Is Torrenting Illegal?
There is a burning debate going on! The debate is about a question. And that particular question is: ‘Is torrenting illegal?” Let me put it in simple words. “Is downloading a torrent file illegal?” Got it? Not yet? Let me put it in more simple words. “Is downloading a file via torrent websites illegal?”
What actually is a torrent?
Well, there are millions of users who tend to use torrents to download their favorite movies, songs, ebooks, and software applications and they do not know what torrent actually is. It needs to be understood that torrent is essentially not a software program, but it’s a protocol that helps users to share their files with other people.
Now, back to the question. It is fair to note that torrent websites are being banned the world over.
What’s legal and what’s illegal in torrenting?
The simplest answer to this particular question is that it all depends on which type of file you want to download. A lot of authors are out there who consensually upload their work and make it available for everyone to download, but then there is lot of copyrighted stuff available which is not safe to download.
What’s the problem then? Well, the problem is not about downloading or sharing a torrent file. It’s all about the material that is copyrighted. This is where, the copyright owners are entitled to sue a user for copyright infringement.
Copyright infringement is an outright offence. That’s why it is illegal. Therefore, downloading copyrighted material via torrent clients is illegal. Let me explain in more simpler words.
The Identity Copyright Relationship
I have a question for you. What’s your most sacred possession? Any guesses? You are right. Your identity is the most sacred thing that you – and everyone of us – possess. Now, think for a moment that your identity is stolen, or is being misused by any other person. It will surely hurt you, and you would want to have legal action against that particular person. And you will sue that person to get your name and identity cleared.
Same goes true for all the publications, e-books, songs, movies, games, software applications, etc. that are available online. All the authors, the production companies, the software development companies want their products to be protected against illegal use. That’s why they tend to get their products protected via the intellectual property rights laws. The copyright or copyright infringement is an important constituent of the intellectual property laws that are accepted globally.
Hence, if any user, who is found guilty of downloading, sharing any copyrighted material via a torrent client, that user is not permissible to use or make alterations in any case, without any prior permission of the owner of that particular product, or without paying royalty to the original owner, is liable to be sued for copyright infringement, under the law. And this is why illegal torrenting activities are strictly prohibited over the internet.
With the booming digital age, there is the danger of people misusing the online freedom. To combat this danger, international community has come up with several laws to safeguard the rights of copyright owners.
Every country has its own legal framework with respect to implementation of copyright laws. Australia (the Data Retention Law), the United Kingdom (New Net Neutrality Laws), the United States (CISPA Law), are planning to have a codified legal mechanism to counter the threat posed by online pirates. Meanwhile, scandinavian countries including Sweden, Lexumburg, Norway, etc. have strict anti-piracy laws already in place. It may be the case that a torrenting is deemed illegal in a country, while in another country, that particular torrent client is deemed absolutely legal. Hence, the legality of a torrent client also depends on the jurisdiction of a particular country as well.
One thing more! Not every torrent is illegal. Only those that come with copyright certificate are deemed illegal for downloading and sharing. And there are a large number of legal torrents available.
What to do if torrent clients are restricted?
By now, you should have cleared your mind about the legality of torrents. It’s time to discuss about what you ought to do when torrent clients are restricted or banned within your home country.
Well, you don’t have to worry about the issue any further. There exist valid possibilities that provide you an opportunity to bypass the so-called geographical restrictions, enabling you to use your preferred torrent client without any fuss.
In order to bypass torrent blockage, you can use an HTTP proxy. You can also use a reliable VPN service. One of the best ways to beat torrent blocking is to encrypt your data traffic. Switching to port 80 will give the edge as the ISPs cannot decypher the port. Using magnet links is also a viable option.
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What are you waiting for?
I am going to end this blog here. Hopefully, I am leaving you with some food for thought. I have tried to be precise and to the point. If you feel that I have missed out on any of the important points, don’t hesitate to share your opinions and ideas in the comments section below. Your contribution will be highly appreciated.