The recent seizure of the KAT.PH domains have angered a lot of people who rely on the site for illegal downloads (see original story here). What is actually more chilling is the idea that this seizure can also happen to another PH domain as well, whether the allege offense is similar or otherwise.
The scenario is very simple and has set a precedent — a site allegedly hosting or even merely pointing to illegal or copyrighted content can be shut down but a simple TRO. In this case, the PH domain was seized (re-pointed to a null destination) causing the site to be inaccessible via the original KAT.PH domain name.
The action was taken against the PH domain because the registrar (dotPH) is under Philippine jurisdiction and thus can be compelled by the TRO. dotPH has posted a statement regarding this last June 14:
The Philippine Intellectual Property Office (www.ipophil.gov.ph) recently issued a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) directing dotPH to suspend the domain kat.ph for a period of 72 hours.
The TRO, signed by Atty. Marlita Dagsa of the IPO Bureau of Legal Affairs, was issued because of a complaint filed with the IPO by the Philippine Association of the Recording Industry and some of its members. The complaint alleges that the registrant of kat.ph is violating intellectual property rights by making copyrighted music available for download to its users.
dotPH was initially contacted by the complainants’ lawyers in December of 2011 with a demand to take down the domain, and dotPH agreed to cooperate if provided with an order from a court or appropriate authority. dotPH received the TRO earlier this week and subsequently suspended kat.ph in compliance with IPO’s directive.
The web hosting or servers, on the other hand, are located elsewhere (outside the Philippines) so they could not be compelled by the local courts. This is the reason why the domain was down but the site can still be accessed via other domain names.
With this precedent, it is now clear that any similar TRO can be placed against any other PH domains that provide or link to illegal content. Take note that KAT.PH does not actually host the copyrighted content but only the trackers to those content.
This could also apply to any PH site which:
* Host or links to copyrighted content
* Publishes music lyrics
* Blogs that share cracks or hacks to devices, content or software
* Blogs or sites that posts YouTube videos of telenovela, music videos and movies
There’s so many more actually. This reminds us of the takedown provisions of the currently suspended Cybercrime Law.
If your hosting provider and domain registrar is based out of the country, then a local TRO might not have any affect. Otherwise, if your service provider is a local company or one the telcos (which acts as a data center), then the same can also happen to you.