Today, much of the accessible TV is streamed. Because of this, it’s straightforward for users to access the top movies of the latest TV shows.
With this, there is much worldwide recognition that creators and stars may not have received before.
Streaming media, however, is prone to piracy as it can be easily copied and shared. Torrenting being the prime distribution method. (Find the best torrenting sites in Australia that actually work)
Many countries have issues with torrenting, although Australia is renowned for its level of downloading. Several years ago, the nation was classed as the second-largest group of users to visit torrenting sites and break the law.
The question is, how do they stand against file-sharing from the public’s point of view about breaking the law?
In our guide, you’ll find out more about downloading torrents in Australia. Is it legal, or can you get fined and prosecuted for doing so? By the end of this guide, you’ll learn the answer to, is torrenting illegal in Australia or not?
Is Torrenting Illegal in Australia?
Torrenting is a technology that isn’t illegal in Australia. It is merely a type of file sharing file across networks and the internet. This method of sharing files is in use worldwide, as it is an effective method of file distribution.
The question comes regarding copyrighted content that a torrent is often associated with and users breaking laws in the process.
A torrent client works because files are broken into chunks and downloaded from any number of users. At the same time, any other individual who wants this file will result in you uploading some of these file pieces.
It is when this content is copyrighted, and you download it. Because you upload simultaneously, it is classed as an act of piracy, and thus, classed as illegal.
Can You be Fined for Torrenting?
If you don’t download copyrighted material and only download legal software from such sites, you can’t be fined for anything.
If you are trying to access a blocked website from Australia, you will receive a message saying the site isn’t accessible through Australian connections.
At the requests of copyright trolls, movie studios, and the government, ISPs now have to block such websites that have links to copyrighted material actively. (Learn How To Get Unbanned From Hypixel)
Even without downloading anything from these sites with a copyright, you can be classed as any other Australian downloader.
What Happens if You Get Caught Torrenting Australia?
It may appear black and white that downloading copyrighted files is illegal, yet many files fall into a grey area.
However, it is said to avoid downloading movies, tv shows, and games within the first 60 days of release as a means of self-protection. In these times, most money is made from these releases, and thus it is here where copyright holders place all their anti-piracy efforts. (Read What Happens If You Get Caught Torrenting)
Your ISP needs to see your IP address to get caught, and it can do this very easily. Besides this, the current period of data retention by ISPs in Australia is two years.
While movie studios don’t often take individuals to court, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen. It was the large uploaders who often face the targeting, and the fines were huge.
Nowadays, much of this searching for anyone committing such crimes is in the copyright trolls’ hands. They scour the internet and search out user’s real IP addresses to see who is torrenting copyright-protected content.
Using mail, email, or knocking on doors, they have been known to hand out settlement letters. As such, these letters are not legally binding, yet through intimidation and fear, they can force torrenters to pay a settlement rather than face court.
Any such letters would often be received via your ISP, yet you will find, an ISP isn’t tied to any person.
What Are the Penalties for Illegal Downloading in Australia?
Because it isn’t easy for media companies to stop individuals, some lawsuits are forcing ISPs to block websites, which host or share links to torrent files such as The Pirate Bay.
Copyright holders can use the Copyright Amendment Bill of 2015, which was passed in 2018. It shows that internet service providers still allow access to content outside Australia, and where the primary purpose is to infringe copyright. The Pirate Bay, Kickass Torrents, and many more included.
In simple terms, the copyright act comes into the act when:
- If a claimant can prove a website is infringing copyright laws
- The website provides illegal content
- The Website is outside Australia
- Any internet service provider allows easy access to the website, causing infringements.
If ISPs don’t do as instructed, they can face hefty fines. However, people who are caught sharing any intellectual property can face a fine.
It is possible to receive fines up to $60,500 or spend up to five years in prison. Whenever people connect to the internet, their IP address can be traced, and their ISP can pretty much point to a specific location.
While no one condones piracy, the only way people can protect themselves from copyright trolls is to use a VPN (Virtual private network) on their internet connection.
Even without visiting torrenting websites for copyrighted material, anyone should use a VPN when file sharing via a torrent client. A VPN keeps you safe and retains privacy as you never know who can be visiting the same sites as these users, such as hackers.
A VPN takes a user’s Australian IP address and changes it with a new VPN server in another location. Now, not even an ISP can see the real address when any Australian is torrenting.
Besides this, network activity when using VPN services is far more secure for any online activity. A VPN (a virtual private network) can, in effect, make you invisible as you go about your daily tasks.
So, no matter if you wish to download movie torrents or be safe online and stop your ISP from building up a profile of your activity, it is highly recommended to use a VPN to retain your entitled privacy.