Downloading digital content online has changed dramatically over the years. What was once an unregulated space now has to deal with significant oversight and legal protections. People used to share files directly.
BitTorrent arose as an alternative to popular peer-to-peer data sharing sites. Many people believe that BitTorrent protects them from identification, but that is no longer the case.
It is possible for companies to track torrent files
Following a number of enforcement actions, including high-profile lawsuits related to downloading movies and music, the old process of hosting files for other people to access and download, and downloading entire documents or works of media from one individual, more or less ended as a mainstream practice. No one wanted to take the risk.
BitTorrent quickly showed promise as a replacement for those desiring to download content. Although BitTorrent also uses peer-to-peer sharing services, it breaks each file down into many tiny little packages of information. Users will download those packets from many different people with the same file. That, theoretically, makes it harder to track the dissemination of files via a torrent network.
However, technology has improved to the point where it is possible for those who hold copyrights to track individual packages of data and potentially file lawsuits against people who download or host their content online.
Adult movie companies want to fight digital piracy
Given the proliferation of online pornography, most people wouldn't hesitate a second to download a few videos they find entertaining. After all, since much pornography and adult content is available for free online, some people might assume that any adult content is likely fair game.
However, the studios that produce adult entertainment invest significant amounts of money into doing. They have recently begun to enforce their intellectual property rights by filing lawsuits against individual users who have downloaded some of their protected videos, although the cases don't always hold up in court. By filing lawsuits against individual users, they create a chilling effect.
Other people become wary of downloading the files because they don't want to face a lawsuit. Also, given the nature of the content involved, few people will want to eagerly pursue defending themselves. They will likely prefer to settle out of court in order to avoid embarrassment.
You can defend against allegations of copyright infringement
Although a copyright infringement case related to downloading may seem straightforward, there are many variables that could affect your ability to defend against that kind of offense. For example, if you share your internet access with other people, those individuals could have used the internet service in your name to download something illegally.
It is also possible that if you share a computer with someone else, the files on your hard drive don't reflect your own downloading history. In some cases, you might even be able to prove that someone hacked into your wireless network.
Discussing your situation with a New York attorney who understands these complicated BitTorrent lawsuits is a good first step. Before you make any decisions that could affect the rest of your life, you should determine what your options actually are.