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The BitTorrent Debate: Who Really Suffers?

Updated on September 1, 2014
The Popcorn Time website
The Popcorn Time website

Bit torrents race across the Internet and have been around since the early years of Napster, where you could obtain your favorite song for free. It was immensely popular until the Internet police closed it down. Very few were prosecuted. The police found that trying to bust millions of users across the globe simply was not worth it. So, instead, they only targeted those who downloaded the most songs that amounted to a lot of lost revenue for record companies and artists.

That was then, but the dilemma remains. The Internet was more simple then and it is most more diverse and sophisticated today. There are only a few really good website that bit torrent free TV shows and movies. Some try to load in a lot of junk or even malware. Many forced you to download the file to your computer, which often takes too long or fails.

The latest and best method is peer to peer bit torrents. This allows you to click on your TV show or movie and watch it in very good quality (as good as Netflix).These are NOT downloaded to your computer but simply shared and accessed through 5-50 peer sites somewhere. The streaming is not jerky by works without issue. After checking out the premiere site for this, Popcorn Time, I checked for malware secretly downloaded. Nothing was found. This is very unlike other similar sites where files had been downloaded.

The debate then and now is legality and do you care?

One can argue for and against it. The argument against it is the usual breaking the copyright law and that income from watching it for free is lost. But the income received is minuscule when compared to what the producers of the movies or shows make worldwide. The movie you watch for free (instead of paying Hulu $7 a month) has already earned millions before you get it on a website like Popcorn Time. Some would say just how greedy do the corporations want to get? In China, nobody buys DVDs because they obtain what they want from pirated copies.

There is a gray area about whether peer to peer streaming is actually illegal because no files are downloaded for personal use. For instance, if one watches a TV show from such a service, it is impossible for you to share it with friends because you do not have it to send. They would have to go to the website and watch it from there.

The film and TV industry cry about the loss of revenue. There is little they can do. As soon as they get a website to shut down, they re-open in days at a different location and it all begins again. The I-Police might obtain your IP address if a court order\action is filed against the website. Most likely, the worst that might happen to an average user is a warning letter from your ISP. If you use a VPN, then it will never happen and your 100% safe.

Because of the cost and hassle of trying to shutdown these peer to peer sites, many TV cable companies like Comcast and others, are trying to figure away to make money from those who use them. While there many movies and shows available on Infinity and Netflix, some are premium channels, like HBO, which require an additional charge on top of the cable bill.

For those who subscribe to the dogma that it is illegal, what is their motive? Are they just jealous of those willing to get it for free rather than pay for it? If so, all they have to do is go to the website. Everyone likes free. Free spans all ages and economic status. Even those who stick to the dogma are hypocrites. Simple things like, not stopping fully at a stop sign (the law states you must stop), going to online porn sites (which is also dangerous). All petty violations of law.

Free is good.


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