What is a Torrent? Is BitTorrent Legal?

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MadMike wrote in to ask what exactly a Torrent file is, and whether or not they are legal. He also is wondering how you can tell if something IS illegal or not.

A Torrent file isn’t really a file to download, rather it’s a link pointing to where you can download a file from. Torrenting Torrent is a method of distributing large amounts of data widely without the original distributor incurring the entire costs of hardware, hosting and bandwidth resources. Instead, when data is distributed using the Torrent protocol, each recipient supplies pieces of the data to newer recipients, reducing the cost and burden on any given individual source, providing redundancy against system problems, and reducing dependence on the original distributor.

Now, let’s get into the legalities of Torrenting files. I personally use Torrents to download my Linux distros. By downloading them this way, I get them much faster. It saves the companies hosting dollars. Instead of having to supply hosting for the different distros, the developers can simply put them up on a Torrent, and share them that way. That is perfectly legal. Also, downloading different Virtual Machines for VMWare is legal.

The way you get into illegalities, is when you download something that is being distributed without owner permission. This covers most music, film and programs for a computer. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, such as with Indie music or films. They want their stuff circulated, to bring attention to it. For the most part, though, artists and companies do not agree for you to obtain their material without paying for it.

One other thing to remember is that any P2P type file sharing program can cause you to get malware on your computer. Many files that are available for download have attached viruses, trojans, spam, and the like. Simply downloading the seemingly harmless file and trying to “play” it in your favorite media player can quickly infect your machine.

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66 thoughts on “What is a Torrent? Is BitTorrent Legal?”

  1. Pingback: Movies torrent
  2. Hey Chis, just saw yourt video on “Torrent files”. Well just as a curiosity; I´m a Law student in Spain, and if, you download something illegal (like whatever music with copyright) you are not really doing anything bad. that is, in spanish law. The keypoint in this country for single users is: “benefit”. So if you download files and don´t earn any money with them you´re fine. I don´t know. Police went to a friends home in Denmark to take his hard drive. Not in Spain (thank God). Anyway. You´re videos and show is really cool. Becoming a big fan. And I´m very thankful to you for that. Cheers!! e ya later!

  3. Whats up with the vista toolbar? Mine goes crazy. Bad enuf that I have to restart using task mngr. After a google serch It seems like a bunch of folks have the same prob.

  4. Linux itself is the kernel or the base of your system with hardware support, etc with X (allows a graphical interface) with your window manager and enviroment.

  5. lets say you just downloaded a torrent ok? usaully after its downloaded it says “seeding” that means it helps other users download it faster so when choosing a torrent look for one with more seeders then leechers.

  6. lolz, WTH, I always download from torrents, I never get viruses AT ALL, plus I download illegal stuff and legal stuff, I never bothered thinking of it, that’s the ONLY great think about my country lol…

    Ubuntu (Linux) doesn’t actually have any kind of viruses, and it has torrent downloads, how come? or am I wrong, does Ubunutu has torrent downloads?

  7. is torrent a thing that stayes on while you look at stuff or when your on the starting page can you click on it i dont know help????????

  8. I just started downloading torrents and I am worried about getting a virus. I used to download music on limwire and I destroyed my computer. Is it best just not even to take the risk with torrents?

  9. HI!!

    very intersting, but now i want to download a Adoon for FS2004 (PAYWARE) now i found a torrent file and i never use Bittorrent befor, and now my questions why does the Programm of Bit torrent does not Download the file?? after 10 mins. i stopp the download because it was on just 0,0% and was it Legal to download Payware adoons??

    gettings

    Mathias R.

  10. HI!!

    very intersting, but now i want to download a Adoon for FS2004 (PAYWARE) now i found a torrent file and i never use Bittorrent befor, and now my questions why does the Programm of Bit torrent does not Download the file?? after 10 mins. i stopp the download because it was on just 0,0% and was it Legal to download Payware adoons??

    gettings

    Mathias R.

  11. The problem you have (i think) is that there are less seeders to leechers. Leechers are people Downloading and Seeders are people up loading. If there are more leechers then seeders then the Download rate gets slowed or reallt F***** up.

  12. The problem you have (i think) is that there are less seeders to leechers. Leechers are people Downloading and Seeders are people up loading. If there are more leechers then seeders then the Download rate gets slowed or reallt F***** up.

  13. Is there a fast torrent download? I have bittorrent and I have a wireless 1.5meg download, but my torrents are 30KBPS at most, please anybody have any good advice?

  14. It shows where torrents are. Its like a book on how to make a atom bomb. You are within the law if you just read it, but if you make one, RUN FROM THE FEDS! (and your bomb, lol).

    Yes though Pirate Bay only shows you where to download stuff, unlike the a-bomb book, it is illegal.

  15. I love using torrents and get Trojans, Viruses then fighting them. It’s like challenging and like to see what these things do.

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