Kino.to down – So back in the movies again?

After the raid against the online movie portal kino.to many reactions have been made public, mostly about the consequences for the responsible persons and how to find alternatives. A very controversial issue was if the site really was illegal, or if it was just a “search engine” for movies.

While searching the web for professional opinions about the take down, I found the blog post of Enigmax, a writer for TorrentFreak, a blog dealing with topics like file sharing, innovations, piracy and copyright issues among other things. On Kino.to Uploader Speaks Out, Cyberlockers Down, Anon DDoS  he reports on the police operation leading to several arrests and an interview given by an uploader for kino.to.

Johannes Sand (name changed) was regularly uploading links and gaining up to 1000 US dollar a month, he states in the interview and concludes with that he does not see himself as a criminal. Furthermore, Enigmax says that “… Kino.to hosted no illegal content, but indexed material and provided links to movies and TV shows stored on file-hosters and other streaming services.”

On Netzpolitik.org, Linus Neumann, a very frequent blogger, also argues that kino.to did not host any movies, but only provided links to hosting or streaming sites. Therefore the possible liability for providing links is discussed again, which should not be necessary anymore. So the prosecutor’s office is accusing kino.to of forming a criminal association for professionally infringing copyrights.

Another voice which confirms the general opinion, I found on mmnews.de. The attorney Christian Solmecke expresses in an interview that directly providing movies is illegal, however watching them is not, in his opinion. Whereas downloading movies is again, illicit.

In sum, most bloggers argue that just watching movies on such portals as kino.to is not illegal, and users will most probably not expect any accusations by law enforcement. On the other side, it has become very clear that providing movies online and downloading them or saving them in any way is illegal.

The problem that leads to the enormous use of online streams is, according to Andreas on hotbrowser.de that Pay-TV channels and tickets for the movies are too expensive; if the providers would reduce the prices a little, users of sites like kino.to would not be that tempted anymore to do it, particularly since the quality mostly is not the best.

I think that regular users of kino.to will look for alternatives and will find many, since most users do not really expect punishment. For the providers of such portals, the arrests might be a signal, and possibly the offer will be reduced in the future. However, in my opinion they will always find a way to provide movies online, since the internet is growing and changing so fast, and the tracing cannot really keep up with it.

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5 Responses to Kino.to down – So back in the movies again?

  1. sasha1989 says:

    Hi Karen,
    What a interesting blog you wrote! Everyone discusses the situation with kino.to now. So you chose a “hot topic” which immidiately catches attention. However, before reading you post I didn’t know so many details about it. It is obvious that you spent much time on this blog post making researches. It is very beneficial.
    I personally agree with Linus Neumann that kino.to just provided linkes. So I think that they should have shut all those sights also then.
    I found this video that probably you could find interesting:

    All in all, good job!

  2. lenahaase says:

    Hey Karen,
    I was shocked to hear about this news! I have been a big fan of Kino.to, but I was always wondering about the legitimacy of this website. That’s why I really like reading your post to get to know some professional insights. I like the clear structure of your post and the fact that you made a lot of references to other articles. Moreover, you embedded a lot of links, which makes it easy to follow your writing process.
    However, it is quite interesting that after the shut down many people were looking for alternatives and if you type “Kino.to” into google you will see that “Kino.to alternative” will appear immediately. I think, the fact that also the shut down and the announcement of punishment won’t prevent people from exploring new sources is astonishing. Even worse, some people try to take revenge! Check this out: http://www.aargauerzeitung.ch/unterhaltung/film/hacker-raechen-sich-wegen-der-abschaltung-von-kino-to-109331756
    If you want to read more about “hackers” check out my blog post: “Hackers” – the biggest threat for the Internet nowadays? –
    Good job!!

  3. Sarah says:

    Hi Karen,

    I also appreciate your blog post. I need to admit that I was watching movies through kino.to from time to time. I heard about the shutdown of the website in the news. It did not really surprise me; I was always wondering if it was legal to watch movies through kino.to or not.

    In fact I came to the conclusion that it would be legal since this website was existing for quite a long time. I think it was in the year 2008 when I heard about the very first time.

    I found this interesting article from April, 2011 – here a lawyer and internet experts are trying to answer if the webpage is legal or not: http://www.computerhilfen.de/info/kino-to-legal-oder-illegal.html. At that time the lawyer came to the conclusion that it is LEGAL since there is no specific law against it at the moment.

    Anyway I agree with Lena; I do not think that users of the free movie streams will stop searching for different sources since there is no real punishment for just watching a movie online without downloading it. Nevertheless I do think that the people who provide those movies for free will think twice to offer those services any longer because of the severe punishment.

    Best regards
    Looking forward to reading more
    Sarah

  4. itsonja says:

    Hey Karen,
    thanks for the interesting post on this very recent event. I liked your focus on the legal aspects on this issue and the way you highlighted different opinions of bloggers and other users of this platform.
    I ‘ve actually prefered movie2k.com to kino.to so it didn’t really matter much to me that the site was closed down, I never really go a grip on how these players worked on kino.to so I can only recomment to all people that are sad now about the loss of kino.to out there to switch to http://www.movie2k.to/?drgn=2 or ‘project free tv.’ http://www.free-tv-video-online.me/
    I was wondering many times how it is possible that such a website is legally available on the web, I think a closing down was doomed to happen. But as we learned, whenever one page on the web is closed down, another will open up somewhere else,so there will probably always be alternatives for us users, I doubt that police or legal institutions will be able to catch all the different platforms out there. And since streaming as such is not illegal, we can just continue our favorite free time activity, only on a different platform 🙂
    Great post! well done.

  5. Julia J. says:

    I think your blogpost covers a really current issue. In business law class we had a similar topic like yours. It dealt with the trials of The Pirate Bay and Napster. The Pirate Bay case is still very actual and no final verdict is spoken yet. The question was if they could be accused for copyright infringement or not, as they provided internet user the opportunity to download torrent files. These torrent files could be opened using some free software like Bittorrent to download the complete file (MP3s, videos,…). If you want to read about the Case then you find many information on this Website (http://rubiromero.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/the-pirate-bay-case-study/)
    In my oponion there have to be found legal alternatives for illegal file sharing. One option that was discussed is a so called cultural flatrate where you pay the internet provider a monthly fee which allows you to download any material on the web. The fee shoud then be given to the record companies and artists. Well, it is hard imaginable that this cultural flatrate will be introduced, as I think it wouldnt be easy to equally distribute the fee to the copyright holders. Do you have another idea to solve this problem?

    Anyways, thank you for dealnig with that topic which probably affects all of us.

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