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What Happens If You Get Caught Torrenting? Quick Tips To Stay Safe

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Torrenting has long since been popular due to a load of free content it provides. However, despite its popularity, torrenting is plagued with many safety and privacy concerns, not to mention that it is also considered illegal

Regarding legality, torrent somewhat falls in the grey area since it is not the very act that is illegal but the content you download. Torrenting is a reliable file share method for many open-source software and hardware firms due to its P2P-based nature, making the activity completely legal. The legality concern with torrenting arises when used to share copyright content aspirated.  

Since most commercially produced songs, videos, movies, and even books are copyrighted, torrenting is famously viewed as an illegal activity that is banned in most countries. Many privacy-centric netizens use VPNs to get past torrenting privacy and ISP throttling issues. However, when it comes to the question of “what happens when you get caught while torrenting,” there are several things that you need to consider and look into.  

How Can You Get Caught

ISPs and copyright agencies, along with the government, constantly search for torrent users. The copyrighted trolls or their representatives visit the sharing sites you have used. They will download some material to check where the IP address is coming from. Next, they look for the internet service provider who provides that IP address and contact them by saying some IP addresses share illegal materials. We want to warn them for doing so.

The service provider will then look for the IPs and check the accounts. They will first send warning letters to the account holders. But if this sharing activity continues, the copyright trolls will seek a court order to force your service providers to provide your account details. They will also comply with their lawyers to send a legal notice to you. But if that is ignored, you would be dragged to legal court for further proceedings and action.

Things Which Can Happen When You Get Caught Torrenting

If you get caught while torrenting, it may hit you harder than purchasing the content with the original price. Mentioned below are the things which can happen when you can get caught torrenting any copyrighted movie, music, TV shows, or some other stuff:

Civil Disobedience

The Copyright Act of 1976 covers all kinds of illegal downloading and streaming of copyrighted stuff. Under this act, people are prohibited from copying, republishing, or using other works without the permission of copyright trolls. Copyright infringements are implemented through civil suits where the owner takes legal action for monetary damages.

Technological advancement has made it easy to share information and files. In this situation, the copyright trolls now antagonistically target sites like the PirateBay. The copyright owners can’t shut down the sites where the files are shared and target the file-sharers separately. The copyright owners not only target individuals but also go after big companies. For example, more than 30 people were charged for torrenting “Dallas Buyers Club”; moreover, Lionsgate fined ten people for sharing “Expendables.”


The price for illegal downloading or streaming material can be a bit expensive. The Federal Copyright Law agrees for damages ranging from $750 to $30,000 per work. For example, one man sued $675,000 for downloading 30 songs, while another woman was fined $1.9 million for downloading 24 songs.

If the charges are not enough of a warning, then some jurisdictions apply criminal punishments for online piracy. Consult an experienced intellectual property attorney if anyone is charged with copyright violations.

Examples Of Cases Where People Get Caught Torrenting

The copyright trolls take help from agencies to search for people who download the copyright content. They receive the IP address details from the service providers and take legal action against them. The victims have shared their experiences and stories on Reddit as they were caught while torrenting. Some victims have just received a legal notice to consult a lawyer, but further proceedings are upheld. However, some victims are sued for torrenting.

A victim shared his story that his cousin was sued with $80 per song for downloading a 12 song album. Also, another woman from Minnesota was charged $80,000 per song for downloading 24 songs.

In the United Kingdom, the fine for copyright violation depends on the seriousness of the case. In severe cases, it can often lead to an appearance before the magistrate where the penalty is up to £5,000 or six months incarceration. However, in extreme cases, the culprit might be sent to the Crown Court, which can enforce an unlimited fine and imprisonment up to 10 years.

Quick Tips To Torrent Safely?

Here are some tips which will surely help you to torrent without getting caught:

Use a VPN

Another way to download torrents without getting caught is to use a reliable VPN provider. Using a VPN is one of the handiest tools while you download torrents. It routes all your data traffic via a remote server located in a country of your choice. In this way, a VPN hides your actual IP address, adds a significant anonymity layer, and makes it difficult for copyright trolls to track you. Moreover, a VPN also encrypts your torrent traffic before leaving the system. Your ISP can’t monitor your online activities. All your internet traffic first goes through the VPN server, thus making it impossible for the ISPs to know where it is going. 

Related Articles: how to Downloading Torrents Safely

Avoid Open Communities

While torrenting, the IP address is shared with various other users who help you finish the downloading by sending you the chunks of the file they have already downloaded. You also send them the pieces you have got, and everyone has a complete file. The copyright owners look for illegal downloading. They might also search to have your IP address and will contact you if needed.

The public tracking sites are open for everyone, and also they don’t verify the user’s identity. Moreover, there are no restrictions on the downloading material, making it easy for the company to jump in and grab some IPs.

However, private torrent trackers offer extra protection by first involving users in registering themselves. Therefore, it’s suggested to avoid open communities and opt for public trackers.

Read Comments

Every reliable and trusted torrent site has a separate section for user comments on the download page. Read and scan these comments carefully before downloading any material. If you find anything doubtful or the torrent does not have any comments, it is good to avoid it.

Block Bad IPs

Different companies are joining the torrent sites on downloads to take hold of the IPs, their IP address also becomes available. However, by downloading and installing a free program known as PeerGuardian2, you can avoid them by blocking bad IP addresses from connecting you.

Caps Your Uploads

If you want not to get caught while torrenting, it’s better not to seed and cap your uploads. By stopping the client’s seeding bandwidth, you can efficiently take yourself off the radar of several copyright owners.

Use Secure Torrent Client

Using a secure torrent client can reduce the dangers of torrenting. It enables the users to share torrent files between all the globally connected peers powered by the same protocol. The torrent clients help in the safe and fast downloading of torrent files by maintaining your online privacy. They come with impressive features resulting in a quick and secure torrenting experience. A torrent client prevents ISP from tracking your activities and protects your device from malware and adware invasion. 

Final Words

Torrenting is risky, especially if you don’t take any precautionary measures. It is essential to avoid open communities, block bad IPs, read comments, and avoid seeding while torrenting. By doing so, you will be safe from being caught and facing legal action and penalties.

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Rebecca James is an IT consultant with forward thinking approach toward developing IT infrastructures of SMEs. She writes to engage with individuals and raise awareness of digital security, privacy, and better IT infrastructure.

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