If you’re my age, you’ll remember what happened in the 1990’s when we all started downloading music torrents through Limewire - it was declared illegal and Limewire went bust.
However, the use of torrenting is still very much in demand today. And in addition to finding an easy way to download your favorite tunes, you can also use torrents to download good quality movie files, and all kinds of audiobooks and e-books.
But if you’re tempted to get into it, but are rightly warie of the repercussions, then you’re going to want to read on…
We’re going to cover all the most pertinent questions, such as “Is torrenting safe?”, “Is torrenting legal?”, “Will you get caught torrenting?”, and “What happens if you get caught torrenting?”.
Then we’re also going to outline how you can torrent safely, before wrapping up with a conclusion. Feel free to scroll ahead to any section that interests you.
Is Torrenting Safe?
This is actually quite a tricky question to answer…(please read this section to the end)
The torrenting itself is deemed as not being dangerous to the security of the computer, and there is nothing intrinsically unsafe about the torrent protocol. Especially if you are using torrent sites and P2P networks that are well known, reliable, and can be trusted. Examples include TorrentDay for movies and Myanonamous.net for e-books and audiobooks.
However, there are people out there who will use torrent sites and P2P networks to spread malicious files. Which means that files that you download from there are potentially unsafe for your computer. And this is more likely to occur when the files are obtained from illegal sources.
However, so long as you have up-to-date anti-malware programs on your computer, then any issues that arise can be swiftly dealt with before causing any harm to your computer.
Is Torrenting Legal?
Now, here’s where it gets a little technical…
Torrenting in and of itself is not actually illegal. However…
The downloading of unsanctioned copyrighted material is illegal.
And the issue with that is that most files offered by the big torrent sites are full of copyrighted files, regardless of whether it’s offering music files, movie files, audiobooks, e-books, and even electronic textbooks.
And what makes it a particularly gray area is that it’s not always something that’s clear-cut. It’s not always patently obvious what files are legal to torrent and which are not.
However, once you have downloaded a media file, when you come to view, listen to, or watch it, the copyright legislation, if applicable, is almost always made clear from the get go.
For example, there may be a watermark image the whole time in the movie, or in an e-book this is written on the first few pages, or in an audiobook, the copyright legislation will be read out before the story even begins.
If this copyright data is missing from your media file, however, you can be forgiven for unwittingly getting yourself on the wrong side of the law.
Will You Get Caught Torrenting?
Many digital privacy-conscious torrents will use what is known as a VPN in order to keep their internet activity hidden from their ISP.
For those of you unfamiliar with these terms, your ISP is basically like an address for your computer, and VPN stands for virtual private network. If you’re not too sure what these are, don’t worry, we’ve got loads of articles on these all over our website.
Basically, a VPN will encrypt online activity on your web browser, so it is not made clear and can go undetected.
But even then there can be issues. For example, if you were to use a VPN based in certain countries, the legal system can be used to demand customer records. So you have to be careful what VPN you get.
Side note - some P2P networks or clubs require that you make your ISP known to them so that they can track your usage to enable you to prove that you are sticking by their rules.
What Happens If You Get Caught Torrenting?
We’re going to be straight with you - you can get prosecuted for torrenting.
However, the chances of actually having to go to court or having to pay a settlement through torrenting copyrighted media are pretty slim.
However, it’s also important to note at this point that the penalties are extremely high. So, if you were to get caught, you may be threatened with quite a severe penalty.
There was a peak of copyright holders suing torrenters in the late 2000s. But these scare tactics didn’t go down well with the general public. The multi-millionaires were perceived as being petty and were considered to be coming down too hard, bullying poor college students.
Direct lawsuits are far less common these days. But unfortunately, the threat remains.
How To Torrent Safely?
If your chosen torrent sites allow it, we would recommend that you use a VPN to cover your tracks. But don’t worry this is easier than it sounds, and you don’t have to be a technical wiz in order to use one.
There are 3 golden rules to choosing a good VPN:
- Choose one that doesn’t log your activity
- Choose one that isn’t based anywhere where the legal system can demand to see customer records
- Choose one that won’t slow down your downloads
The idea of torrenting is certainly attractive if you have enough storage space to store large files such as movies or audiobooks. Or you might even deem it as necessary if you can’t afford to buy expensive textbooks for study. Streaming is not always a worthy alternative.
Lxcenter.org does not condone or encourage the downloading of unsanctioned copyrighted material.
But if you are going to use torrent sites, you can prevent getting caught by using a good VPN, and remember to use our 3 golden rules for choosing a good VPN.