A banned online file-sharing site has blocked certain websites that allow users to circumvent a blocking order after a dispute over advertising.
KickassTorrents (KAT) has moved to block some of the servers, known as proxies, amid claims they had replaced Kickass’s advertising with their own and had switched adverts.
KAT, which was founded in 2008, allows users to share music and other files with each other online and is among the top 135 visited sites in the world.
In February this year it became one of several sites that Mr Justice Arnold ordered UK Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to cut off access to, after ruling it had infringed copyright.
However, it was able to combat the block via an intermediary, which allows users to gain the same access to the site and its services by going through a different address.
But the site has now moved to block users' access to some of the proxies, amid claims that they have replaced adverts, were performing too well in search engines and were not carrying enough of KAT’s own adverts.
Adam Rendle, associate at Taylor Wessing LLP, said the move demonstrated the importance of advertising revenue and search engine performance for the website.
He told WIPR: “It also illustrates why the content industry is focusing some of its anti-piracy efforts on challenging these aspects of the websites' business models.
Labelling the move “ironic”, given KAT’s business model, Rendle continued: “KAT appears to want to maintain traffic only if it arrives via routes which support its business model. Access via proxies will fall until the proxies agree to deliver traffic in the ways KAT wants.
“It is ironic that it so carefully guards its revenue streams when its business is based on depriving the creative industries of revenue.”
The lack of access also created a flurry of activity on Internet forums, with users confused about what was happening.
WIPR attempted to contact KAT through a contact address on its website but was told the email address was not in use.
This article was first published on 01 July 2013 in World IP Review
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