Is it safe to download torrents?
Downloading torrents has proven to be the easiest and most effective way of getting an unlimited number of files for free. You can use it to download TV series, the latest movies, songs, documentaries, books among other files. However, is downloading torrents safe or is it unsafe? This is a big question that most people ask. Is my privacy protected when using torrent clients such as uTorrent, BitTorrent, or Vuze?
Of course, you don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of the law just for downloading a torrent file. In this article, we will discuss torrent downloads, the legality surrounding them, and whether your privacy will be violated on torrent client sites.
The legal and illegal aspects of Torrenting
Downloading torrents can be both legal and illegal. So, what is legal and what is illegal? When it comes to legal issues especially where content is involved, there is one term that we cannot avoid: Copyright. As long as the content is copyrighted and it does not belong to you, downloading it freely through torrent is totally illegal.
However, using a torrent client to download torrents is legal. You won’t be committing any violation. This is because, through a torrent client, you could be downloading files that are not copyrighted.
Copyright is a deeper issue that you need to consider whether you are using a torrent client or not. Different countries or jurisdictions have different laws regarding intellectual property theft. If something like music is copyrighted and you don’t own its copyright, there is no legal way of downloading it. This applies to all other files such as movies and games.
However, there are instances when the copyright holder decides to make their products free temporarily or permanently. In such a case, it will be legal to download their files. To be on the safe side, it is important to familiarize yourself with the copyright laws of your country.
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Some copyrights have time limits while others are for a lifetime. Copyright for particular content can last up to fifty years and after that people can download the file freely without any legal repercussions. Some countries have loose copyright laws and people can download torrents without worrying about anything.
The privacy of torrents
This is another issue that most torrent users are concerned about. Given that there is a very thin line between the legality and illegality of downloading torrents, the last thing that you will want is to get exposed. Will my identity be revealed to the relevant authorities? To summarise the answer, you are not completely anonymous in the torrent network. This is regardless of how the system has tried to perceive itself to be protecting people’s identity.
From a layman’s point of view, torrents should protect your privacy because you will be downloading data from one central server. Through the torrent system, you will be basically downloading directions to a file. This means that the file is basically a list of trackers that have some hash codes. The process encompasses downloading small pieces of the actual from different sources.
Can I go to jail for torrenting?
This is the biggest worry of many torrent users. The possibility of being arrested by government agents. Truth be told, several government agents tend to poke around Torrent networks. They try to retrieve IP addresses used by the Seeders(uploaders) and the Peers(downloaders).
The agencies can end up nabbing some suspects. However, only a very small percentage of people end up getting caught. To be on the safe side, avoid being an active contributor to the Torrent community. You should also disable the seeding feature as this will stop your PC from automatically uploading files to the torrents network.
Another way of staying safe is by using a VPN(a virtual private network) or proxy to set your torrent client. The method will automatically render your IP address anonymous.
All in all, torrenting is not as bad as some people make it look. In fact, do not equate it to piracy. If you are not sure about the copyright issues regarding a particular file, just refer to the intellectual property laws in your country.