Legal Guide

Is Torrenting Legal and Safe?

What are torrents?

Internet users all over the world use the torrent protocol as a means to download MP4, MKV, FLV, DVDSCR, MPEG, Brip, XVID files easily, quickly and effectively. Unlike other types of peer-to-peer sharing, torrent sites use an index website that contains the torrent files (also referred to as archives). Torrent files contain the information that a torrent client requires to manage, find and download the file requested.

Torrents allow the download of a single file in many different pieces with each residing on a user’s computer or server that has been connected to the internet. In order to finish the download, the torrent puts all the pieces together into one complete file.

Is torrenting legal and safe?

It is dependent the files that you intend to download. When using a torrent to download materials that are not copyright, then you are safe and you shouldn't worry about anything. But when downloading copyright works you may not be so lucky. There are several things you will need to understand.

What is copyright material?

Copyright are the exclusive legal rights that are provided by the laws of certain governments to the authors of original works such as drama, literature, artistic work, literary and other intellectual works. Copyright however has a time limit, which is mostly equivalent to the lifetime of the creator plus some fifty or seventy years. Most of the files however downloaded on torrent are copyrighted which makes the download illegal.

What are the risks involved?

1. Copyright breach

Peer to Peer networks and torrents make it easily possible to share copyright files over the internet. Most laws however prohibit the distribution, reproduction, public performance or public display of such materials without the permission of the copyright holder.

2. Malicious software

With torrent, it is difficult to properly authenticate the source of the file that is being shared. Often, cyber attackers use the platform to transmit malicious codes, spyware, viruses and other malware into the files.

3. Identity theft

When using torrents and other P2P platforms, the personal information of the users might be exposed, the users therefore leave themselves open to the risk of identity theft.

But, am I not anonymous while torrenting?

Basically, you have some limited level of privacy since the pieces of the file on download aren’t from a particular server. However, government agents are allowed to snoop around the networks, downloading the files and listing the IP addresses that have been listed under the peers, which compromise your privacy.

What's the way out?

You should stop downloading torrents. Or, you may consider using a VPN, especially one of the best VPNs for torrenting and P2P file sharing. It will create a safe and secure tunnel linking your computer and the server. Your computer will then send encrypted data from the tunnel. Your Internet Service Provider will not be able to see your activities but only the bandwidth, the amount of data that is being transmitted and thet you are using a VPN. Moreover, the VPN will mask your IP with another one that will be untraceable. Rememer, using a VPN, even a cheap VPN, can increase your online security a lot.

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