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Is Torrenting Illegal? – All You Need To Know About Torrenting! | Techjury
Is Torrenting Illegal?
Torrenting is often associated with internet piracy and copyright infringement. The open access to high volumes of free music, movies and games just raises a red flag, doesn’t it?
Is torrenting illegal? How exactly does this tech work? And should you use it to download content from the web for free?
The answers to these questions aren’t as straightforward as you’d imagine.
So, we’ll begin with the basics and cover everything from what torrenting is to how to use it safely.
And once we answer it all, you may view this technology beyond its general reputation.
Now, let’s start!
What Is Torrenting?
Torrenting is the act of downloading and uploading files through the BitTorrent network. This is a communication protocol for peer-to-peer file sharing, which enables data exchange in a decentralized manner.
Now, in layman’s terms:
Basically, torrenting is like other forms of downloading, but the way you get files isn’t as clear-cut as it usually is. And also, you have more freedom when it comes to sharing your own data.
When fetching data from an HTTP protocol, it comes from an advanced server designed to handle traffic from large numbers of people at the same time.
With torrent applications, things work a bit differently.
Rather than being stored in one place, files you download come from hundreds of servers or even more. What’s even more unusual is that they’re almost exclusively personal computers. This means advanced hardware takes no part in this type of data exchange.
How did it all start?
The beginning was 20 years ago when a programmer, Bram Cohen, came up with a new way to transfer large files. It was a response to the incredibly slow internet at the time, which couldn’t facilitate large data moves.
Now that you know what torrenting is, it’s time to come up with an answer to the question – how does torrenting work?
How Does Torrenting Work?
Downloading files via peer exchange may sound confusing. In reality, the entire concept isn’t that difficult to grasp.
So, what’s the first thing you’re supposed to do when downloading something this way?
Well, first, you need either a torrent file or a magnet link to click on.
The former is a file on your computer that uses the. torrent filename extension and starts the download process upon a double click. The latter is a link that contains all the information your client needs to start scraping the file right away.
This sends out a request for the file you want, and your program tries to locate it on other computers running their file-sharing software.
Therefore, you can access data from more than just one place. So, when you download torrent films, for example, each file comes in bits and pieces from different users.
When you start downloading something, your torrent will choose from which servers to gather data. It’ll do so based on where it can find the file parts you need.
The transfer load is distributed between computers exchanging files to ensure no one’s bandwidth gets overloaded.
Let’s look at an example.
We’ll imagine you decided to share a 500MB file from your computer in a traditional manner. In case 1, 000 people try to get it from you, all at the same time, it would exhaust your upload bandwidth entirely. The result — everyone’s torrent app will have to spend hours trying to download it.
Torrents eliminate issues like this with a simple solution. They let users scrape pieces of data from multiple places with that specific file (a. k. a. the swar) until they get the full version. The absence of a central server means no one’s internet will suffer an enormous decrease in speed. And the users downloading the file will still get it at the end of the process.
Even if the original sharer stops distributing it, other users can still do it once they complete the download. That’s because of the peer-to-peer foundation of BitTorrent.
So, unless you change the preferences in the program you use, you’ll automatically share the computer file you’ve downloaded with users online.
This completes the cycle and ensures the original file remains available to everyone.
How quickly does one obtain something this way often depends on the seeders vs leechers ratio.
Wondering what these two concepts are?
We’ll explain that as well.
With most torrent programs, when you download a file, you automatically become a seeder. This means other users can scrape it from you whenever you’re online.
Of course, you can stop seeding whenever you want to.
Just keep in mind that zero seeds mean it’s impossible to download the file.
In the world of torrenting, people who download data from servers without seeding it are called leechers.
Some scrape more than they upload, while others upload absolutely nothing once they get the file they want.
Is Torrenting Safe and How to Torrent Safely?
BitTorrent is best known as a place for pirate movies, games, music, and other types of content.
This is something ISPs are aware of, which is why you may often hear the question “is torrenting safe? ”
It’s just that there’s so much copyrighted content floating online, and it’s so easy to get access to it. Quite often, ISPs send warning letters and links to anti-piracy educational resources when they identify BitTorrent users.
