Torrents or Not – the Risks

I’m a pretty law abiding sort of guy, but I do find my behaviour becomes a little bit more flexible when I’m online. I’m not talking about overt criminality or anything like that, more taking use of available resources that perhaps I shouldn’t. My temptation is normally due to two distinct factors –

  • Love TV Shows and Movies
  • I’m lucky enough to travel a lot

How should these two factors combine is basically this – I am always waiting for the latest series of a variety of TV shows – Walking Dead, Game of Thrones and a myriad of others. Unfortunately when you’re travelling you can miss out on these releases as they’re often scheduled at different times. A show might be released on one date in the US and then a few weeks later in Europe, so if I’m travelling all my friends have seen in way before me – and yes they usually can’t resist commenting.

Streaming UK TV

You’d think that it wouldn’t matter because of the Internet but no, I am an avid HBO subscriber but am completely unable to access my subscription when outside the USA. It’s kind of stupid really that the online facility is blocked from me at the one time I actually wish to use it.

Now I can mess around with IP changers and stuff like that, but am always frustrated that I just can’t watch it quickly without problems which is why I am tempted by torrents. This is a way of sharing files between a shared community. Basically someone uploads a file and shares it on their computer then as people download they become part of the swarm and share it too. The result is that you can download movies and music very quickly indeed by using these ‘torrents’.

The problem is that you’re still breaking copyright and even if you have a legitimate right to access in one country doesn’t mean you have in another. It’s a crazy situation but unfortunately so it’s due to us having a licensing situation which kind of ignores the digital world we live in. Worst still when you download a file like this, it’s extremely simple to track down who downloaded it. It’s worth reading this article on anonymous torrenting for some background on the technicalities.

Basically you’re wide open to DCMA litigation, people get caught and fined all the time. In reality if you use a third party access point i.e. one that is not registered to your home address you should be alright. This is because although your IP address is recorded it won’t be associated with you directly if you are downloading from a coffee shop or hotel.

So when travelling it should be safer, although this doesn’t help with the very real problems of sharing your hard disk out to a bunch of strangers. All in all I don’t think torrents are worth the effort but I wish the media companies would sort out their licensing so people who travel aren’t penalized like this.