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  1. #1
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    Legality of Bit-torrent websites/forums

    I am curious over the legality of bit-torrent websites that discuss, link to, and maybe run a torrent tracker based on PHP and MySQL. We are talking about the law of the USA by the way.

    Thank you in advance.

  2. #2
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    Quite a few argue (like Kazaa) that you are only connecting the users and it is therefore legal.

    You should talk with your upstream provider before starting anything of the sort.
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  3. #3
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    Arguments can be made in many ways. I for one think they are legal. BUT, What you have to ask yourself is, are you ready and willing to defend a lawsuit that may come from it...

  4. #4
    Bittorrent is commonly used for entirely legal things... I don't understand the presumption that bittorrent == illegal.
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  5. #5
    Arguments can be made in many ways. I for one think they are legal. BUT, What you have to ask yourself is, are you ready and willing to defend a lawsuit that may come from it...
    Wrong!

    Do NOT monitor the content. Provide an abuse@ email address for grievances.

    Once you receive a takedown notice, assess its validity, and process it accordingly.

    If you actually monitor the content and know its illegal, then in that case you can be held liable.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
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    Originally posted by ddent
    Bittorrent is commonly used for entirely legal things... I don't understand the presumption that bittorrent == illegal.
    Don't forget those darn .mp3 things. I have a customer with a site for his band that happens to be full of mp3 files, all completely legal.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
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    265
    Check the terms of service of your upstream provider. Most contain language similar to "you may not host copyright protected materials or links to copyright protected materials." You may have your service terminated if a user posts something questionable.

    Even though the legality of "only connecting the users" is arguable, it's an argument that most providers are not willing to risk their businesses on.

  8. #8
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    Well I wasn't really looking to be told to ask my upstream.

    I really just wanted to know if it was legal or not. I don't allow this type of thing on my service anyway but, since I seem to see the question floating around I was curious.

  9. #9
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    The answer is, there is no answer, until someones taken to court. Look consider if you run a car wash, and you know that dealers and buyers are meeting on your property, but you dont deal with either one of them but also dont report them. In a court of law you would be prosecuted if the courts could prove you knew this was going on.

    I think the real issue is, do you, a reputable hosting company, want to have anything to do with any subject that could be illigal. Your best bet is to steer clear of it whether its legal or not.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    UK
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    Hi All,

    I currently host "normal" hosting plans and "Bit Torrent Plans" The legallity of this is effecting my services now. A single bit torrrent file is not illegal as it only holds hash data and does not represent the file what so ever. Im currently in discussions with one of my current providers ref this issue.

  11. #11

    Simple.

    Don't host in the USA.

  12. #12
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    Has anyone got any updates on this topic? I have been trying for some time.

  13. #13
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    Nov 2002
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    For me personally it would depend on the content. If someone wanted to host bit.torrent files that they owned the rights to that'd be fine. If someone wanted to host a warez forum with links to pirated bit.torrent downloads I wouldn't touch that with a ten foot pole.

    Same goes for MP3s or whatever.

    Simple.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    Western Canada
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    Re: Simple.

    Originally posted by andycrofts
    Don't host in the USA.
    Yes, becuase we all have servers in Russia

  15. #15
    russia owns
    John Heslop

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Posts
    1,056
    Lets face the fact. Most people who use these programs are downloading illegal software. But, the other fact is, this software wasn't created for that. It was created to allow users to share information with eachother. Creating a website about these programs is not illegal in my opinion, but allowing users to post any information on how to obtain copyrighted software is illegal.

    But remember, MP3's are LEGAL in Canada.

  17. #17
    canada owns too
    John Heslop

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    UK
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    Tru. The lkaws on bit torrent protocol are very vain..... It is not illegal to host a .torrent file, noit illegal to use .torrent file. The only time it is illegal is when the whoile file is downloaded (werez, mp3's etc)

    This is a very dodgy area in copyright laws. As the .torrent file holds NO reference to the actuall file that is being torrented.... only the hash data.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
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    MA, USA
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    Originally posted by ddent
    Bittorrent is commonly used for entirely legal things... I don't understand the presumption that bittorrent == illegal.
    I completely agree. Just take a look at Blizzard Entertainment. They now use Bittorrent to distribute some of their perfectly legal files and they are a well respected company with good products to offer...
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  20. #20
    BitTorrent should not be put in the same category with clients like Kazaa. BitTorrent was originally created to help mitigate the Slashdot effect, and as others have noted, reputable companies like Blizzard now use it for distribution. There is little doubt in my mind that the RIAA and MPAA will eventually go after BitTorrent's creator, but BitTorrent itself is far more legitimate than the claims of copyright infringement will be.

  21. #21
    Join Date
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    UK
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    Originally posted by jpayne
    BitTorrent should not be put in the same category with clients like Kazaa. BitTorrent was originally created to help mitigate the Slashdot effect, and as others have noted, reputable companies like Blizzard now use it for distribution. There is little doubt in my mind that the RIAA and MPAA will eventually go after BitTorrent's creator, but BitTorrent itself is far more legitimate than the claims of copyright infringement will be.
    bad luck Bram........

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