While the practice should be approached with caution, it’s not as unsafe as it may seem.
Depending on where you’re based, the worst thing that can happen is your provider reducing your bandwidth or suspending your account.
If you don’t want that to happen, you’re probably wondering how to torrent safely.
The good news is that protecting your privacy when downloading files isn’t difficult. You can do it even if you don’t have any special computer skills.
Also, you can choose between two common tools for doing so — VPN and Proxy.
If you don’t want anyone to know that you’re downloading content using BitTorrent, you can change your virtual location.
And how do you do that?
The answer is — using a VPN.
This little tool can make it appear as if you were browsing the internet from a different city, state, or country.
In addition, it can encrypt all the traffic passing through the tunnel, ensuring you stay safe when downloading.
That’s why VPN and torrenting go hand in hand.
We have a list of the best VPN services for torrenting, including some big names like NordVPN, ExpressVPN, PIA, Surfshark, and more.
Proxy also ensures you stay safe when torrenting It also changes your IP address, but it substitutes it with its own.
That way, your privacy remains intact, and you don’t even have to show your actual IP.
If you opt to download data this way, you can check out our list of the best proxy server services for this year.
Now’s time to answer the big question – Is torrenting illegal?
When you think about it, it will make sense that this type of file transfer isn’t allowed. After all, it’s most commonly used to share copyrighted content with other internet users.
However, the tech behind BitTorrent hasn’t been designed specifically for this use. Therefore, there’s nothing illegal in torrenting itself.
But if you download unsanctioned copyrighted material, you break the law.
This also isn’t as clear as you’d imagine. There’s a lot of a gray area about what’s legal to torrent and what isn’t.
Still, even if you download something that obviously isn’t allowed, there’s a big chance you won’t be held responsible. This depends on your location, though.
For example, some countries have fines for all types, including movies, TV shows, and music torrenting.
These countries are:
If you plan to download something while in one of these countries, using a VPN is an absolute must.
But there’s more…
Some countries have a different policy against torrenting. Here’s a list of those that have a history of shutting down these types of sites:
Many internet users aren’t aware of how it all works. That’s why we’ll check out another example.
For instance, is torrenting illegal in the USA?
Using this type of file transfer isn’t illegal in the USA. You can safely share data this way and not worry about breaking the law.
However, the moment you upload or download something copyrighted, your actions become subject to a fine.
And is torrenting illegal in other places around the world?
In many other countries, the answer is yes. However, depending on where you are, the fines are rarely imposed, meaning that in most of them you can freely download/share any type of content.
Even in that case, using a VPN or Proxy is a good idea.
Do’s and Don’ts of Torrenting Use
So, what should you and shouldn’t do when torrenting?
Let’s take a look!
Do Use a VPN or Proxy
Earlier, we talked about what both of these are. Therefore, you already know how they can shield your privacy when downloading.
Even if you don’t plan on picking up anything copyrighted, ensuring torrent anonymity is a good idea. When using a VPN or Proxy, you know no one has a clue that it was you who downloaded something.
Plus, many of these services have extra security features that can come in handy.
Do Choose Torrent Sites Carefully
Torrenting is way more popular than it may seem. There are plenty of websites where you can go to and start downloading content.
Unless you want to risk downloading infringing files, you should be very careful about what site you use.
The best thing you can do is find one that adheres to all laws and get your data from there. Vuze, Inc., for example, has a zero-tolerance policy for copyrighted content.
Do Be Careful When Seeding
Another important part of how to torrent safely is to be careful when seeding.
Whether you’re just seeding or want to share data, you have to know what you’re doing. The last thing you want to do is click on that “upload file” button and break some sort of law.
Don’t Use PirateBay
PirateBay has a bulk of content that’s just waiting to be downloaded.
However, it’s one of the places that expose you to an abundance of torrents monitored closely for infringement.
Unless you have plenty of experience with this tech, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere for content that’s not copyrighted.
