T orrenting is a massively popular method to download the latest movies, TV series, music, books, games – you name it. Torrents themselves are not illegal. They are simply small files that help a BitTorrent client connect to a tracker and find peers to download files from. Nor is downloading stuff using torrents. Vuze StudioHD Network. It is not illegal to download it but it is illegal to upload it. If you torrent it, you are not uploading a movie, you are uploading little packets of incomplete data. If you upload the original complete file, that is illegal not by law but because someone said it was. Using a torrent client and downloading torrents in itself isn’t illegal, as you could be downloading things that aren’t protected by copyright. The long answer: This varies from case to case. Most countries have basic common laws against intellectual property theft.
When it comes to torrents, one of the most commonly asked questions is “Is downloading torrents legal or illegal?” Torrent clients, such as uTorrent Vuze and the official BitTorrent client, are used to download immense amounts of data on the Web, and there’s no question that much of it is illegal. Here we’ll talk about how torrent downloads work, when they’re illegal, and how to protect your privacy when you’re using them.
So What Is Legal and What Is Illegal?
The short answer: as long as the item is copyrighted and you don’t own it, then downloading it (for free) via torrent is illegal. Using a torrent client and downloading torrents in itself isn’t illegal, as you could be downloading things that aren’t protected by copyright.
The long answer: This varies from case to case. Most countries have basic common laws against intellectual property theft. If a piece of music is copyrighted and you don’t own it, you can’t download it legally. The same goes for a movie, a game, or anything else you may want (unless the copyright-holder decides to make it free either temporarily or permanently, as is often the case with video games). The line gets kind of fuzzy here, since people ask themselves many different questions about their own country’s laws.
In general, a copyright is registered to an individual or organization that creates something. This copyright has a time limit, usually equivalent to the lifetime of the creator and a set amount of additional years. Some copyrights are for life plus fifty years. Others are for life plus seventy years. Look up your country in the previous link if you’re unsure of your laws. Of course, your mileage may vary, as some things may not be protected by the law where you live, or copyright law may not be enforced at all.
So if you’re downloading a free Linux distribution through your torrent client, you don’t need to worry. But if you’re getting John Lennon’s “Imagine” from The Pirate Bay, you’re doing something that in all likelihood is breaking a law.
Also read:How to Download Torrents onto Your iOS Device Without Jailbreaking
Whatever it is you’re doing is not any of my business. But it is my business to make sure you know just how “anonymous” you are in the torrent network. The short answer is: you totally aren’t!
It’s handy to have a basic knowledge of how the torrent protocol works. Theoretically you should have some level of privacy since you’re not downloading any data from one particular server (in contrast to downloading something from a central server like you’d find on Microsoft’s website, where they’ll know exactly who it is that’s downloading their products).
But through the torrent system you download directions to a file. That means that the torrent file is actually just a list of trackers and some hash codes. It doesn’t really prove that you downloaded the torrent file. What you do inside your torrent client is more important, and that’s all managed by a decentralized list of servers. Once you start the download of the actual file you want to get to, you end up downloading little pieces of the file from a bunch of people.
Can You Get Caught?
Government agents and copyright trolls tend to snoop around the Torrent networks, and some of the more popular sites hosting Torrent files, downloading files and listing all the IP addresses they find under the Peers (downloaders) and Seeders (uploaders) lists. This will, of course, compromise your address eventually.
The actual number of people who get caught is miniscule, but if you want to secure yourself and don’t care much to contribute to the Torrent community, then you can disable seeding which stops your PC uploading files to the torrent network. Avid torrenters would call this selfish, and maybe they’re right, but you’re also covering yourself.
Another good option is to use a proxy or VPN, then set your torrent client to connect to peers through that. This essentially makes you anonymous by routing your connection through a different IP address.
Then there’s the onion routing network (Tor) that you can configure as a proxy for your torrent client. However, since the Snowden revelations it’s become known that even Tor has been targeted by the NSA and GCHQ for illegal activity. While the network is mostly secure, there have been incidents of these spy bodies attacking individual computers, so it’s not as anonymous as it once was.
Rest assured that torrenting does not equate to piracy. It does, however, provide a very convenient way to do it! The torrent protocol is just a clever transmission method for users to download files more easily. If you’re worried that you may be downloading something that’s against the laws in your country, ask below.
This article was first published in Jun 2013 and was updated in Nov 2017.
Image credit: Pirate Bay main page
Is It Illegal To Download Torrent Movies Online
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Since Singapore is a highly developed country in South Asia boasting latest-generation internet infrastructure, which is arguably one of the best in the world, today’s article is aimed at torrenting aficionados living there. Let’s begin with the basics.
Is It Illegal To Download Torrent Movies Files
Is torrenting illegal in Singapore?
However, there’s a caveat to that: it all depends on what you’re downloading.
