Do You Think Laws Should Change to Make Torrenting Illegal?


Torrenting can lead to the illegal use of copyrighted data, such as movies and songs. The ability to transfer larger files over the Internet can be very useful, but it does lead to a lot of misguided activity as well. Is this just the product of the technology or is the technology leading individuals to the illegal activity? We asked our writers, “Do you think laws should change to make torrenting illegal?”

Our Opinion

Our writers agree overwhelming that torrenting shouldn’t become illegal.

Trevor explains that “having a law won’t make it stop,” as “there needs to be a reason to stop it.” He explains that sometimes things stop happening because it’s no longer useful or it becomes too inconvenient to make it worth the time it saves or the value it offers. He doesn’t think making torrenting illegal will “change much other than hinder the curious novice.”

Alex doesn’t think banning torrenting would be very successful. He notes that using a P2P service isn’t illegal, but sharing copyrighted content over that service is illegal. “But declaring the service illegal probably wouldn’t make much dent in pirated content since other services would be used, while legitimate file-sharing services would be prohibited from using a powerful and decentralized platform.” He further explains that people always steal stuff, so “if the problem is sharing copyrighted content, fight that, not the methods used to share it.”

Derrik is on a similar track, noting that “people are going to do it regardless even if it is ‘illegal.’ “ He points to alcohol prohibition in the United States. Banning alcohol didn’t fix the issue. He suggests “instead of preventing people from getting copyrighted media, media companies should make it easier to buy content and make it less of a hassle.” He himself chooses to download movies where he doesn’t have to deal with the anti-copying tech like on some Blu-Rays and because he doesn’t want to waste twenty minutes watching advertisements for a movie he’s already paid for.


Maheshfeels like “just because some people use it for illegal files doesn’t mean the whole Torrent world should become illegal.” He compares it to knives, saying a cook and murderer both buy knives, and while the cook uses it for cutting veggies, the murderer uses his for hurting people. “Does that make the knife-seller illegal?” Fabio agrees. “Just because some use it in ways they shouldn’t doesn’t mean they have to get rid of it.”

Corbin is along that same track, saying that it’s not that tormenting itself is bad but that people are using it to do illegal things. “There’s not much more any government can do in regards to blocking torrenting pirated data without it crossing a line into being considered censorship.”

Simon explains he’s “seen some game companies use P2P for people to download their game, so it puts less stress on the servers when someone downloads their game legally.” Like Mahesh’s example using knives, Simon makes a comparison to spray paint and crowbars, banning them because people can use them to create graffiti or break into property respectively. Additionally, “even if it is banned, pirates will either adapt or continue using torrenting if it proves to be hard to pin them down,” while law-abiding companies will be the ones sacrificing.

Your Opinion

What are your thoughts on this subject? Do you agree with all our writers? Do you think it would be unfair to those who use torrenting legally? Do you believe they should make it easier and less of a hassle to purchase paid content? Or do you have a reason why you think it should become illegal? Do you think laws should change to make torrenting illegal? Let us know in the comments below.

Image credit: seed please

Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.

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