Costa Rica: The New Home for Controversial Torrent Websites
A website that has often come under fire for allegedly facilitating online piracy of copyrighted content is currently hosted in Costa Rica.
After trying their luck at retaining a Top Level Domain (TLD) in the Federal Republic of Somalia and the Isle of Man, a self-governing dependency of the British Crown, the administrators of the polemic website Kickass Torrents (KAT) have settled for the relative safety of Costa Rica.
According to TorrentFreak.com, a website dedicated to covering current online file sharing trends:
Less than 24 hours after the site moved over, the Isle of Man Registry has revoked the new domain name of Kickass Torrents. Continuing the domain shuffle the popular torrent site will now move to the Costa Rica based domain name, Kat.cr
KAT is one of most popular torrent websites, and one of the most-visited destinations on the Internet; it has been operating continuously since 2008. Since its inception, KAT has indexed and listed millions of links to digital content shared by millions of Internet users. In essence, KAT serves as a directory of links to files ready for peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing by means of the BitTorrent protocol.
Although KAT claims to honor all requests to take down allegedly pirated content under the criminal provisions of the United Stats Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the site practices operational security (opsec) by switching TLDs every six months or so. The administrators have been moving KAT to different countries since the U.S. Department of Justice cracked down on torrent sites in 2011.
It is likely that the Isle of Man expelled KAT due to its controversial operations. The TLD registrar in Costa Rica is more liberal with regard to the content of .cr websites, although compliance with court orders still applies; this is something that KAT is quite aware of and thus it practices opsec. As of the timestamp of this article, some of the most popular torrents listed on KAT include the films Avengers: Age of Ultron and Fifty Shades of Grey.
In recent months, an even more controversial torrent directory reportedly made our country its temporary home. As reported by The Costa Rica Star in late 2014:
After a spectacular police raid on a data center in Sweden, controversial and resilient file sharing website The Pirate Bay went offline on a global level for quite a few hours, only to sail away to Costa Rica as https://thepiratebay.cr/.
The Pirate Bay eventually reported its return to Sweden, but the Costa Rica site -which is rumored to be a fake or an unsupported mirror, is still running.