Don’t Upload Your Own CD Rips
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many people engage in movie torrenting by uploading their own CD rips. Whatever type of computer file formats you have on original CDs or DVDs, sharing it this way can get you in trouble.
Even if you live in one of the countries where torrenting is legal, you don’t want to get copyrighted material out there.
What Happens if You’re Caught Pirating?
While torrenting is legal, downloading and sharing content someone else has protected isn’t. Digital piracy does come with consequences that vary depending on where you live.
We already mentioned earlier that ISPs pay attention to what type of data you’re transferring using torrent. When they detect that you’re engaging in illegal activities, they can send you a warning or even reduce your bandwidth.
But that’s not the only reason why torrenting without VPN or Proxy isn’t recommended.
In some countries, you can earn a fine just for downloading a movie from using this tech.
For example, in Germany, this penalty can go all the way up to €1, 000.
In the US, copying data and sharing it with programs like µTorrent can even lead to imprisonment and/or a $250, 000 fine.
That’s why you have to be extremely careful what kind of data you’re working with when using this tech. Also, you should only engage in torrenting with VPN or Proxy.
Is Torrenting Illegal? – Conclusion
So, the act of torrenting itself is 100% legal. All you do is transfer data differently than you do with a standard HTTP protocol. You can use torrent programs to download and share files with other users.
However, the moment you start transferring copyrighted data, you’re breaking the law. Based on your location, fines for that can be extremely high and even involve jail time.
This only shows how careful you have to be when downloading with torrents.
Some countries don’t impose any rules against piracy, but knowing what kind of content you’re handling is always a good idea.
We highly recommend VPN or Proxy set up just in case.
SOCKS vs. HTTP Proxy: Which is better & safer … – Download Privacy
A good VPN is our #1 recommended tool for secure, private torrents. But many people still use a proxy server either as the primary privacy layer, or as a 2nd IP change (used with a VPN).
There are two common proxy types that are widely available:
It is very important to understand the difference between these two proxy protocols, especially if you intend to use them for torrenting. That is because each is designed to carry different types of traffic, and one (HTTP proxies) can’t handle BitTorrent files downloads at all.
This guide will teach you:
The strengths and limitations of HTTP vs SOCKS proxiesWhich proxy type to use for specific applicationsWhy you should NEVER use an HTTP proxy for torrentsOur favorite zero-log SOCKS proxy services (some included free w/ VPN)
Overview: Key differences between SOCKS & HTTP proxies
Before we dive into specifics, here are they important differences in the way SOCKS and HTTP proxy protocols work.
An HTTP/HTTPS Proxy:
Is built to transmit hypertext traffic like a webpageIs an ‘Application Layer’ proxyCan be encrypted (HTTPS)Can communicate with HTTP torrent trackersCANNOT transmit BitTorrent file ‘pieces’ between torrent peersCANNOT hide your real IP address from peers
Bottom Line: An HTTP proxy is not suitable for torrent privacy because peers will still see your real IP address. You can use an HTTP proxy to unblock torrent trackers or sites that may be blocked by a firewall.
A SOCKS Proxy:
Can transmit almost any sort of trafficCan include an encryption layer (usual SSH)Can communicate with HTTP or DHT trackersCAN transmit file data between BitTorrent peersCAN hide you real IP address from peers
Bottom Line: A SOCKS5 proxy is a low-level proxy, meaning it isn’t restricted to specific applications or traffic types. A SOCKS5 proxy can handle BitTorrent peer communications and will obscure your IP address in swarms.
A SOCKS5 proxy is the best type of proxy to use for torrent privacy.
HTTP Proxy (in-depth)
As their name suggests, HTTP Proxies are specifically designed for the proxying of HTTP data. HTTP is the protocol used to transfer website data. Anytime you visit a website, the address will be “. HTTP is the protocol by which all data is transferred from the web server to your computer.
HTTP proxies are great at doing this. If you need a proxy for your web browser (for example to unblock netflix from outside the USA) and HTTP proxy will work great. If you try to use an HTTP proxy for other protocols, however, you will start to have problems.
