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Saturday, May 3, 2014

Illegal Torrenting

I posted awhile ago about torrenting, which in case you don't want to read that is basically a fast way of downloading something taking small pieces from many different users and assembling them into one file. As you can imagine, there's quite a  bit of copyright infringement in this set-up, as many movies, TV shows, and paid software are available for download. This isn't just random stuff too, you can get any movie, any TV show, almost any piece of paid software you want, which as you can imagine is a major problem for law enforcement. Popcorn Time is what I will be talking about mostly here, because it has made the act of illegality less illegal in your head then it normally is.

Before I start this I will say first that BitTorrent is a very good piece of technology and it can be used with no harm to you or to people with copyrighted content. I will also say that if you want to illegally torrent movies, unless you are a heavy user, you probably won't get caught, because the sites that supply the torrent links aren't even commonly harassed by law enforcement, and much less the thousands of users. That being said Popcorn Time seems like even less of an illegal program as Digital Trends says.It has a Netflix-type look and they promise that the files will be hid in a secret folder on your computer where you can't even find them easily. The program itself looks almost exactly like Netflix and uses a similar playback program, unlike a normal torrent where you would open a file that was downloaded. What they don't tell you is that there is something in BitTorrent called leeching and seeding. Leeching is a person who takes a small part of another's (a seeder's) file, and through taking millions of those small pieces get the information much faster. Alll of that is to say that that gives you away as someone who downloaded that file, so it's not quite as safe as Popcorn Time would lead you to believe. People are often fooled by this, which is why this is a bad deal for movie producers as TechCrunch reports, as people can sue this and not even necessarily know it's illegal, I had to do some research to find out if it was legal or not myself.

Popcorn Time is the easiest way today to pirate movies and TV shows, and will probably actually continue to be a running site with many users, despite its being shut down by the government once. In my opinion, this is the first step in a radical changing of the movie industry, that could actually use this technology for their own benefit, but which at this time is really hurting them. And a quick disclaimer to protect myself here, please don't illegally torrent things.