If you’re new to torrenting, you probably have a few questions on the legality and safety of torrenting, like – Is torrenting illegal? Is torrenting safe? Will I get in trouble for torrenting?
To say in short, it depends on how you use torrents. Torrenting is legal and safe, but downloading and distributing copyright material using torrents is illegal.
But a lot of people use torrents to download copyright material because they don’t understand how or when any consequences may come into play. If you know what you’re doing, you don’t really need to be nervous about downloading a torrent. Also, in some country downloading copyright material will not cause you any problem. But in countries like the UK or USA, ISPs and copyright trolls will keep monitoring the BitTorrent network and take legal action on users who stream or download copyright material using torrents.
One of the best ways to keep yourself safe and anonymous when downloading torrents is by using a VPN, which hides your real IP address and internet activity from ISPs, copyright trolls, and from anyone who may be watching what you’re doing. So for anonymous Torrenting, we highly recommend to using a VPN that implements a no-log policy and allows P2P file sharing.
So, What Is Torrenting? How Torrenting Work?
Torrenting is sometimes called peer to peer file sharing. Torrent allows you download almost anything in a decentralized way using BitTorrent protocol, no matter how big the file size is. While you’d probably have a hard time downloading a 5 gig file directly from a centralized server or website through direct download, you won’t with torrenting. Using BitTorrent protocol, you can download files from various computers. The process is decentralized and you can download as long as you need to, and as long as the file is available on peer machines.
All you need to do add a torrent file or magnetic link on a torrent client or torrent downloader (such as our turbo torrent). The torrent tracker will request the files of the torrent you’re trying to download, and finds them on peer devices, like computers or phones. It comes in little pieces that make their way to your device, where they reassemble themselves into full digital copy.
With Tracker server, you’re connected with a group of people who have what you need, and they all give you a small piece to build the full digital copy. This makes the download very fast, and it also makes things a whole lot easier to find. You might not be able to find a single source that hosts an entire file, and torrents help you bypass that barrier.
When torrenting, you’re getting a little bit from a lot of people. No one becomes burdened by the entire download, because they’re only giving you a small part. They’re also sharing the files they want to have on their computers, so they aren’t hosting things specifically for your benefit. The community is an important part of torrenting.
Torrents also make it easy to find things that are almost impossible to find otherwise. A lot of websites don’t want to use up the bulk of their storage space by hosting huge files. When you download the files, you’re leeching directly from their site. This gets expensive for them because they have to pay for all of that storage and traffic.
Even though this is precisely the advantage of torrenting, that you can download a large file very quickly, a lot of people also spot that as a safety concern. They don’t know where the file is coming from or if it’s safe. The same protections that you would use whenever you’re downloading directly from a website or opening an email attachment can be used to screen a torrent.
Will you Get Caught for Torrenting?
Yes, you will. It’s easy for your ISP and copyright trolls to track users by creating fake, public torrent trackers, they become a peer of the torrent file your downloading and by monitoring the BitTorrent network. You get served a warning letter, bandwidth throttling (slowing down your internet speed). Sometimes, you can face legal action if copyright tolls catch you downloading copyrighted materials.
So for anonymous Torrenting, you just need to hide your location and identity. This is why VPNs are so great for people who torrent all the time.
Copyright trolls are individuals or companies whose job is to track IP address of torrent users who are downloading any copyrighted material. They can track users by creating fake torrent files, using public torrent trackers, and becoming a peer of the torrent file your downloading.
Once they have your IP address, they will contact your ISP to get your real name and address and take legal action against you. These copyright trolls have signed a deal with the copyright holder which lets them the rights to track and take legal action against the torrent users who have downloaded the copyrighted content illegally using torrents.
What is Legal Torrenting?
Torrenting is a great way to move large files around from place to place. Even companies like Twitter and Facebook use BitTorrent protocol to move large batches of new code to their servers when they plan to update coding or add features to their site. It’s the fastest way to send a large file from one computer to the other, which is why businesses and corporations offices all over the world use torrents for file transfer.
Also, any file provided for free by the person who created it is absolutely legal to download via torrent or any other method. This usually includes things for free distribution, like movie trailers. If you want to see what’s playing over the weekend and torrent a huge bundle of trailers you can watch together when you’re deciding what movies to see over the weekend, you’re likely not going to have any problems.
It’s also legal to download anything in the public domain. Ubuntu, for example, allows users to download their operating system they’ve created via torrent. If you need to read a really old book for a school assignment, you can usually legally torrent an eBook or audiobook file for free. The copyright has expired on a lot of older literature, so it technically doesn’t have an owner. This means you don’t need to pay to use it, and since its digital, it cost nothing to create the file.
There are tons of free legal torrents, especially for students. A lot of professional and nice blogs offer up educational material, like guides and documentaries, and offer them up as completely free torrents. Even if you can’t find the exact thing you were looking for as a legal torrent, you can probably find something similar for free if you’re willing to search for it.
What is Illegal Torrenting?
