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Is Torrenting Illegal In US

The debate over torrenting has been around for a large number of years, and it shows no sign of reducing.

The main question lies around if the process of downloading torrents is illegal or not? Many countries frown upon it, yet they appear to have a blanket view on anything to do with torrents.

Here you can learn, is downloading torrents illegal, and can you get into trouble for using torrent sites and P2P file-sharing apps. You can also learn how to protect yourself in case you become tarred with the same brush when you think about downloading a torrent file to two.

Is Downloading Movies Legal in USA?

It is here that the debate continues about downloading movies in the United States, and many other countries around the world.

You can look at downloading movies from two sides. If the movie is out of copyright or in the public domain, and free for public consumption. There is no reason you cannot download it using the BitTorrent protocol and a torrent client.

However, the difference comes when you begin downloading movies that are new releases and copyright holders have not issued them for general release to the public.

You often see this in cases where movies are CAM recordings in the cinema and then uploaded to be accessed from torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay. The downloader and the uploader can be seen as carrying out copyright infringement.

Besides, when using torrenting clients, you will automatically seed the same file, and you are carrying out the same task as the original uploader of the movie.

How Dangerous is Torrenting?

Once you begin downloading the torrent files, this will come to your computer from many sources. Most instances, this will be other torrent user’s computers.

If you are downloading or uploading you are termed ‘a peer’ and when there are many users, this is a ‘swarm.’ Anyone can see who is in this swarm from their IP address that will be shown inside the torrent client app.

Once you begin to look at the dangers of torrenting, you will see that in most cases, the torrent clients are safe to use, although some try to install adware on their installation.

In addition to this, the torrent protocol is itself safe as it is just the means of splitting the files and downloading them to devices that are using a torrent client.

The dangers come from other areas, and can include the following:


Torrent files come from multiple sources, and you will never know where these are located aside from seeing IP addresses and countries (may not be accurate if using a VPN when downloading). Files can contain viruses, and some of the uploaders may infect their files as they take advantage of users downloading free movies.

Luckily, many antivirus software can stop these infecting your system before you have a chance to click on the movie file or run the software installation file.

Data Security

You can find that some torrenters use their company internet connections to torrent with. In a bid to hide this from bosses, they can place the folders and the app in a folder containing sensitive information. Either this data can be uploaded accidentally, or bosses may spot the erroneous torrent client and downloads in company folders.


Anyone who uses the internet will face threats from hackers who try to break into user’s systems. Torrenting can be just the way for them to achieve this as you allow access by nature of the way torrenting works. Every time you download files, users expose their IP addresses.

Hackers have many tools they can use to get information. While you are torrenting, you may not be aware of any strange activity on your computer. This is true if you leave it running overnight to download any torrent files, and not merely copyrighted material.

Is Piracy Illegal in USA?

It is good to understand what piracy is before knowing what they class as illegal.

Digital piracy is where anyone downloads and/or distributes copyrighted material and another person’s intellectual property without paying for it. At the most basic, this is an illegal act.

When you begin looking at digital piracy, these are violations of federal copyright laws. As a result, you may find steep fines or jail time, though it does depend on the extent of piracy.

Powers that be will look down on downloading illegal torrents as digital piracy and an act of digital theft. There is such focus on this because there can be a loss of billions of dollars each year to the copyright holders, be it movie studios, software development companies or recording artists.

However, as large as the financial loss is, there is more at stake than money.

Here are some of the reason’s piracy takes place:

  • Not wanting to pay: Many individuals want things for free. It can take second to find any file you want to download.
    Financial Hardship: Following on from not wanting to pay, some individuals can’t afford certain things. A prime example being games or a copy of Microsoft Office, or other software.
  • Companies have enough money: Many individuals think that companies earn enough from their products, so giving away a few copies is Okay.
  • To make money: Piracy exists as you can have a physical product to sell once you download it once.
  • To infect machines: Hackers use infected torrent files to take over computers or steal information.

Effects of piracy can have an impact on anyone from music artists to movie studios and the effects on cybersecurity.

Can You Go to Jail for Torrenting?

You need to understand more before you wonder if there will be legal action against you for downloading the latest movie and you get caught.

Before diving in, you should know that you need a VPN for downloading, be it legal or you happen to download any copyrighted material.

Copyright Trolls

Torrenting without protection leaves you vulnerable to copyright trolls. Such companies are employed by studios and recording labels to target anyone they catch torrent users (legal or not).

You can receive warning letters, fines and threats of jail time if the copyright trolls think you are downloading something you shouldn’t. Now they use it as a moneymaking exercise.

Suspect Torrent Sites

Some torrent sites are actually safe to visit. However, even if they don’t host copyrighted content, they get shut down. As a result, suspect ones with pop-up ads and malware take over to catch unsuspecting users.

Connection Throttling

ISPs see what you are doing, and as you consume more bandwidth, they may decide to slow your connection.

Things may move up a level if you are caught, and it doesn’t just mean the copyright trolls have spotted your IP address and found you.


ISPs can see exactly what you do online, and this means who uses torrent client, and those who don’t.

ISPs record your activity on a torrenting database, which they are legally bound to keep. Also, they record what you were torrenting as a means of checking for copyright infringement.

You may get a warning, and if you are a repeat offender, you can have your connection disconnected. Any time these trolls or government agencies want information, ISPs have to hand it over. (Read Top Torrent Download Sites)

Anyone torrenting needs to download with VPN. These are the only way you can protect yourself against trolls hunting for users who tread on the toes of copyright infringement.

It just takes one file, and you can go in the database, and it can be there for the amount of time ISP’s need to retain data.

When you use a VPN, you have the best protection because all your connections have military-grade encryption. When torrenting US ISPs won’t see what you are doing.

Downloading with VPN also stops your ISP slowing your connection, and if there is any block in place for your favorite torrent site, you can bypass these without any effort.

One of the best things, when you use a VPN for torrenting, is no one can see your IP address. As you connect and change to a torrent safe location, your IP address will change, and even other torrenters will think you are somewhere else to where you are.

Lastly, VPNs are fantastic for stopping any hackers from finding their way onto your computer. No matter how hard they try the IP address, they won’t see your real one to put your home network at risk.

A VPN can help you in everyday life online by keeping you safe and protecting your privacy. Besides this, you can access things you wouldn’t be able to do previously, so it may be possible to stream from overseas rather than download something that may be suspect.



Streamr Go

StreamrGo is always about privacy, specifically protecting your privacy online by increasing security and better standard privacy practices.