As the protest against piracy of copyrighted content such as books, movie and music is growing louder, many countries have enacted stringent laws that prohibit such illegitimate distribution of copyright materials on the internet. Since the distribution of most of the pirated content takes place through BitTorrent technology and torrent hosting websites, some ISPs are blocking torrent sites to curb the illegal distribution of such content.
Blocking Torrents: Users visit popular torrent websites such as The Pirate Bay and Kickass Torrents to download their favourite content. But many of these sites are being shut down by the ISPs in different countries.
Why some ISPs block torrent sites? It’s because of the risks to users through torrent sites, advertisements on them and from users who are participating in the distribution of the content. The unethical practices that some torrent sites openly indulge in and encourage are another reason for ISPs to shut them down.
But similar new websites are coming up every now and then and the business of torrent is never dull. But as a user, it is important for you to know that the content that you are downloading and in the process also seeding is legal.
Bypassing Restriction: But users are still finding ways to bypass the restriction and use torrent sites to download contents available to be shared. There are a number of online tools like piratebayproxy and VPN (Virtual Private Network) that allow the users to unblock torrent sites and use them safely. Connecting to a VPN keeps you anonymous and also allows you to change your IP address while downloading torrents. This is an important tool that also helps you bypass the ISP in case you are inadvertently downloading some copyrighted content.
Technology: BitTorrent is a computer technology that facilitates distribution of files among various user computers over internet. The technology enables large files to be converted into tiny files and then distributed through user computers who automatically start seeding to other user computers once the distributed content starts getting downloaded. Since many of the torrent hosting websites freely allow content piracy, a large number of computers get exposed to dubious activities including attack of malwares. Some of these websites host ads from unreliable advertising networks about gambling and pornographic sites which contain malware.
Torrent file: A torrent file does not contain the content but is only the key to start downloading the actual content. If you want to receive a shared file, you need the corresponding torrent file to do so. Once the file or link is received, you need a BitTorrent software to open the file/link. The software scans the locations of seeders which are sharing the corresponding file.
Torrent websites: Torrent websites are the place where users can share large files including contents such as documents, film and music. The distribution takes places between the users and not through a server. There are various risks associated with torrent websites such as data safety, legal troubles, malware risks and vulnerability.
Associated Risks: Using torrent sites for downloading pirated content is not only illegal but also exposes your computer to unknown risks. Just by visiting such sites, your computer can get infected with malware unless it is protected by adequate security software. BitTorrent is said to be responsible for maximum number of malware attacks. Downloading content through torrent website exposes vital details about your internet connection such as the IP address to other users and in case of a copyright infringement, you can be tracked and sued for indulging in illegal distribution of copyrighted content. Even your ISP can shut down your internet connection if they find you indulging in distribution of copyrighted materials over internet. But there are enough number of legal torrent sites which do not allow distribution of copyright content.
Final Word: Though some ISPs are blocking torrent sites in a bid to discourage unethical sharing of content on the internet and to protect the users from risks involved in such open networks where everyone can access key details of one another, new torrent hosting websites are becoming popular at regular intervals hinting at the popularity of the technology among the users. A major concern that these websites encourage infringement of copyright is a genuine one and the ISPs must ensure that such infringements of copyright are strongly dealt with.