The assiduous efforts of anti-piracy organisations to band popular torrent sites that share copyrighted files have culminated in shutdown of hundreds of sites over the years. The sites include: Kickass Torrents, The Pirate Bay, Torrentz.eu, Isohunt, eztv.in, YIFY and Popcorn Time over the last few years. This move has disappointed torrent site users across the globe, as they have been denied downloading high-quality videos.
There is all out attempt from several quarters to kill torrent sites but the fact is most sites will bounce back, perhaps with a different domain names, even if they are shut down. The whole process is like farmers trying to get rid of weeds from their farm – they can reduce the amount of weed but can't kill it completely. Some search engines have even started blocking torrent sites in an attempt to discourage the public from using such sites but the tech-savvy minds will find a way out like VPN or accessing the content by going to the site directly.
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Are torrent sites illegal? If not, why are authorities on a war footing to ban them?
Well, the truth is torrent sites are in themselves legal. They do not host any content but act like a search engine, facilitating the Internet users to download quality videos and other files that belong to others. It is the users who upload content and torrent sites just support file sharing.
In short, a torrent site is like a postal service that facilitates communication between two or more individuals. If Mr X, who has black money, sends a letter that contains details of his bank account to Mr Y, and the latter draws the black money and uses it, should the postal service be blamed? A torrent site is like postal service, as the downloadable files belong to others.
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Then why were torrent sites like Kickass Torrents, The Pirate Bay, Torrentz.eu, Isohunt and others banned and why anti-piracy organisations and government authorities in several countries are trying to kill it all?
Well, the torrent site, as it has been said, is not illegal in itself but copyright infringement is. It is the sharing of copyrighted materials which is illegal. This is why attempts are being made to shut down sites that facilitate people from sharing and downloading of the copyrighted content.
Interestingly, not all countries consider torrent sites are illegal. For instance, downloading of copyrighted content is legal in Switzerland as long as it is for personal use. Other countries like Spain, Canada, Mexico and the Netherlands, too, allow downloading copyrighted contents for personal use (non-profit).