went offline on 20 July 2016 when the domain was seized by the U.S. government. The site's proxy servers were shut down by its staff at the same time.
In December 2016, former KAT staff members revived the KAT community by creating a website with its predecessor's features and appearance.
KAT was initially launched in November 2008 at the domain name kickasstorrents.com. In April 2011, it moved to a Philippine domain kat.ph after a series of domain name seizures by the US Department of Justice against Demonoid and Torrentz.The site later moved across several different domains, which the operators planned to do every six months, including ka.tt, kickass.to, kickass.so, kickasstorrents.im and kat.cr.
In June 2016, KAT added an official Tor network .onion address.
KickassTorrents on its website claimed that it complied with the DMCA and it removed infringing torrents reported by content owners.
On February 28, 2013, Internet service providers (ISPs) in the United Kingdom were ordered by the High Court in London to block access to KickassTorrents, along with two other torrent sites. Judge Richard Arnold ruled that the site's design contributed to copyright infringement.On 14 June, the domain name was changed to Tonga domain name kickass.to as a part of the site's regular domain change.
Later on 23 June, KAT was delisted from Google at the request of the MPAA.In late August 2013, KAT was blocked by Belgian ISPs. In January 2014, several Irish ISPs started blocking KAT, and in February, Twitter started blocking links to KAT, although this was stopped after a few days. In June 2014, KAT was blocked in Malaysia by the Communications and Multimedia Commission for violating copyright law.
In December 2014, the site moved to the Somalia domain name kickass.so, reportedly as a result of site's regular domain change.On 9 February 2015, kickass.so was listed as "banned" on Whois, causing the site to go offline. Later that day, the site reverted to its former domain name kickass.to. On 14 February 2015, it was found that messages mentioning "kickass.to" were blocked on Steam chat, but "kickass.so" and other popular torrent websites were not blocked, only flagged as "potentially malicious".
On 23 April 2015, the site moved to the Isle of Man-based domain kickasstorrents.imbut was quickly taken down later that day and on 24 April it was moved to the Costa Rica based domain name kat.cr. By July 2015, the kat.cr address had been removed from Google Search's results. After the removal, the top Google search result for KAT in many locations pointed to a fake KAT site that prompted visitors to download malware.
In October 2015, Portugal bypassed its courts by making a voluntary agreement between ISPs, rightsholders and the Ministry of Culture to block access to KAT and most of the other popular BitTorrent websites.At the same time, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox blocked access to KAT because of security concerns with some of the ads pointing to malware. In April 2016, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox blocked KAT due to phishing concerns. Both blocks were later removed after KAT dealt with the concerns.
One of the main domains of the site went up for sale in August 2016.
On 20 July 2016, the United States Department of Justice announced that it had seized the KAT.cr domain and had identified its alleged owner. Artem Vaulin (Ukrainian : Артем Ваулін), a 30-year-old Ukrainian man known online as "tirm", was detained in Poland after being charged with a four-count U.S. criminal indictment. The remaining domains were taken offline voluntarily after the KAT.cr domain name was seized. Following the seizure of the original KAT domain multiple unofficial mirrors have been put online. These have no connection to the original team who have been urging users to exercise caution. A number of these mirrors have since been taken down.
Vaulin was arrested after investigators cross-referenced an IP address he used for an iTunes transaction with an IP address used to log into KAT's Facebook page. The FBI also posed as an advertiser and obtained details of a bank account associated with the site.The investigation was led by special agent Jared Der-Yeghiayan, who also tracked down Ross Ulbricht, the operator of the online black market Silk Road.
The criminal complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois by Homeland Security Investigations, said that it was in possession of full copies of KAT's hard drives, including its email server. The investigation suggested that KAT made over $12 million per year in advertising revenue.
In late August 2016, the Department of Justice followed the complaint with a full grand jury indictment of Vaulin and two other defendants, Ievgen Kutsenko and Oleksandr Radostin; while Vaulin was still being held in Polish prison.Vaulin has both a Polish and US legal representation Ira Rothken as his lawyers to handle the allegations. In November 2016, a Polish appeals court refused to allow bail for Vaulin, stating the evidence provided by the US is sufficient to keep him in prison.
In mid-December 2016, some of the former KAT staff and moderators launched a website with a similar appearance as the original under the domain katcr.co.The site has been offline since July 2020.
The Pirate Bay is an online index of digital content of entertainment media and software. Founded in 2003 by Swedish think tank Piratbyrån, The Pirate Bay allows visitors to search, download, and contribute magnet links and torrent files, which facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing among users of the BitTorrent protocol.
isoHunt was an online torrent files index and repository, where visitors could browse, search, download or upload torrents of various digital content of mostly entertainment nature. The website was taken down in October 2013 as a result of a legal action from the MPAA; by the end of October 2013 however, two sites with content presumably mirrored from isohunt.com were reported in media. One of them – isohunt.to – became a de facto replacement of the original site. It is not associated in any way with the old staff or owners of the site, and is to be understood as a separate continuation.
