Torrents get a bad rap because of the illegal nature of many torrents that people download. While it is true that some people use torrents to distribute and download illegal files that violate copyright regulations, this is only a small picture of torrents as a whole. There are many legitimate websites and files that utilize torrents to distribute software, content, and information.
P2P, or peer-to-peer, file sharing technologies are actually a great way for people to share information legally – but only if you know how to find legal torrents. Though a VPN tunnel will hide your torrent activities by masking your IP address and encrypting your information so people can’t read it if it is intercepted, many people have ethical problems downloading illegal torrents. If you are this type of person, don’t despair. There are many websites that offer ways to search for legal torrents.
Torrenting in a Legal Way
Public Domain Torrents
This site is chock full of video content that is public domain. Copyrights aren’t eternal, and after they expire sites such as this one can legally share content. If you’re a movie buff in any capacity, you will love the library of older films that they have on hand. To be completely honest, the site’s design isn’t extremely flashy. In fact, it looks a little basic. However, as they say, don’t judge a book by its cover – this site has tons of valuable and legal torrents to share.
This website is an online repository of video game patches and updates for just about any game you can imagine. The games they cover seem to have all come out within the last decade and cover the main platforms: PC, MAC, and Linux. Furthermore, their game descriptions are very detailed and let you know the system requirements and other relevant information. If you’re a gamer, this is a great site for legal torrents.
SXSW stands for South by Southwest, and they host an annual festival in Austin, Texas. They help organize a truly massive film and music festival, and their website has been around since 2005. Their online archive has grown to 55GB of entertainment content, and it is all available via torrents. And the best part? It’s legal!
Linux has long been available for download via torrents. Because Linux distributions are open source, you don’t need to worry about copyright infringement or getting in trouble for downloading free software. This website is extremely handy for the Linux nerds among us because it tracks updates to different versions of Linux and aggregates their download links in one place.
Public Domain Flicks
This is yet another handy website that provides access to public domain films. It includes a vast library of old movies and documentaries that would otherwise be challenging to find. Not only do you have the option of downloading the movies via P2P torrents, but you can even stream video directly from the website.
This website is definitely targeting musicians, and it allows them to upload their creative works. Much like Flickr has the creative commons for free image distribution, Panda.cd allows artists to upload their work under the license type of creative commons as well. The benefit to the artists is that they get exposure. If you like some music you hear on the website, you can discover a new artist by clicking on links to their social media profiles.
For the music buffs out there, this site has tons of recordings of live music from popular bands like Pearl Jam and Grateful Dead. The quality can be decent, poor, or anywhere in between because the recordings are usually made by fans of the bands. However, it’s a great way to legally download live performances of your favorite bands.
The Internet Archive
This website’s purpose is to be a massive online repository for research, history, academia, and to provide the public with collected information in a digital form. It has over 3.5 million books, close to three quarters of a million movies, and tons of music and audio as well. You have the option of previewing most files online, and their content is also available in the form of torrents.
This website hosts a wide variety of legal content, ranging from games and films to music and even comic book collections that have been created by independent designers and artists. Not to say that everything you’ll find on this site is quality material, but it does certainly have its gems. They also have directories of the hottest, most downloaded content. Almost all of the content is free, and like other popular free websites, you are encouraged to make donations to support the artists.
The Mercury Theatre on the Air
This site is named after a radio drama from the 1930’s, and the goal of this site is to preserve and make available extremely old TV shows. Much of the content in this site is from the WWII era, and there are a lot of old and surviving shows that are pretty darn hard to find anywhere else.
Not every good torrent is hosted by The Pirate Bay, and for legal reasons, you are much better off searching these sites for quality torrents first. The law is no laughing matter, so why take the risk? There are tons of sites that offer free, quality content in the form of torrents.