Three inquiries I’m frequently asked are: Is torrenting safe, is torrenting illegal, and what happens if I get caught? This guide answers those questions and looks at the methods torrenters use to stay safe and anonymous.
Under typical conditions when you download a file to your computers, such as a movie from iTunes or an application from Microsoft, you just pull the file down from a server on the internet.
File SharingTorrenting is another means for downloading data files, but it functions very differently. It employs a principle of peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing. Alternatively, to download a file from a server, you get to use a software (such as uTorrent) that connects to different other computers disseminated across the public internet, downloading little chunks of the file from each.
This method decentralizes the storage of the files (movies, games, TV shows, and so forth) that people wish to get.
Is Torrenting Illegal?
Torrenting itself isn’t illegal, but the downloading unauthorized copyrighted stuff is. It’s not always instantly apparent which content is legal to torrent and which isn’t. Some befall in a grey area so that you may see yourself unwittingly on the opposite side of the law.
Is Torrenting Safe?
Torrenting brings risks. If you torrent copyrighted content, there’s a risk the authorities will detect and penalize you. There is also a chance of downloading infected files. But, there are measures you can take to improve the safety of torrenting, which we explain in detail below and in our detailed guide. (also check, How’s ExpressVPN For Torrenting?)
How Do People Get Caught Torrenting?
ISP analyzer’s incredibly easy for ISPs and copyright holders to catch people who haven’t taken precautions sharing copyrighted material.
For beginners, it’s very simple to see the IP of people who are sharing files with the help of seeding or leeching.
Obtaining this information within any torrenting client software is simple. Copyright holders and ISPs hence only need to monitor the activity on favorite files to be directed straight to the IP of those downloading the files or getting them available for others. Read on to know more about is torrenting illegal?
This is sufficient information to head to the front door of the person with the internet connection associated. It is also often enough to kick off a constitutional challenge.
Copyright trolls trail down people downloading copyrighted content. Some work autonomously. Others have agreements with copyright holders, who back their attempts to secure covenants with people who have downloaded their copyrighted content illegally.
Copyright trolls typically play a “numbers game.” They give out terrifying legal letters to people they think they have caught downloading illegal material.
As the receivers of these conversations usually are guilty, there’s unquestionably money to be made in this activity. Despite the opportunistic characteristics of this business, trolls do usually manage to operate on the right side of a constitutional grey area. Copyright trolls make it more possible that people torrenting will be caught out. Read on to know more about is torrenting illegal?
Consequences of Getting Caught?
If you are found torrenting, you may get a letter from your ISP requiring you to quit doing it. You may also have your internet connection speed “throttled down” as a penalty. (While it’s not publicly admitted by ISPs, some throttle file-sharing data traffic by default nevertheless).
However, penalties can be far more drastic than a spanked wrist and a sluggish internet connection. In India, they are speaking of three-year jail sentences for people caught even just visiting torrenting websites.
In the UK, a 12-month custodial sentence was given to someone sharing copyrighted top 40 singles in 2016.
Penalties can be enormous as well, with lots of reports of real-life six-figure fines.
How to Protect Yourself?
To evade any legal implications, it’s best just not to use the torrent. However, if you emphasize on torrenting, take the time to protect your privacy and keep copyright trolls at bay. Read on to know more about is torrenting illegal?
Use a VPN
The soundest way to torrent safely is by utilizing a VPN. A VPN achieves two things: first, it reroutes all your internet data traffic through a server in a location of your choice, which converts your IP address into the one adopted by hundreds or thousands of other people (assuming your VPN utilizes shared IP addresses, which most do). This adds a notable layer of anonymity and makes it much tougher for anyone to track you. Second, a VPN encrypts all your data traffic before it leaves your computer. That implies your ISP cannot watch your activity, nor can anybody else. And because all your traffic heads to the VPN server first, ISPs can’t even tell where it’s going. (also see, 5 Best VPN for Torrenting & P2P File Sharing)
If you don’t want to spend money on a VPN, you might be considering Tor. Tor is comparable to a VPN in that it routes your traffic through several volunteer “nodes” while encrypting traffic. We advise a VPN over Tor for a couple of reasons. First, Tor is slow, and ordinarily best for simple browsing and other low-bandwidth activity. Second, connecting to Tor could draw more consideration from your ISP and law enforcement, as it’s a well-known tool for hackers and criminals.
Another common app among torrenters is Peerblock. Peerblock is a desktop firewall with a constant update of blacklist IP. These IP addresses belong to things that try to track your activity online, primarily on peer-to-peer networks. Perversely, the blacklist is only updated once upon installation. After that, users must pay to have them updated.
While we can not and will never condone illegal activity, multiple people are of the school of thought that small-scale file sharing is merely the crime of the century. Various view it as similar to copying a cassette tape in the 1980s. This is why torrenting persists popular with millions of people.
Some people are exposed and fined for torrenting. Some even have to face jail. Millions of others torrent commonly (taking sensible precautions) and remain safe. The legal and moral judgment call is yours alone to make.