Need to pick you guys brains about torrents.I understand the basics, what I need to know is are they legal and what's going to happen in the future in regards to lawsuits,etc.? What are the protocols (ex.leeching)?What are the pitfalls of torrents in regards to software troubles? I've tested some of the 'free net tv'programs and I certainly wouldn't pay for any of them while torrents sounds interesting.TKS
torrents advice(18 posts)
well see torrents are just another kind of p2p sharing and they are legal as long as they are not copyrighted so if it would be illegal to download them anywhere else they are still illegal in torrent form. and as far as lawsuits go it is about the same as it was before when people were downloading copyrighted material. also while they may seem like an easy way to get good things for free there are ways that you can still be caught very easily and that there are a lot of viruses to go along with them. but torrents are also popular too because you can download them faster. so before you download some torrents make sure that they are not copyrighted and not viruses.
hope this helps
Hopefully third time's the charm...
Torrents are a distributed distribution network. When you begin to download a torrent you become part of the swarm. Members of the swarm will request pieces that they do not have from others in the swarm, so as time goes on, you will be both up/downloading. The advantage of torrents is that they spread the responsibility of the 'host server' to several (if not hundreds) of individual pc's.
A leech is a person who only downloads (or has a pathetic upload rate). Many clients keep track of your share ratio, your upload:download ratio. As your ratio improves (gets closer or exceeds 1:1) you will typically get better download speeds.
The legality of the downloads comes down to the files themselves. If you see a torrent marked 'Office 2007 with crack' it is obviously an illegal file and the crack may crack more than just the copy of Office, so beware!
EDIT: Others such as open office, firefox, and many other open source files are just fine for torrent downloads. Odd are if it's free, they don't mind the torrents as it keeps people off their main download servers and as such saves them money.
As for the lawsuits, they have been mostly against the torrent trackers, and most of those have failed to hold up in court. Torrent trackers are just search engines for a specific type of file.
While the lawsuits may not have resulted in any decisive legal victories, they have been used to put pressure on Torrent sites and shut some down. First, Suprnova went, now TorrentSpy is unavailable here in the US. ThePirateBay was raided by Swedish police, but is still open...for now. The MPAA and their cohorts beat up on one site until it gives in, then move on. IsoHunt seems to be in their crosshairs now and probably several others.
All of this legal wrangling reminds me of the music pirating days of Napster -- before Napster was "legitimate" -- when the RIAA was the bad guy. Part of the problem is that the music and now movie industry was not quick enough to market their media with the convenience of Internet stores. Online music sales are now quite common, but still lacking in completeness of their catalog. Movies and TV are still learning to crawl in this area. For net TV, I like http://hulu.com and all the broadcast networks are starting to make their shows available streaming online some even in HD. Also, pay services such as iTunes and Xbox Live Marketplace are bringing a limited catalog of shows, some in HD, but the prices are still too high.
It's important to note for any curious readers that downloading torrents of copyrighted files can often be a very bad thing... there are trackers attempting to find your IP address, and there have been quite a number of lawsuits filed against people. While they may or may not win in court, it's still going to cost you a ton of money in lawyer fees. Sure, you can try and use the tools to block people from tracking you, but it's rarely worth it just to download some awful sound track from the 80s.
Downloading open source or free applications via torrents is perfectly fine, legal, and sometimes a good idea.
Xenomex, you have that exactly backwards. Seeds are people who have the whole torrent and are continuing to make it available for others to download. Peers are those who have part of a file and are downloading the rest from seeds and other peers. Leechers is common slang for peers, especially those who quit the torrent when they have the whole file instead of continuing to seed.
For anyone who wants to understand the bittorrent protocol, you can read the very dry article at Wikipedia or this widely used guide:
I won't say which client I prefer, but it begins with the letter "μ".
Also illegal for anyone but the original purchaser to view
@ScottW, technically, they were found guilty for destroying the records of ip addresses. I'm sure they will appeal because they did not host any infringing content on their site.
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