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.


  • Ahsan

    I dont want to pay for the movies.

    For softwares, I can pay.

  • Pirater

    Why we do not buy softwares/operating system? The reason is that because they are over-priced with respect to Poor countries economy. For example, Some one has a Monthly salary Rs.15000. How he can buy a Paid Software. In united states, Average salary is over $40,000/Annam. Pay us like this and we are happy to buy “Original” softwares. or reduce the prices of softwares to our level.
    Think here first.

    • Vendetta

      very well said the price should be lower

    • Thumbs up ..!!

  • OA

    Good article. Completely agree with the author that whilst torrents and other forms of file sharing IS illegal, there is NO way to stop it, at least not without taking some drastic and ultimately unjustified action that will severaly curtail web freedom. Taking legal action against the perpetrators will not do anything. After all, how many people can you go after? The cost of litigation alone and the sheer number of violators out there makes legal action entirely unfeasible. The only solution to this dilemna is that content owners, whether that be artists, movie studios, the recording industry etc, MUST evolve a new business model. They have to figure out new ways of revenue generation that can co-exist with the present dynamic of intellectual property on the web. And secondly, the law has to make a distinction between digital content available online and physical, tangible property. Copyright and intellectual property laws currently treat them as the same thing, which will never work.

  • fayaz

    well reading the above artical sounds greek to me becoz at usa n rest of west countries they aint blocked such torrent sites or softwares how they gona do here in my opition there is always some secret doors too so dont worry n chill
    good wishes

  • m.a.m

    my question is, is downloading torrets legal in pakistan or not and what are the laws for downloading here like torrents,music,movies,e books,videos etc.
    and if its legal here so no police or company can catch them and sue them for a million dollars.
    is that the thing here?

    please reply to me here anyone here in the comments or the propakistani.pk web owner.

  • Excellent Blog. I like it very much.

  • What Louis vitton gucci and other fashion houses realized was that the person ripping off Chinese look alike of their designs is not part of their target audience in the first place.

    We may blame torrents for piracy but at the end of the day they’ve come up because the entertainment industry hasn’t innovated and prefers to stick to it’s draconian laws. I’d pay to stream netflix in Pak but of course licenses don’t permit it.

    Second reason is of course pricing.

  • Ahmed

    please help me, i thnk my univerity administration has blocked torrent, i dnt know how to download torrent using an alternate?
    PLZ HELP !!!!

  • saif

    Torrents are illegal but the softwares are over priced, i guess not fair