Torrents – Legal Issues Concerning Them

This is the second part of the Torrent series, in first part we discussed what they are and how they work – in this part we will highlight the legal issues concerning torrents.

Torrents on one hand are serving the netizens but on the other hand they are marked as illegal (reason is obvious). In simple terms torrents are just a way to share content between the netizens. This sharing isn’t illegal at all but when it comes to the sharing of pirated content, torrents are marked as illegal.

Almost 97 – 98% hosting companies do not allow hosting torrents, and most of them are simply afraid of the word torrent. This is because DMCA has got very strict rule against unauthorized reproduction and sharing without owner’s consent. DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) take keen interest to check and take appropriate action on reported illegal content.

Torrent itself isn’t illegal, but almost all of us are aware of the fact that you always find pirated content on the torrent sites. Like from a small application to an Operating System, from a song to a Movie and from a research paper to a complete book, you can easily find on torrents. It has become a mindset that each and everything which is available on the bit torrent is absolutely free and cracked.

Suppose someone purchases a license of Microsoft Office, say in $150, and after that he simply releases that package on torrent and will be available for free download, and all those users who didn’t even pay a single penny will use that Original Product from Microsoft.

This is not just about a single software, you can find all the versions of Windows, which are genuine and are validated from Microsoft, e.g. Original windows XP which is validated from Microsoft comes around in Rs. 11,000 which will include all the latest features, while the pirated copy of this, which comes around in Rs. 30 is marked as illegal by Microsoft. But you can find Original and validated version of the Windows XP on torrents, shared by other people, and you can enjoy all the features for free.

This is the main thing which makes torrents illegal, as unauthorized distribution of any product is strictly banned. You can even use torrents for your personal data sharing, but because of this piracy mindset, now torrents are clearly marked as illegal and are prohibited.

But still we cannot dwell without torrents as, we people, here in Pakistan always praise torrents for all the latest English or Hindi movie releases. Because no one will ever pay for the real price of any movie. Plus you have to wait for at least 1-2 weeks for the movie to come on DVD stores for purchase after its release in the cinema, but movies are leaked just after their release in the cinemas on the torrents.

Firstly the Cam Prints arrive, then the Pre Rip, then Pre DVD Rip, DVD Rip, DVD and finally DVD5 or DVD9. And all these are for free. And this is just an example, there are other things too, like software, operating systems, ebooks etc.

So finally after all the discussion, we conclude that what so ever is the case, TORRENTS ARE ILLEGAL!

DMCA can never stop this much piracy as you can force some hosting provider to remove the unauthorized content, but mutual sharing between users through their local ISPs can never be stopped, even if you ban the port, there are millions and billions of others, so you can always switch to another.

This piracy can not be stopped unless and until much awareness is created which may make people realize themselves that, through piracy, they are causing big financial harm to the companies as they release a product to earn profit. But this is almost impossible, 99% people will never pay for the thing which they can get free of charge. Because piracy is easier than legal purchase. Again we are off the view that nothing itself is bad, but its use decides where it falls.