Illegal torrenting is when you download any file that’s protected by copyright law. Specifically, any file with an active owner who isn’t offering the material for free. This is the case with a lot of newer movies and music, where the studio or company that is in control of the paid distribution of the file cracks down on free sharing of the material. So how do they find out that people are sharing it for free?
The content owners will employ people or team up with some Copyright trolls companies whose job it is to search the internet for unauthorized distribution of the file in question. They can ask internet service providers (ISPs) for the real address of the people downloading the file illegally. If you’re using the internet without taking any precautions to hide your identity and internet activity. your provider can easily see where you’re browsing and what you’re downloading.
This is a part of your service contract with your ISP. They’re allowed to look at what you’re doing and collect a little bit of data about your activity. The same goes for your mobile phone provider. They’re handling the traffic, so they obviously know where it’s going. Whenever you’re going directly through your regular internet, nothing you’re doing is truly private. There’s no anonymity unless you use privacy workarounds like VPNs.
What Happens if I Torrent Illegally?
Truthfully, most people who download things illegally don’t get caught in a meaningful way. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to get caught, and you’re always assuming a little bit of risk when you openly download protected or paid material for free. A lot of people do it, which leads to power in numbers. It isn’t always worthwhile for the people who own the content you’ve torrented to pursue you legally or civilly, though it’s happened before.
Charges have been filed against torrent downloaders before, and they usually come with hefty fines. They’re rare, but they occur. Most of the time, the people who own content you’ve illegally torrented will contact your internet service provider with a complaint against you. Your ISP will typically serve you up with a warning the first time they receive a complaint. The second time, they can stop your service entirely.
When your service is stopped, you can have a really hard time finding a new service provider who is willing to work with you. There are only a handful of major internet service providers, and in most areas, you only have the option of two. If you’ve been docked for illegal torrenting, you alternate provider may not be willing to give you service. You can be stuck without internet indefinitely. If you heavily rely on the internet, it can be easy to see why this is a huge problem.
Is Torrenting Safe?
There are two main safety concerns when it comes to downloading torrents – one is that you’re going to get a bad file, and the other is that your internet service provider is going to be very angry with you. Neither of those are desirable outcomes, but you do have a certain level of control over which consequence you might face, or even if you face any consequences at all.
First and foremost, check the comments on a torrent before you download it. If anyone found anything malicious inside the torrent, they’re likely to leave a comment and report that torrent. There’s a lot of community policing that goes on in the torrenting world, and most people are happy to have each other’s backs. If a torrent doesn’t have a lot of seeders and it doesn’t have any comments, it may be wise to find a different torrent.
The next safety issue you might encounter is getting caught with a torrent that contains copyrighted material. You also might not want people on your network to know what you’re downloading, particularly because it’s none of their business. If you like cheesy romance novels and you’re downloading them on an open network, anyone else who shares you WiFi might be able to see what you’re doing.
No matter what your safety concern is, there’s always a workaround. It isn’t necessarily complicated, either. Good security measures and a fair amount of common sense are absolutely necessary to keep you safe online, no matter what you’re doing. You need to be protecting yourself at all times, and there’s no such thing as taking your security and your privacy too seriously.
How Do I Torrent Safely?
Any antivirus or antimalware software on your computer will scan the torrents you’re downloading as you download them. If your security software finds something potentially malicious in the torrent, it will quarantine whatever file it believes has been corrupted. All you need to do is delete that file and stop the torrent. If you keep your security software up to date (which means always downloading the updates, rather than clicking ‘remind me later’), you shouldn’t have any problems.
A lot of it is common sense. You shouldn’t follow download links in pop up advertisements, you shouldn’t open email attachments from people you don’t know, and you shouldn’t download torrents that aren’t verified – especially if you don’t have any safety measures put in place to catch you if something bad slips past you.
As far as privacy concerns go, specifically when it comes to interference from your ISP or nosy people on your network, you need to be able to shield what you’re doing from prying eyes. On an open network, anything and everything you do, including making online purchases with your credit card, can be seen from anyone monitoring or hacking you. Using a private network is the only remedy for those concerns.
Using a VPN for Torrents
Using a VPN makes great sense for a variety of reasons. It’s one of the only ways to assure complete safety and privacy when you’re online. On any open network, or even password protected WiFi, people can see what you’re doing. It’s more than just your internet service provider – it’s anyone who is looking to steal data or be nosy. Thieves get a little more clever every day, and VPNs are almost the only way to completely outsmart them.
A VPN, or virtual private network, acts as your own little cloak. It creates a separate independent tunnel for you that makes your online activity untraceable. Nobody trying to view your activity can tell where the traffic is going to or coming from. It makes it difficult to pinpoint who is doing what, and it creates enough of a diversion to keep you safe.
You can take a VPN with you anywhere. It’s entirely virtual, and you don’t need to buy any equipment. You can use your VPN wherever you take your laptop. This keeps you safe in coffee shops and libraries where you might be sharing a connection with multiple strangers, which is exactly where you need the most safety. People tend to target areas where a lot of people share a connection when they’re trying to steal data.
When you download torrents though a VPN, no one, including your ISP, will know what you’re doing. You won’t be traceable from the other end. That means that no one can detect exactly who is doing the download and where that download is going.