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June 16, 2013

Now that KAT.PH is down, which PH domain is next?

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.

PH Government shuts down torrent site Kat.PH

9 Responses to “Now that KAT.PH is down, which PH domain is next?”

  1. paolo
    Twitter: OdeiraOloap
    says:

    Anything that shares overpaid auto-tunes. And probably some ‘critical’ sites, they’ll start clamping down on. Oh well (For instance, they can order a shutdown of anti-government Facebook pages; many governments elsewhere have done this before.)

  2. Ron says:

    This is power tripping at its best. Kat.ph does not host copyrighted materials, no illegalities there. (defensive, hehe)

    They might as well shut down Google.com.ph. I get torrents there as well.

    It’s like “Hey! Look at us! We just shot down a torrent portal! Fear us!”.

    Well, not really, that was just one of the many mirrors of KickAssTorrents. Cut a weed, a few more would sprout up.

  3. abuzalzal says:

    Does it matter? STOPPING online piracy these days is like killing an army of ants on an anthill using just your bare hands.

    To kill Piracy, you need to kill the internet..hahaha

    kat.To is kicking – ass lolz

  4. countrymouse says:

    This could also apply to any PH site which:

    * Publishes music lyrics

    I dont know thats illegal.

  5. IX says:

    I don’t use Kat.ph anyway.. pirates along the bay are way better IMO. :)

    • abuzalzal says:

      LAOS na ang PirateBay sis…kulang – kulang pa sa content…yuck

      mas streamlined at user-friendly ang KAT…when it comes to unprecedented catalogue-ing …. KAT is the King…ito lang ang Torrent site na hindi ka maliligaw.

  6. The Philippines is actually better than the US when it comes to cases like this. The US gov’t has already seized almost a thousand domains that it suspects of violating copyright and other laws, Wikileaks being the most famous example.

    In PH, there is due process where the name holder can argue his case at the IPO or local courts. It’s not that easy to get a TRO — it was 18 months since PARI demanded that we take down the domain before the TRO was issued. And the domain has not been seized, only suspended for the duration of the TRO (which has since expired).

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Abe is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of YugaTech. You Can follow him on Twitter @abeolandres.

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