Kickass Torrents Clones Are Going to Keep Appearing, Aren't They?

By Carli Velocci on at

Yes, yes they will. If you absolutely have to get movies and books for free, make sure you’re doing it responsibly.

I’ve received multiple emails since the alleged owner of Kickass Torrents (KAT) was arrested on Wednesday concerning new clones of the popular piracy website. One appeared less than a day after the operation shut down the site, and of course, more have popped up.

Another one is kat.am, which claims to be associated with the mirror of The Pirate Bay that appeared after that site went offline. Unlike other clones, it seems to have partially restored the community functions and sorting. It also mirrors the aesthetics of the original site, and claims to have no ads, but it does trigger a lot of popups.

Besides also instituting a mobile function, the site also claims to have taken precautions that the original owner didn’t. An administrator, who preferred to remain anonymous, said that the site is hosted “on a pool of self replicating cloud servers,” which means it builds copies and backups of itself with the latest server IP addresses, although the process isn’t automatic.

“We have long been advocate of freedom and are against censorship. These beliefs motivated us to rebuild KAT. Our team took extreme care that it should be as similar as possible to KAT,” the administrator said in an email to Gizmodo. “Long live KAT, long live freedom.”

This seems like good news for those who utilized Kickass Torrents for free downloads. The problem is that unauthorized clones will appear, and will continue to appear, leaving some less technically-savvy users vulnerable.

According to TorrentFreak, an administrator for the site Kickass.la initially touted that it was an “official backup,” only to back off their statement later. Kickass.la was only a partial copy and was unaffiliated with KAT.

KickassTorrents.website, which we reported on earlier in the week, was open about the fact it wasn’t affiliated with the original owners, and only listed files from the past year and a half.

In the case of kat.am, the community threads are available on first glance, but clicking on them doesn’t take you to forums, but to torrent listings. It’s still unstable and doesn’t have a working search function.

If you absolutely have to use another torrent site (and we do remind you that it is illegal), don’t trust claims that anything is an official KAT restoration. As users on this Reddit thread suggest, these sites have the potential to lure in people and steal account information. [h/t KAT.am]