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Torrenting - Illegal and Legal issues

Discussion in 'Software' started by Benjaminpott, Feb 1, 2009.

  1. Benjaminpott

    Benjaminpott Bit Poster

    So here I am torrenting my mates 4Gig photo album from his holiday arround Europe when I questioned how legal torrenting is - so I have a few questions.

    Is it legal to torrent movies - tv shows - programs etc?

    If it is illegal - then how come sites like mininova and thepiratebay are not getting caught for holding the torrent files that anyone can download?

    Are seeding and leaching both illegal in terms of copyrighted stuff?

    Is it possible to get caught and how often does it happen?

    What are the penalties for getting caught?

    Thanks to anyone who makes a post to this issue!

    Ben Potter8)
  2. delorean

    delorean Megabyte Poster

    This should at least give you a decent background on all of the questions you asked. So will this article too.

    Then there is also this to read too.

    p.s. Hope that last link is ok to use here, it is relevant after all... :inc
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  3. Benjaminpott

    Benjaminpott Bit Poster

    - thanks for the links i had a great read!:D
  4. drum_dude

    drum_dude Gigabyte Poster

    Yes it's illegal to publicly and privately distribute material without the permission of the copyright holder. Bit of a no-brainer really.

    Those sites you mention are hosted in countries where the authorities are either corrupt or too lazy to act on behalf of the copyright holders.

    Seeding and Leeching copyright material is illegal - another no-brainer.

    Yes, it's possible to get caught as they're 3rd party companies who specialise in monitoring torrent trackers/swarms to gather individual IP ranges. They pass this on to the relevent authorities.

    Some have gone to prison (in the case of the guy who leaked The Hulk), some have been taken to court and fined, some have had their Internet connection taken off them, some - major seeders - have had their doors busted down at 6am by police and various data centres around the world have been raided by police.

    Fines, prison, warnings you name it. It's a criminal offence likened to stealing so just ask yourself what happens when you get caught stealing.
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  5. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Assuming that you are not in the market for eye patches and stuffed parrots, then I think calling a site 'thepiratebay' says it all really.

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  6. John Neerdael

    John Neerdael Nibble Poster

    Not everyone is unfortunately in the same financial position and I know there are alot of people who want the learn but doesnt have the financial backbone to finance it. Torrenting is a good but illegal alternative, I'm sure there are way more people who will look bad on people who torrent but usually these are the people who actually can afford everything they have. Anyway downloading copyright protected information is stealing and I'm not saying it's good, stealing is bad but I can also understand why people do it.

    Should you enter in to a world of illegal downloading you can protect yourself a bit by using Peerguardian, which will block ip's from known authorities that try to monitor torrent downloaders and thus protecting you from them. This is more about protecting your privacy then anything else.

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  7. delorean

    delorean Megabyte Poster

    Like the Cayman Islands then. Piracy is so rampant here that no word of a lie, just down the road from me is a store space that acts an electronics shop. Inside are display cabinets STACKED (and I do mean literally stacked) high with recordable media with every possible movie, game and album you could possibly want. if they don't have it they will get it for you.

    Many more shops like this are littered around Grand Cayman and what's even more shocking is that the police here are seen in them regularly buying stuff for themselves! Reason? There is no copyright law here at all, not even linked in any way to UK law.

    It's actually made even more difficult to buy legit product because the few stores that do sell legit stuff charge an absolute fortune for it. Reason being is that it has to be imported to the country (just like everything else here from a box of eggs to a toothbrush to a trampoline). Everything that comes in to the country is subject to import charges. That's why a Nintendo Wii, for example, costs around US$600 to buy here. Even more shocking is I pay around US$5 for a loaf of bread because there is no other option. Backside is well and truly positioned over a barrel.

    It's certainly a more unique situation living here obviously. You could argue that a country with a population of around 50,000 does not really make that much of an impact on global sales of legit product. It obviously does somewhere along the lines.

    I'll actually fess up and state that I do download movies and music because I literally have no sensible alternate choice. I also refuse to pay money to the morons selling the stuff on the island when they most likely got it for free online too.

    Before anyone says "why don't you use Netflix or some alternate site" I can't because they won't accept credit cards or debit cards registered to an address in the Cayman Islands. That goes for lots of online stores too for that matter.