HTTP Proxies are also available in an encrypted form (known as HTTPS) that allows data to be transferred securely using light SSL encryption. This can help the proxy tunnel through a firewall or prevent monitoring by 3rd parties (such as an internet service provider).
Advantages of an HTTP Proxy
Designed for a specific purpose: An HTTP proxy is designed to do one thing extremely well; transmit HTTP data. If you’re looking for a proxy for web-based browsing, an HTTP proxy will be stable and highly with Encryption: The encrypted version of an HTTP proxy, (known as HTTPS) is widely available and quite secure, using open-source encryption algorithms. An encrypted proxy can protect sensitive communications like email, or prevent your ISP from throttling or monitoring your web available for free: Most free proxy services you’ll see on proxy lists across the internet are HTTP proxies. They’re easy to set up, and don’t require authentication. However free proxies do have certain risks and limits.
Reasons an HTTP proxy isn’t suitable for torrenting
By its very design, the HTTP proxy was designed to do one thing extremely well. But that specific excellence comes with trade-offs.
#1 – HTTP Proxy can’t transport torrent traffic: An HTTP proxy simply can’t carry certain types of traffic, especially lower-level (transport layer) TCP & UDP packets used for BitTorrent data transfer.
Even worse, this limitation isn’t obvious in most torrent clients. In fact, Vuze, uTorrent & QBittorrent (to name a few) will all route peer connections outside of the proxy tunnel (unsecured) if you use an HTTP proxy.
#2 – HTTP Proxies don’t support UDP: Bittorrent is heavily reliant on UDP packets, which are flat-out not supported by HTTP proxies. Many torrent trackers (how your torrent software finds peers) rely on the UDP protocol. Also, DHT exclusively uses the UDP protocol to find additional peers. Without UDP support, your torrent downloads will likely be extremely slow.
#3 – Many Public HTTP Proxies will block torrents altogetherPublic proxy servers are often designed to allow users to freely access websites without restrictive firewalls. They don’t want torrent downloads using huge chunks of their server bandwidth and they will often block common torrent ports or blacklist torrent downloaders.
#4 – HTTP Proxies will be much slowerA number of factors combine to dramatically slow torrents downloaded via HTTP Proxy. First, packets tend to get misrouted due to HTTP Proxy header rewrites (#1 above). Lack of UDP support (#2) means you can’t use DHT to find additional peers. And finally, HTTP proxy servers (especially free ones) tend to be extremely crowded which means you’ll likely get only a fraction of your available bandwidth for torrent downloads.
SOCKS/SOCKS5 PROXY (In-depth)
Unlike ‘High-Level’ HTTP proxies, which are designed for a specific protocol, SOCKS Proxy technology is ‘low-level’ and is designed to be an all-purpose proxy which can accommodate virtually any protocol, program, or type of traffic. This makes a SOCKS proxy ideal for the Bittorrent protocol.
SOCKS Version 5 (SOCKS5)There are multiple versions of the SOCKS proxy protocol. SOCKS5 (version 5) is the optimal choice for torrents because it includes full UDP support (which proxies do not), which will allow you to connect to more peers/trackers and experience much faster torrent downloads.
Pro TIP: All the anonymous proxy services recommended on this site use the SOCKS5 protocol.
Reasons why a SOCKS5 proxy is the best proxy type for Torrenting
#1 – Full UDP Protocol SupportSOCKS5 proxies support both TCP and UDP transfer protocols (the 2 data protocols used by bittorrent technology) so you get the full functionality of your torrent client even when you use a proxy. This means you can access UDP trackers and fully utilize DHT to maximize your number of available peers and download speeds.
#2 – Faster SpeedsA SOCKS5 proxy is will allow you do download torrents much faster than other proxy types. This because SOCKS5 offers full UDP support, allowing you to connect to the maximum number of peers.
Also, SOCKS proxies don’t rewrite data packet headers (like HTTP proxies do) which means your data packets won’t be misrouted or mislabled. Less errors = faster speeds.
