There are two ways of answering this particular question whether downloading torrent legal or illegal. Moreover, people ask how safe it is to download files from torrents and whether they are breaking any law or not.
The first way delivers a short answer while the second one is lengthier. Shall we start with the shorter one?
In short, downloading torrent is illegal if you are downloading any copyright content which is having a price tag otherwise. In case of downloading a free copy of a content officially released by the owner/developer, you are not breaking any law and it is not illegal at all.
For example, downloading Avengers 2015 movie from torrent is illegal, since the movie is copyrighted product of the production company. While, downloading a free Linux distribution isn’t illegal as it is already available under open-source norms.
Is Downloading Torrent Legal or Illegal?
Since you need a better explanation, you agreed to move forward with the longer answer. There are various aspects related to this situation we both are in, but still it’s my job to clear as many doubts as I can. Still, I can’t guarantee that I will be able to deliver 100% genuine and correct answer. So, take the information I am sharing over here as an advice or addition to your existing knowledge on the matter.
The reason why I cannot deliver 100% correct information is because there are various aspects which depends on the country you are living in. If you are a US citizen, then you are living under very strict copyright laws and breaking any of them may get you jail or a huge fine, or both.
While living in developing countries like Asian, there are no strict laws as such, and you can easily live up breaking these internet based copyright laws, unless you are out of luck. For example, in Asian countries, reproducing same content is copyrighted and strictly against the law, but you can easily download a content and watch it for free, even if it is not legally allowed to download without paying the charges.
So, the first aspect is the country you are living in. Next is the copyright law that particular product is carrying. There are different set of laws and copyright rules and regulations. There are different versions of license terms which you have to read and understand if you truly want to understand every bits and bytes.
If a media file or a software is available under open-source license terms, then you are free and eligible to download its copy from the torrents. But, if it is carrying any other license term, then you may be getting into the illegal territory.
So, whether downloading torrent is legal or illegal, it totally depends on the type of file you want to get. The Torrent network is not a thing to be worried with, rather, it’s the data you wish to grab out of this networking facility.
If you still want to grab torrent files and want to stay safe, then I recommend you to use a complete anonymous internet profile and completely safe connection, which no one is capable of tracing. For example, using Tor tunnel connection can help you in a lot of ways.
How safe it is?
The last thing remaining is the safety concern. If your country’s specific laws are very strict then you are not at all safe with downloading any copyright copy of software or movie or music or any other file. While in other case, you may be safe, unless you are totally out of luck.