    Hey, i've always believed in the philosophy of if you like it, you pay for it. Right now though it's a case of I like it, i'd pay for it...but I can't because of all the reasons outlined above.
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  8. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Mugging grannies is a good but illegal alternative to earning a salary.


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  9. Wassup

    Wassup Byte Poster


    Wrong in so many ways that I can't be arsed to even begin to explain things to you.
  10. MLP

    MLP Kilobyte Poster


    Its worth mentioning that its the downloading of copyrighted material, (Software, Music, Films etc) via torrent, or any other method, that is illegal, not the protocol itself. As an example, OpenSUSE offers you the option of downloading OpenSUSE 11.1 via torrent, as well as over FTP or HTTP. This is useful of you have unreliable internet access, and also offloads some of the cost implications of hosting the files themselves.

    Another example of torrent being used for it's original purpose is this site, which I haven't tried out myself yet, but looks quite interesting.

    Sites such as the pirate bay have given legitimate users of torrent a bad reputation.

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  11. Theprof

    Theprof Petabyte Poster Forum Leader

    Not all torrenting is illegal. It is however used alot for downloading copyright material. Things like movies, music, games, applications, etc. are being downloaded on a daily basis by many many indaviduals for what ever reason. I don't really want to go into detail because it's not really the point. There are times when cerain applications that are freeware will be distributed over a torrent because it's a huge file and lets face it, its much easier on the servers distributing the torrent than having a lot of people on the same website trying to download the same file... this could cause server to go down, extremely slow network performance, etc.

    So to answer your question the torrenting technology in it self, is not illegal, but what we use it for makes either legal or illegal.
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  12. Benjaminpott

    Benjaminpott Bit Poster

    What do you mean by that?
  13. Benjaminpott

    Benjaminpott Bit Poster

    Say you were to go online and decide to download a movie from a torrent site...

    How likely are you of getting caught?

    Is it the mroe you download (in terms of files) the more likely you will get caught?

    What are the laws in Australia and how good are they at catching you in the act?

    To all - thanks for all your comments - some are a little scary tho...:ohmy
  14. zebulebu

    zebulebu Terabyte Poster

    Really? Care to explain where any of drum_dude's statement is 'wrong'? Because, TBH, I can't see a single part of it that is incorrect. You might not agree with the morality of what his statement implies - but factually speaking, it is 100% accurate.
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  15. greenbrucelee
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    greenbrucelee Zettabyte Poster

    Some guy in Cumbria got sued of some movie company, I believe it was Paramount he has lost his house because he can't afford the mortgage and has a bill of 50k or face prison. This was about 3 years ago.

    He was also dine for distributing the illegal movies.
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  16. delorean

    delorean Megabyte Poster

    That's probably why he lost his house. If he made money from it that is.
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  17. JonnyMX

    JonnyMX Petabyte Poster

    Do you need to profit from a crime to make it illegal?

    I don't think so...

    They'd still do him if he was distributing it for free.
    It's their loss they worry about, not his profit.

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  18. mattstevenson

    mattstevenson Byte Poster

    I'm not sure about all this. I think that they're generally more likely to go after the guys flogging DVDs down the pub. And I think that they're able to bring heavier charges upon them because there's just more proof there, and it's in hard copy (And probably in no short supply). Charging somebody with an Internet-based offence seems to be something that our government just aren't good at doing, and so the charges either become lesser or they end up having to make some sort of settlement.

    I keep a half an eye on P2P news. I haven't heard anything much about a UK based RIAA/MPAA, and since those organisations can't themselves take us to court over anything they accuse us of, the odds of getting sued are somewhat slim. Of course, the companies themselves (Record labels and such) are able to sue, but often they don't. Court proceedings are long winded, expensive, and apparently the success rate for the record labels in court has been somewhat hit or miss.

    ...Or so I've heard.
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  19. delorean

    delorean Megabyte Poster

    True; my response should have incinuated that. What I meant was that if he was distributing for profit I would imagine that would have added to the punishment he would have otherwise got had he just been distributing for free.
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  20. BosonMichael
    Highly Decorated Member Award

    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

    Agree, completely. Drum's statements are absolutely correct. I'd be curious to know why you think he's wrong.
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