#3 – Better privacy, more zero-log servers availableThere are multiple non-logging SOCKS5 torrent proxy services. A non-logging proxy offers maximum anonymity for virtually untraceable torrents. Learn why you should always use a non-logging VPN/proxy for torrents.
The Best SOCKS5 Proxy Services for Torrents/p2p
This is a quick overview of the best torrent-friendly SOCKS proxy services we’ve tested over the years.
Many of them are not standalone services, but rather included for free with an existing VPN subscription. This gives you the best of both worlds, at a price comparable (or cheaper than) buying proxy service alone.
#1 – NordVPN | SOCKS5 proxy included with all VPN plans (from $2. 99/month)
No Logs. Period.
p2p-optimized servers in 10+ locations
Torrent-friendly SOCKS5 proxy included
Works with Netflix, Hulu, HBOGo
30-day 100% refund policy
Best Offer: $2. 99/month
NordVPN is an incredible value, thanks to their incredible $2. 99/month subscription plan, which offers a discount of 74% off the retail price.
All plans include their no-log guarantee, VPN service with access on 5 devices, unlimited bandwidth, and a torrent-friendly p2p policy.
If NordVPN has one major weakness, it’s speed. While still fast enough for most uses (15-25 Mbps typical) it’s not nearly as fast as high-speed competitors like IPVanish and ExpressVPN.
But when it comes to value for the money, NordVPN (and PIA, our #2 option) are hard to beat.
#2 – Private Internet Access | SOCKS5 Proxy included w/ VPN (from $3. 49/month)
7-day 100% refund policy
Best Offer: $3. 49/month
Private Internet Access was the first VPN provider to include a SOCKS proxy with their service. It was (and still is) based in the Netherlands, using an ultra-high speed server cluster to serve thousands of users at once.
PIA’s proxy works flawlessly with Vuze, uTorrent and other major torrent clients, and will easily allow you to add a 2nd IP address change if you like.
Our complete PIA torrent & proxy guide will show you how to set everything up.
Read This: How to set up PIA proxy for uTorrent, Vuze & Deluge
#3 – Other non-logging SOCKS proxy services
There are several other torrent-friendly proxy providers that we recommend. Several of these do include the proxy access for free with a VPN subscription. A few others sell them as separate packages.
IPVanish: IPVanish is one of the fastest VPN providers around, and as of 2017 now include a Netherlands-based SOCKS proxy will all plans. Try IPVanish →Torguard: Torguard was one of the first providers to offer dedicated torrent proxy service. They have a nifty auto-installer that will configure your proxy settings for you inside your torrent client. VPN & Proxy packages are sold separately. Try Torguard → IBVPN: Invisible Browsing VPN (IBVPN) is a Romanian VPN company that includes a torrent-friendly proxy in their Torrent VPN plan or their Ultimate VPN package. Prices start under $4/month.
MORE GUIDES AND INFORMATION
We’ve put together several articles to help you choose the right VPN or proxy for your torrents. Here’s a few you should consider.
VPN vs Proxy: Learn whether a VPN or Proxy is the right choice for you. Or you can use both! How to use uTorrent Anonymously: Setup uTorrent with a VPN or ProxyHow to use Vuze Anonymously: Setup Vuze with a VPN or ProxyVPN Services that Include a SOCKS5 Proxy Free
David started torrenting before it was cool. He enjoys hiking, strategy games and eats watermelon year round. He still rocks his Napster t-shirt once a month.
Frequently Asked Questions about best torrent proxy
Can you go to jail for torrenting?
Can You Go To Jail for Torrenting? As long as you only transfer data that isn’t copyrighted, you can’t go to jail nor pay a fine for sharing data this way. … If torrenting is illegal in your country and you get caught downloading copyrighted content, you may be charged with a fine or even a prison sentence.Oct 4, 2021
Is SOCKS5 good for torrenting?
SOCKS5 (version 5) is the optimal choice for torrents because it includes full UDP support (which http proxies do not), which will allow you to connect to more peers/trackers and experience much faster torrent downloads. Pro TIP: All the anonymous proxy services recommended on this site use the SOCKS5 protocol.Jun 13, 2020