Since Peer to Peer aka P2P technology is essentially an online platform for sharing files, the only thing that might get you in trouble in Singapore is the nature of the content. If the source of material is kosher and the person who uploads the respective online content has permission from the copyright owner to do so, it’s all unicorns and rainbows.
Torrenting in Singapore
Since we’ve already answered the question “is torrenting illegal in Singapore,” let’s take a quick look at the history of torrenting in the country. Since Singapore is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, with the vast majority of households connected to the internet via a broadband connection, torrenting and file-sharing generally speaking is very popular. According to official data, at least half of the population (one in two people interviewed) doesn’t have a “moral issue” with downloading copyrighted content via torrenting.
However, it’s funny to learn that 80 percent or 4 in 5 Singaporeans claim that respecting intellectual property is important, as per Intellectual Property Office of Singapore’s latest survey. Torrenting is a big thing in Singapore due to two main facts: blazing fast internet speeds and a huge number of free/open (hence anonymous) Wireless LAN internet access points, available in internet cafes and public libraries.
Another reason for which torrenting is widespread in Singapore is that there’s a shortage of legal means for downloading/streaming digital content. Needless to say, torrenting is the most popular among the younger Singaporeans, the 18-24 years of age demographic respectively, of which almost 40 percent say that they are regularly downloading movies and TV shows via torrenting.
Legal documents defining the use of torrent sites/files
The relevant legislation regarding using torrent sites and engaging in torrenting is The Copyright Act (Singapore) 2014.
Legal consequences for the torrenting of copyrighted material in Singapore
Is It Illegal To Download Torrented Movies In Usa
According to Singapore criminal law, if convicted of willful and significant copyright infringement to obtain a commercial advantage of sorts, you may be fined by up to $20,000, and you may also serve up to 6 months in jail. Repeated offenders may be fined by up to $50,000 and may serve up to 3 years of jail time.
The statute of limitations for copyright infringement in Singapore is 6 years. It’s worth mentioning that copyright law in Singapore is based on Australian legislation.
Torrenting-related lawsuit statistics in Singapore
Speaking of lawsuit statistics, back in 2006, the Recording Industry Association of Singapore (RIAS) filed the first lawsuits related to torrenting activities, illegal music file-sharing respectively, under the United States-Singapore Free Trade Agreement. One year later, in 2007, an anime distributor (Odex) started tracking down and even sending legal threats against torrent-users. Singapore’s courts ordered internet service providers to reveal subscribers’ personal info.
Cease and desist letters were sent by Odex to users as young as nine years old, and these actions led to out of court settlements for at least $2,000 per individual. More recently, internet service providers in Singapore blocked a number of torrent sites following orders from the country’s High Court, including The Pirate Bay and Kickass Torrents.
How to torrent safely in Singapore
Now comes the fun part, as we’ll teach you how to torrent safely and anonymously in Singapore. Provided you already have a BitTorrent client (uTorrent/BitTorrent/whatever) installed on your machine, here’s a short step-by-step tutorial:
Step 1: Choose a VPN service provider and download/install the software on your computer by following the instructions.
Remember to stay safe while torrenting. In the table below you’ll find the 5 best VPNs for torrenting:
|#||PROVIDER||CATEGORY SCORECATEGORY SCORE|
All-around leading VPN
Forward-thinking and affordable
Cheapest torrenting VPN
P2P VPN with cloud storage
Known for excellent security
Step 2: Choose a P2P server (keep in mind that the best VPN providers offer dedicated servers for torrenting) and connect to it.
Step 3: Check to see if your real IP address is hidden before starting torrenting. Click here to see your real IP address, then check it again with the VPN service started and see if it changes.
Step 4: When the VPN connection is established and your real IP address is changed, you can safely start torrenting.
Best VPN for torrenting in Singapore
NordVPN is the best VPN for torrenting in Singapore. The truth is that in regard to torrenting, NordVPN is almost too good to be true, making for the ideal choice if you’re looking for the best VPN service provider to browse the web securely and completely anonymously.
Read our full NordVPN review
To begin with, NordVPN is excellent for both torrenting & P2P and video streaming, as it boasts more than 5,7000 servers spread all over the world, and uses the best VPN protocols in the industry, the default being OpenVPN, along with military-grade encryption for all of your data (AES 256-bit encryption respectively).
The main features that make NordVPN an excellent choice for torrenting include a strict zero-logs policy, the fact that it offers a free SOCKS5 proxy, as well as the fact that the company is based in Panama – a country that doesn’t have data retention laws.
Even though not all of their servers permit torrenting, the ones that do are actually optimized for P2P file sharing, i.e., optimized for torrents, which means you’ll benefit from blazing fast download speeds.
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Julie is a firm believer in equal rights for everyone. She is a traveler and blogger, focusing her efforts on exposing censorship and discrimination around the world. She wants to hold corrupt governments and shady companies accountable by writing investigative articles and helpful guides.