Torrenting has been popular amongst both tech savvy and casual Internet users for years with a multitude of P2P clients fighting for the top throne.
There are a lot of misconceptions about torrenting, a lot of which is based on pure speculation or misinformation. Today, we will make a few things clear while giving you the answer to one of the most pertinent questions in file-sharing: What’s the safest country for torrenting?
But first, let us clear some of those misconceptions and make some clear definitions. Read on to find out more.
Is torrenting the same as pirating?
The answer to that is a resounding no. Without getting into the technical details of it all, torrenting simply refers to peer-to-peer file sharing. What that means is simply that files are shared (downloaded and uploaded) between people, in this case called peers.
This method of file sharing is not at all illegal. After all, there are plenty of legal stuff you can download through torrents as they are excellent methods of file sharing that can be fast and very convenient.
Pirating, however, refers to the act of downloading, uploading, and generally sharing copyrighted content. In most countries of the world, this is an illegal act.
Even so, there are plenty of regions where neither torrenting nor pirating are illegal, as long as they fit certain requirements.
The safest countries and locations for torrenting are:
- The Netherlands
All four of these countries have different reasons for being safe for torrenting so let’s check out all of them in-depth.
Switzerland – Downloading and Torrenting for personal use is legal
Free speech and privacy are two things that are of paramount importance to the Swedish people and their administration, a fact that extends well into the realm of file sharing.
In Switzerland, you can download pretty much anything you want, as long as you don’t share it and it’s for your own personal use, without any repercussions.
What that means is that if you are not planning on profiting financially from the files you are downloading, then you are completely safe.
In addition to all of that, no one can monitor your downloads. A common technique used by those who hunt for pirates is to trace their IP address. This practice, however, is illegal in Switzerland.
Spain – Torrenting is only illegal if you profit from it
For a time, it seemed like Spain was going to be a dangerous place for pirates as some attempted to argue that those who share files illegally should have their Internet access cut.
However, the Spanish courts were having none of that. Way back in 2006, Judge Paz Aldecoa decided that as long as you are not attempting to profit from file sharing of copyrighted material, then you are free to do it.
In addition to that, the personal data connected to IP addresses in Spain can only be collected by law enforcement for reasons of public safety or during the course of a criminal investigation. Which means that no ISP will give over your data just because you’re torrenting.
With all of that said, The Pirate Bay is actually blocked in Spain by all ISPs so you will not be able to access it without using a VPN (see the best VPNs for Spain here).
Mexico – Where copyright laws are almost non-existent
Though some people within the government have tried to bring Mexico up to speed with other countries in regards to copyright laws and file sharing, nothing has really been accomplished.
Because of that, torrenting in Mexico is extremely widespread and carries virtually no risk whatsoever. The few laws that do exist are so outdated that unless you are somehow directly profiting from file sharing, you will be perfectly fine.
The Netherlands – You can download torrents, but not all of them
In one of the most interesting cases in regards to piracy and torrenting, the authorities of the Netherlands have deemed that as long as it’s for personal use only, people can download literary, science, and art work.
What that means in practice is that you are free to download torrents like movies without any issue, as long as you are not actually profiting from it. However, you cannot download things like software because that is considered to be illegal.
Some people have been pushing to make downloading illegal in the country, including the EU itself, but the authorities have distanced themselves from such processes. Some companies want to pursue pirates but such actions have not yet gone to court.
If you are not from these countries, a VPN will be the best choice for you
In order to protect your online anonymity and security, you should seriously consider investing in a VPN. No matter which country you are in, as long as you use a VPN no one will be able to tell for sure that you are torrenting.
Even better, you can choose a VPN server in one of the countries above to make sure that you are completely away from the jurisdiction of any agency that could possibly punish you for torrenting and file sharing.
VPNs are legal almost everywhere, with a few exceptions. In fact, we have an extensive guide on where you could get in trouble for using a VPN!
How do I torrent safely with a VPN?
- Opt for a VPN subscription.
- Install the VPN client to one of your devices.
- Torrent away!
While there are some countries where torrenting is legal or at least tolerated, a VPN is still a great choice so that you can be as safe as possible.
How is torrenting treated in your own country? Let us know in the comments!