Are Torrents Legal?

Yes! But not always…

Torretting is the act of sharing files on the BitTorrent protocol, so it’s not really much different than using other file sharing protocols like HTTP and FTP.

In fact, you’re using HTTP right now to read this web page — images, text, and other content has already downloaded to your computer, so you’re effectively participating in file sharing right now.

However, the issue with torrents is when they’re used to spread illegal pieces of data, such as copyrighted material. This is often in the form of movies and music but can also include documents, emails, software, and other digital data.

The short answer as to whether torrents are illegal or not depends entirely on what you’re downloading or sharing, not the fact that you’re using torrents to do it.

Important: Torrents are notorious for spreading not only illegal files but also unsafe, malicious content such as viruses and spyware. Understand exactly what you should prepare for before downloading torrents to make sure you go about it safely.

Which Torrents Are Legal?

It’d be impossible to list every torrent file here to describe which ones are legal and which ones you should avoid. However, it’s relatively easy to explain the types of torrents that are legal.

Legal torrents include anything in the public domain or anything that you own all the rights to. If you made your own music and you want to share it with the world, you can. If you built a software program or created a video that you don’t mind circulating the internet for free, sharing it via torrents is completely legal.

Of course, sharing your own files through torrents isn’t usually the concern. It’s instead knowing whether the torrent you want to download from a torrent site is illegal or fair game. After all, it’s next to impossible to see a file somewhere on a random torrent site and immediately understand all of its copyright standings to confirm whether downloading it is safe and legal.

The best advice we can give for making sure you don’t download illegal torrents is avoiding any and all torrents unless they’ve been provided directly from the source of the data.

For example, if a software developer includes a torrent file on their website for downloading their program, it’s safe to use. If an artist lets you download an album for free via a torrent, be sure to only use it from their official website or social media account to confirm that they’ve given permission.

Countries Where Torrents Are Illegal

Wikipedia details the legal aspects of file sharing that you can use to see how it applies in your country. For example, Germany issues fines for downloading copyrighted files through torrents.

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