Implications of Using Torrents In India
The Indian government has taken a stern action (again) to stop online piracy and this time it’s the torrent users that have come under the cosh. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), along with multiple Internet Service Providers, have started blocking several torrent websites.
Websites blockages are not new in India but even more worrisome is the warning message being shown on these blocked torrent URLs. According to the message, anyone who views, downloads, exhibits or duplicates copyright content on these URLs can be ‘imprisoned for 3 years’ and also ‘fined ₹300,000 Indian Rupees’ under Copyright Act of 1957.
While this caution against the use of torrents in India seems harsh, there is also a lot of ambiguity surrounding the mentioned clauses. For starters, how will the government or ISP identify torrent downloader’s from other normal downloader’s? If someone accesses a torrent website by mistake, will they also be deemed criminals? How will the torrent users prosecuted? Will the government handle the entire situation?
These are some of the questions that every torrent user residing in India would like to be answered. The situation is aggravate even more so as there are numerous other crimes committed in India that are gone unnoticed by the authorities. This fact has been put to light by many torrent users on twitter:
3 years in jail for “Downloading Torrents” in India. But the “doctor” who threw a dog off a building is out there, chillin’ at home.
— Micheℒℒe (@Micha_Alvez) August 25, 2016
Update: High Court of Bombay Provides Clarification Over Torrent Block
Amass the conflicting block over torrents in India and its accompanying penalties, High Court of Bombay has provided clarification that viewing pirated content won’t get users into trouble. The High Court has ruled that viewing a torrent magnet link, visiting torrent website, or streaming content online will not result in fines or imprisonment.
The High Court of Bombay has also ordered all ISPs across India to change warning message. The initial message stated that viewing, downloading, exhibiting or duplicating content could lead to penalty and jail time. However, the new (changed) message now reads that ‘infringing or abetting infringement of copyright-protected content’ is punishable under this law.
How Are You Caught While Using Torrents?
There are numerous clarifications that the Department of Telecommunications and the Indian government have to provide in response to this warning message. However, one of the ways ISPs and copyright trolls are able to track users of torrents is through their IP address.
Whenever you download or upload a torrent using a torrent client (such as uTorrent), your IP address is visible to everyone downloading the same torrent file. It’s through this IP address that copyright holders are able trace copyright infringers and ISP’s are able identify torrent users.
How to Download Torrents Safely in India?
You can protect your identity and safeguard your online privacy while using torrents in India using a VPN. A torrent VPN has this ability to cloak your IP address and encrypts your internet traffic. This way when download a torrent, your original IP address won’t be visible; instead the IP address from the VPN server will be shown.
Similarly, a VPN encrypts your entire web traffic using military grade encryption and tunnels the data through secure protocols, not allowing anyone to see what websites you visit or the contents you download of the internet.
Another advantage of using a VPN is that you can easily bypass blockages placed on torrent websites. In India, different websites and URLs are blocked by ISPs through DNS filtering or at internet gateways. So, when a user tries to access the website, he or she is blocked from doing so. That said, with a VPN by your side, you can spoof your virtual location and access blocked websites from anywhere.
Extratorrent Blocked in India
Over the years, numerous websites have been blocked in India. These websites usually pertained to pornography but torrent websites have also had their share of blockages. In wake of recent events, the popular torrent website, Extratorrent.cc, has been blocked at ISP level in India.
5 Best Extratorrent Alternatives
This news is just weeks after two of the biggest torrent sites, Kickass Torrents and Torrentz, were shut down. But there is no need to fret; there are various Extratorrent alternatives that you can use. To help you out, here are the top 5 alternatives:
In a nutshell, the new blockade on torrents has got many internet users worried in India. Anyone found downloading and distributing copyright material can find themselves in prison for up to 3 three years and also fined 300,000 Indian Rupees in the process.
According to different sources, the warning message is being shown on multiple torrent websites such as torrentdownloads.me, torrentlinks.net, btstorrent.cc, and various others. While the message has created a frenzy among torrent users in India, Extratorrent has been blocked by ISPs.
But with a VPN service, you can become anonymous over the internet, conceal your internet activities from internet service providers, and use torrents safely in India.