Kickass Torrents creates its own movie release group to fill the void left behind by YIFY/YTS shutdown
After the death of YIFY/YTS, the world’s most popular internet torrent portal, KickassTorrents has officially launched its own ‘release group’, which will be known as KATRG (Kickass Torrents Release Group). For those unfamiliar with the term, a release group is a team of people that search, package, re-encode, and seed pirated content in online piracy circles, which are movies in most cases.
In the past several days, KATRG has added more than twenty-one movie releases, which includes Oscar screeners such as Room, Brooklyn and The Peanuts Movie. The group is operating from an account registered three years ago.
It’s worth noting that KATRG is not the original source of any of the titles uploaded so far. Instead, the group re-encodes Scene releases. That being said, lack of originality never hurt the image of YIFY, for example, who mostly re-encoded and then re-branded Scene releases.
As noted by Torrent Freak, KATRG’s releases have already been noticed by copyright holders, resulting in takedown requests that have been complied with. The image below shows that a blu-ray rip of The Bad Education Movie only clocked 98 downloads before being removed. The site provides a way around this, though:
KickassTorrents is offering a solution to this problem. It’s been in operation for some time, but essentially it remains possible to download releases even after they have been taken down from the site.
In respect of KATRG this is achieved by a forum thread which lists all of the group’s releases along with their hashcodes. Should any be taken down, users are invited to enter hashes into another search engine which then provides the download in question.
“Having a famous encoder with us that has such massive experience in knowing what the users want helps to gain attention and can only bring some good things to KickassTorrents,” said Mr. Black, a moderator at KickassTorrents regarding KATRG. He further added that the identity of the famous encoder will not be made public.
This proves the torrent portal has a plan for assuring a constant stream of new movie releases on its site, to cover a void the MPAA created after it managed to shut down YIFY’s operations at the start of November this year.
The release groups now come in all shapes and sizes, from elite groups at the top of the piracy pyramid through to one-man bands seeking kudos from the masses.
Another close association of the release groups are with those linked with both private and public torrent sites. There are already a high number of well-respected release groups in existence, and new-comers are usually few and far between. While some are created by site members keen to gain recognition during their expansion of their chosen site’s brand, others are operated by sites themselves.
While The Pirate Bay has never had an open release group, other sites in the public space certainly have. For example, RARBG has a release group functioning in its name and ETRG (ExtraTorrent Release Group) provides a similar function for that site.
The latest site to jump on the release group bandwagon is KickassTorrents (KAT). Currently, the largest torrent site on the Internet, KAT is certainly not short of visitors but it appears that the site believes it can better serve the public with the provision of a site-branded release group.
However, currently, at the moment KATRG releases aren’t particularly popular with downloaders which is not that unusual for a relatively unknown group. With just like releases from YIFY (and aXXo before him), KATRG’s efforts will surely become trusted in the due course, which will come with popularity.