April 8, 2009 by Bruce
Recently, I received this email from a friend….
Hi Sweetie – my friend who has good connections warned me about Torrent thusly – is this wrong?
Now, about that Torrent stuff. VERY dangerous! Not just because it's illegal and sooner or later they are going to start pouncing again like they did with Napster and later file sharing system users. Some folks got slammed with huge fines. The torrent streams are swarming with filthy digital vermin. If you haven't picked up anything yet, count your blessings. And seriously, the networks are having hard times lately and they are going to get serious about revenues and go after some sacrificial victims. You really do not need this sort of trouble, and you really do not need those tv shows.
I trust your expertise so I'm not as concerned as I might be if you were not my source for this……….but obviously I'm here to learn.
Here is my reply….
Yes. Your friend is wrong.
1. BitTorrent is not illegal.
2. In a few countries, sharing copyrighted content is illegal (including the USA). However…
3. Many progressive countries, such as in Canada and Spain for example, allow file sharing of copyrighted material. In those countries it is EXPLICITLY LEGAL to share copyrighted material.
4. Using BitTorrent for non-copyrighted material is completely legal everywhere — even in the most backward countries, such as the USA.
5. No one in the USA has ever been prosecuted for downloading copyrighted material.
6. People have been prosecuted for UPLOADING copyrighted content in the USA…. However, the chances of them being prosecuted — statistically — are far less than the chance that they will be struck dead by lightening…. twice. Therefore,
7. Driving 56 MPH in a 55 MPH speed limit zone is far far far more illegal and dangerous that using BitTorrent.
8. You physically CANNOT get a virus by downloading Movies (AVI files), TV Shows (AVI files), Music (MP3 files), Audiobooks (MP3 files), eBooks (PDF files), etc.
9. You can only get a virus if you download and run Software. and…
10. Even if you download and run Software … If thousands of people have downloaded that particular torrent, and all of the feedback (comments) are positive, then the likelihood of getting a virus from that torrent is very very low. (Plus, of course, if you use Ubuntu, you cannot get a virus at all.)
Hope this helps clarify.
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