The various bit torrent client software versus a p2p network has many variations that are used in legal defenses. Although many bit torrent files may be copyrighted data, the various bit torrent indexing websites do not carry that particular copyrighted data. They only offer a torrent file that points towards the copy righted data which is actually located on another user’s computer. The torrent file is basically a road map.
Although by technicality, this would not be considered illegal, many countries have gone out of the way to ensure that the “road map” to copyrighted data is illegal, while still allowing it to be legal to ask for direction to a drug house or an illegal arms dealer.
The biggest issue with the bit torrent client software as well as with the entire bit torrent protocol, is that the IP address are shared with the users involved with that particular file. Many times, when a bit torrent indexing website is raided by the various copyright authorities, what they really want is the logs themselves. It is with these logs that the copyright authorities can find out who you are and come knocking at your door. It may sound funny, but it has actually happened in several counties. In one case, a letter was sent to the parent of a kid who had been downloading copyrighted anime, and the parents were required to pay the damages for the data that their child had illegally downloaded.
Although, luckily for many, the bit torrent protocol now includes a DHT, or a hash key which allows for file sharing without the need of a tracker. Thanks to this hash key, which is unique for every different file, one can download and make connections with others in the network without their IP being logged by the torrent indexing website, unless for some reason, you originally access the file by means of the various indexing websites.
Although there are many possible legal defenses available to the various bit torrent indexing websites as well as to the creators of the various bit torrent client software, you as a downloader do not have many options when it comes to a legal defense regarding copyrighted data. Just think back to when the whole Napster issue went down and that there were several school kids that got criminal records for downloading copyrighted data.
The simple fact is, if you decide to download a movie, song or software that you know costs money to purchase, you are committing piracy and it is possible for you to have charges pressed against you for violating copyright laws. Regardless as to the fact that the movie may have been made in the US and you live in the Philippines. It is still illegal, if you were to get caught with that movie, song or software on a disc while boarding a plane to go to another country, you can go to jail. Many countries have their own copyright laws that will also run in coordination with international laws which will allow for the various copyright authorities to come after you if they so wish to do so.