What is Torrenting? Is it Safe? Is it Illegal? Can You Get Caught?

If you ever downloaded a TV show or a movie without paying for it, you probably used a torrent. Torrenting is one of the easiest ways to transfer large sizes of files from one place to another. Some estimates suggest that torrenting accounts for half of the internet traffic daily.

While it might seem like torrenting is an efficient and harmless way of downloading files directly from the internet without paying for it, the reality is far different.


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What is Torrenting?

Torrenting is file sharing. It works through a peer-to-peer network which means people are sharing files and downloading files simultaneously. It’s like a central place that hosts buyers and sellers, except that it is free.

Torrenting is associated mainly with piracy. This is primarily because torrenting sites host many files, most of which are protected by copyright. These copyright files include movies, TV shows, games, music, and software.

Is Torrenting Safe?

Since you are a part of the torrent swarm, your IP address is public to anyone on the torrent site and even your ISP. Anyone who wants to see your IP address can simply go to the torrent clients’ trackers and get insights into your geolocation, device name, local time, and much more.

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If you’re downloading a torrent that is protected by copyright and end up getting caught in the process, you could face a hefty fine. That fine could be from your Internet Service Provider (ISP) and even the government. This is because there are strict laws in most states around piracy. Many have been previously caught and have faced heavy penalties.

Even though the risks of torrenting are very much there, millions of internet users resort to torrenting files regularly.

Is Torrenting Illegal?

Torrenting itself is not illegal. There are legitimate uses of torrents. Torrenting becomes illegal when you’re downloading copyrighted files that are protected under a copyright clause.

However, it isn’t like the torrenting site that hosts files has a dedicated column stating which file is legal or illegal. As an internet user, it’s not always immediately apparent which content is legal to torrent and which one isn’t.

It’s safe to assume that most of the content available on torrenting sites falls in a grey area, meaning that if you download a torrent, it’s most probably illegal and against the law. Come to think of it, downloading copyright material is against ethics as well since you’re consuming it without actually paying for it.

At the same time, torrenting has several legitimate uses as well. Most companies that offer software or entertainment content use torrenting sides to lessen the load on their servers. By doing so, the traffic inflow and downloading activities are distributed among several users.

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How to Securely Torrent?

The last thing you want is to receive a hefty fine from your ISP or the government for illegally downloading copyright content.

The most reliable way to torrent without being detected is to use a reliable Virtual Private Network, commonly referred to as a VPN. A VPN masks your actual IP address and assigns you a temporary IP address of another country.

The ability to cloak an IP address enables users to keep their internet activity hidden from the ISP. That’s not all; a good VPN provides encryption that ensures your internet activities are secured against cybercriminals and hackers who are actively looking for ways to infiltrate your network.