Demonoid is a BitTorrent tracker and website founded in 2003 to facilitate file-sharing related discussion and provide a searchable index of torrent files. The site underwent intermittent periods of extended downtime in its history due to the occasional need to move the server, generally caused by cancellation of ISP service due to local political pressure.
TorrentFreak (TF) is a blog dedicated to reporting the latest news and trends on the BitTorrent protocol and file sharing, as well as on copyright infringement and digital rights.
Torrentz was a Finland-based metasearch engine for BitTorrent, run by an individual known as Flippy, and founded on 24 July 2003. It indexed torrents from various major torrent websites, and offered compilations of various trackers per torrent that were not necessarily present in the default .torrent file, so that when a tracker was down, other trackers could do the work. It was the second most popular torrent website in 2012.
This is a comparison of BitTorrent sites that includes most of the most popular sites. These sites typically contain multiple torrent files and an index of those files.
BTDigg is the first Mainline DHT search engine. It participated in the BitTorrent DHT network, supporting the network and making correspondence between magnet links and a few torrent attributes which are indexed and inserted into a database. For end users, BTDigg provides a full-text database search via Web interface. The web part of its search system retrieved proper information by a user's text query. The Web search supported queries in European and Asian languages. The project name was an acronym of BitTorrent Digger. It went offline in June 2016, reportedly due to index spam. The site returned later in 2016 at a dot-com domain, went offline again and is now online.. The btdig.com site has its torrent crawler's source source listed on Github, dhtcrawler2.
EZTV is a TV torrent distribution group founded in May 2005 by NovaKing. It quickly became the most visited torrent site for TV shows.
This is a list of countries where at least one internet service provider (ISP) formerly or currently censors the popular file sharing website The Pirate Bay (TPB).
Popcorn Time is a multi-platform, free software BitTorrent client that includes an integrated media player. The application provides a free alternative to subscription-based video streaming services such as Netflix. Popcorn Time uses sequential downloading to stream video listed by several torrent websites, and third party trackers can also be added manually. The legality of the software depends on the jurisdiction.
The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) is a unit of the City of London Police, the national lead force for fraud. It was established in 2013 with the responsibility to investigate and deter serious and organised intellectual property crime in the United Kingdom.
Mirror sites or mirrors are replicas of other websites or any network node. The concept of mirroring applies to network services accessible through any protocol, such as HTTP or FTP. Such sites have different URLs than the original site, but host identical or near-identical content. Mirror sites are often located in a different geographic region than the original, or upstream site. The purpose of mirrors is to reduce network traffic, improve access speed, ensure availability of the original site for technical or political reasons, or provide a real-time backup of the original site. Mirror sites are particularly important in developing countries, where internet access may be slower or less reliable. The maintainers of some mirrors choose not to replicate the entire contents of the upstream server they are mirroring because of technical constraints, or selecting only a subset relevant to their purpose, such as software written in a particular programming language, runnable on a single computer platform, or written by one author. These sites are called partial mirrors or secondary mirrors.
RARBG is a website that provides torrent files and magnet links to facilitate peer-to-peer file sharing using the BitTorrent protocol. From 2014 onward, RARBG has repeatedly appeared in TorrentFreak's yearly list of most visited torrent websites. It was ranked 4th as of April 2020. The website does not allow users to upload their own torrents.
1337x is a website that provides a directory of torrent files and magnet links used for peer-to-peer file sharing through the BitTorrent protocol. According to the TorrentFreak news blog, 1337x is the third most popular torrent website as of 2021.
The Torrent Project or Torrent Search Project was a metasearch engine for torrent files, which consolidates links from other popular torrent hosting pages such as ExtraTorrent. It has been suggested as an alternative for the now closed Torrentz.eu site and KickassTorrents, and its index includes over 8 million torrent files, and has been said to have a very clean, simple interface. Beyond allowing torrent files of popular films it also carries self-produced content. The torrentproject.com URL was part of a 2014 United Kingdom High Court decision, which ordered it to be blocked. It has an API that allows the search function to be integrated into applications, and the news-site TorrentFreak has suggested that allow streaming in the future, and it has adopted the Torrents Time plugin.
YIFY Torrents or YTS was a peer-to-peer release group known for distributing large numbers of movies as free downloads through BitTorrent. YIFY releases were characterised through their consistent HD video quality in a small file size, which attracted many downloaders.
123Movies, GoMovies, GoStream, MeMovies or 123movieshub was a network of file streaming websites operating from Vietnam which allowed users to watch films for free. It was called the world's "most popular illegal site" by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in March 2018, before being shut down a few weeks later on foot of a criminal investigation by the Vietnamese authorities. As of April 2021, the network is still active via clone sites.
FMovies is a series of copyright infringement websites that host links and embedded videos, allowing users to stream or download movies for free.
Openload was a file-sharing website shut down in 2019 after legal action by the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment. The site was highly-used before its shutdown, making most of its money from advertising and cryptojacking. The site was designated as a notorious market and often used for copyright infringement.
At the time of writing the main domain name Kat.cr has trouble loading, but various proxies still appear to work. KAT’s status page doesn’t list any issues, but this will be updated shortly.