Have you ever wondered how your teenage son or daughter manages to watch all the latest films, downloads all the top hits from their favorite artists all on a small allowance, Well the reality is that they are almost certainly not paying for any of these, it’s much more likely that they are using torrents.
So what is torrenting? Well basically it’s a form of file sharing between thousands of people across the world. The individual uses a special program, for example BitTorrent to download individual parts of these files down to their computers. So a file is shared across the torrent community, everyone downloads and shares individual parts of these files from each other. After the process is complete all the individual parts are combined into the complete film, movie or music file.
The pirated copies of these files are not shared on any specific server or computer, merely the torrent files which are small text files with information on the content. You never download a whole copy, merely individual fragments from other users. This is where the legal complications come, some argue that no-one is actually sharing a complete copy of a movie merely tiny individual pieces of data.
It’s definitely a grey area, but there are some things as a parent you should consider. Firstly the end result is a pirated copy of the final file will eventually be downloaded and stored on your child’s computer. This is arguably exactly the same as going into a movie shop and stealing the DVD however innocent it actually it seems. The second issue is that these downloads are easily traceable to your internet connection – which is likely in the parent’s name. There are ways of making yourself anonymous while using torrents though – for example using this UK VPN trial would obscure your identity if it was enabled during download. It does this by relaying your internet connection through an intermediate server and thus obscuring your real identity.
However to be truthful the legality of using torrents is extremely questionable and many people have been successfully prosecuted. Remember it is the person who pays the ISP bill who would be named in any legal case because this is the only identity that could be traced (at least without a vpn). So it’s advisable to suggest alternatives to using torrents to your teenagers.
One option is to use the same VPN services to perhaps access more conventional sources of entertainment online. For example although many media companies put loads of films, movies and TV programmes online they often restrict to their domestic market. However for example anyone using a British VPN server would easily be able to download videos from BBC iPlayer – in this case you’re on much safer ground legally.
For example there is no issue with anyone using a VPN service, they’re not illegal and provide an important layer of security for your internet connection. Millions of people use them all across the world, and if they do actually unlock region restricted content you can consider that as a valuable side benefit!