Home Online Privacy Why Streaming is Safer than Torrents (or Popcorn Time)

Why Streaming is Safer than Torrents (or Popcorn Time)

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There’s the safe way of doing things, then there’s the unsafe way that could result in hefty fines or even criminal charges. We’ve advocated streaming as the safest method in legal terms for those looking to get their entertainment fix online, continue reading to find out more.

When you’re streaming, what’s happening is parts of the file are being saved in what’s called a “cache” in order to allow the video to play continuosly. At no point is the file saved as a complete file, and all you’re doing is watching something someone else put online. These types of files are hosted at sites called “cyberlockers” which generally uphold their legal obligations should a take down request be sent to them by rightsholders. In terms of being traceable back to you, the cyberlocker is the only entity that will know you’re streaming from their site. There’s nothing illegal about watching streams no matter where you’re from, however uploading pirated content to cyberlockers would be illegal.

Downloading from cyberlockers (as opposed to only streaming from them) is slightly less legal because you’re actually saving a copy of the entire video onto your computer. It’s still considered to be legal pretty much everywhere, but that may change in the future.

The information contained in this article is based on our personal research and consultation with legal professionals, however we accept no liability for this information and suggest you consult your own legal representation should you be concerned.

Torrents and torrent-based apps like Popcorn Time are where the sketchiness comes into play. When you download from a torrent, you’re unknowingly also complicit in a process called reseeding; basically meaning your computer is being used as a server to share the file with other users as you download. At that point, you are no longer just passively watching the video, but are participating in the distribution of this file. It is also very easy for other torrenters to unmask your IP address since you’re acting as a public server, copyright holders will often uncover the identities of pirates this way. Depending on the level of participation, fines of anything from $300 – $3000 are known to be given out regularly.

The only really dangerous aspect of streaming is when people start to charge money for access to content. If you don’t own the content, than charging access to streams is highly illegal and could likely result in jail time. We’re highly against this type of thing, it happens quite often with sports. It’s fairly easy for copyright holders to subpoena the payment processors of these services to uncover the identities of users, at which point you could get fined. It’s also quite immoral to charge for access to something you don’t own.

There isn’t anything to worry about if you’re only using stuff you find on this site, but if you’re looking to minimize your liability anyway, it would be a good idea to subscribe to a VPN Service to entirely hide your identity when surfing the web. As privacy rights online begin to diminish, more and more users have opted to surf the web through a VPN Service in order to maintain their privacy. They are easy to install and could in many cases actually speeed up your internet connection.

If you’d like to read directly from some of our sources, you’ll find them below:

Europe: GigaOM, BGR
Canada: Toronto Star
USA: FindLaw, Kansas University

Now that you’re a little bit more aware of what you can and cannot do, go ahead and continue to enjoy your Kodi addon experience.

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