Torrenting gets a bad rep, but it’s overall pretty useful. And sometimes even a lifesaver; for example, when you can’t get the software you need for work ASAP, or when you can’t buy the books you so desperately need for class anywhere online.
It’s a good thing you’re in Canada and not the US then, right? Otherwise, you’d get in some real trouble if you were to download torrents.
Well, we have bad news for you, friend – Canada isn’t as torrent-friendly as many people make it out to be. We’ll tell you why in this article, and we’ll also show you how to stay safe while torrenting (skip to these trustworthy VPNs for Canada if you’re in a hurry).
So What’s the Deal with Torrenting in Canada?
It’s a complicated topic. Torrenting in Canada is a pretty gray area because the law is different from province to province. Also, the legality of downloading a torrent completely depends on whether the owner renewed their copyright.
As a general rule of thumb, if they didn’t renew it since 1995, that content is part of the public domain, so you can legally torrent it.
See the problem, though?
How are you supposed to know if the content owner renewed their rights for every single file you download? You can easily end up downloading a torrent that’s illegal by accident.
What Can Happen If You Download Torrents Without Using a VPN?
If you’re very lucky, nothing. You don’t get any threatening letters from your ISP, and you get to keep downloading torrents as much as you want without worrying about a thing.
But if you’re unlucky, you might end up in one of these situations:
1. Copyright Trolls Might Try to Scam You Out of Money
A few years ago, copyright holders actually sued a little over 1,000 Canadians for illegally downloading movies. And they asked them to pay damages of up to $5,000 apiece. And those are just the cases we know about. Apparently, many other people have paid money in undisclosed settlements.
Now, there is some good news – in 2019, the government finally amended the rules to prevent copyright holders from demanding cash in the notices they send to people.
In theory, that means you don’t need to worry about fines. But the reality is completely different. According to ISPs, they get so many notices that their automated systems get overwhelmed. So letters that demand cash slip through.
Those notices usually come from copyright trolls – agencies who track torrent Swarms, collect IP addresses, find the ISPs associated with them, and send aggressive notices asking for cash their way.
If you end up accidentally receiving a letter like that, you might get scared and pay the asked sums – which are usually around a few hundred dollars.
2. ISPs Might Throttle Your Traffic
Let’s say your ISP doesn’t get any letters from copyright trolls and lawyers. Even then, they can still catch you downloading torrents.
True, ISPs can’t normally see Bittorrent traffic – unless you use a very outdated client, that is. However, they can look for telltale signs of torrenting:
- High bandwidth usage;
- Simultaneous upload streams;
- Multiple TCP connections.
If they suspect you’re downloading torrents, and they don’t like that, they might throttle your torrent traffic (lower your download/upload speeds) to discourage you from torrenting.
And if your ISP happens to forbid torrenting in their ToS, they could even terminate your service. We haven’t heard of anything like that in Canada yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility.
3. Angry Users Could DDoS/DoS You
Let’s say you had a fight with another leecher in the comment section of a torrent site – like The Pirate Bay, for example. Or an uploader got really upset with you, and called you out in the comments for not seeding enough, and you both ended up throwing insults each other’s way.
Well, if that person really has it out for you, they can DDoS/DoS your network. They know what your real IP address is since it’s visible in the Swarm, and they can use it to locate your network.
And since running a DDoS attack is pretty simple (they’re $10/hour on the deep web), any script kiddie can target you. They could actually run so many attacks they stop you from seeding, which can be a huge problem on private torrenting sites.
Here’s How a VPN Makes Torrenting Safer
It’s an online service that hides your IP address and encrypts your traffic. Here’s what that means for torrenting:
- When you connect to a VPN server, all your traffic is routed through it. Any website or app you use will only see the server’s IP address. So any copyright troll who checks torrent Swarms won’t see your real IP address, meaning they can’t find your ISP.
- Similarly, seeders or leechers who are upset with you can’t use your IP address to find your network and DDoS/DoS it.
- By encrypting your traffic, VPNs make sure your ISP can’t monitor it anymore. Basically, they can’t analyze your data packets to see what sites and web apps you browse. So yeah, they’ll have no idea you’re downloading torrents.
All in all, exactly what you need to enjoy a safe, smooth, and convenient torrenting experience.
Not All VPNs Allow Torrenting!
Some services prohibit P2P traffic on their servers, and even block torrent sites. So you need to pick a VPN that has no problem with torrenting or has dedicated P2P servers.
Need help finding one? No problem – here’s a list of the most trustworthy VPNs for Canada from ProPrivacy. It has all the info you need to make a smart decision.
Do You Always Use a VPN When You Download Torrents?
If yes, how has your experience been so far? If no, aren’t you worried about getting caught downloading the “wrong” torrent? Or being targeted with a DDoS/DoS attack?
Go ahead and share your thoughts with us in the comments or on social media. We’re looking forward to hearing them!