Know The Law

Are Torrent Sites Legal in India

Copyright is the exclusive right over one’s work. The work can be dramatic, musical, recorded, or film. There is a law named copyright that protects the work. It does not allow anyone to steal what has been made by the skill of others.

The issue with Torrent websites is that they include many items, most of which are covered by copyright law, and those items evolve available to the public. In this article, we will study Torrenting and its law.

Torrenting: An Introduction

Torrenting is the act of viewing and downloading files through the network. It involves uploading and downloading files from other users appliances on the web.Contrarily, users upload files from their own devices so others can download them.

It is easy to download it for free for several different devices. Torrenting is the most common form of file-sharing peer-to-peer (P2P)

People uploading or downloading the same file is called a peer, and collectively they are comprehended as a swarm.

Torrenting is usually linked with piracy as it’s frequently used to share files protected by copyright, including movies, games, music, and software. However, Torrenting also has many legitimate uses, such as lessening the load on centralized servers by distributing the hosting burden among users.

Torrenting legality in India: In short

Is Torrenting legal or illegal? To begin with, Torrenting itself isn't illegal, but downloading and sharing copyright content without the owner's consent is. It's not always instantly apparent which range is legal to Torrent and which isn't. Some drop in a gray area, so you may find yourself unwittingly on the wrong side of the law.

Your internet service provider and copyright monitoring the BitTorrent network could take instant action if they caught you Torrenting illegally. It begins with a warning letter, and after that, slowing your internet connection speeds to legal action – however, the latter is scarce.

Various networks will use VPN services to support their internet action from their ISP. With a scope of applications, some VPNs are more preferred for Torrenting than other stuff. If you wish to keep your Internet Service Provider from spying on your activity,

  1. Choose a VPN connection that:
  2. Doesn’t keep a log of your activity.
  3. Isn’t dependent in a country where the legal system is used to demand customer records.
  4. It is fast enough that it won't slow exclusive downloads.

How is it different from regular downloading?

Torrenting is distinct from regular downloading, as in Torrenting a peer-to-peer (p2p) file sharing system where the limitation is not on any single server. Instead, each coequal acts as a mini-server, significantly lowering the web load.

It occurs with the help of specialized software that takes tiny parts of the file from multiple computers and makes them into a complete version. It is relevant to note that this acts as a loophole for the management to trace a single-serve used for cybercrime or that has defiled any legal principles.

Though the activity is not inherently illegal, it is perceived as a simpler and more convenient way to share content online. Still, one can end up lending themselves in legal trouble.

Legality under Indian Laws:

Copyright Act, 1957 states that the lawful part of copyright violation and data piracy can be derived from the statute. Before moving on this subject, we must understand what constitutes a Copyright violation.

According to Section 51 of the Copyright Act, 1957, an individual can't download and make copies of the owner's original work without the owner's consent. It is said to be an infringement of the copyright and is punishable under the statute.

Section 63 of the Act deals with copyright infringement, which must be punishable with detention for a period that is not less than six months and can extend to three years. There must also be a fine of fewer than fifty thousand rupees extending up to two lakh rupees. The penalty can be less than six months and less than fifty thousand when the violation was not for gains or profits during the business.

Furthermore, Section 65 of the Act states the punishment for having plates. These are tools via which files can be copied. Any individual using these plates knowingly or owning a plate is liable for a sentence of two years, along with a fine.

Glancing via the prism of plates, we can sum up that when an individual views a Torrent file, they do not violate the copyright. But when that person downloads the file after viewing from the website and sharing it on different devices, it violates the laws. The violation is in making copies, giving in allocation, public display, or for sale without the approval and consent of the copyright owner.

Judicial Enforcement:

The development of judicial law around online piracy has been, so to say, every day. The judicial panels have taken the required steps to pursue motivation from numerous countries to lend a helping hand to the copywriter owners and deny the threat of pirates. Securing a web infringing the rights of a copyright holder is a tiresome task, and the unknown nature becomes ungainly to determine the person and drag them to court.

A John Doe charge is provided to the copyright holders to relieve them of such matters. It gives the holder the privilege to follow a request against an unknown person who is found violating the holder's property. It also permits the complainant to search the beliefs and take evidence of a violation of its rights by unknown defendants. To obtain a

John Doe order, the plaintiff needs to establish:.

  1. A prima facie case.
  2. Likelihood of irreparable damage if the order is refused.
  3. A balance of comfort in turn of the complainant.

How to Torrent safely?

It is somewhat simple to Torrent safely and keep your online activity private. While a Torrenting VPN will keep your move safe from poking eyes, you may still be exposed to malware from other public Torrent sites. 

Listed below are some steps to do Torrent safely

  1. Install a VPN to reach the measures noted above. 
  2. Allow your VPN button if the site has one.
  3. Connect to a VPN server.
  4. Once the link is made, you can open your Torrent client and start downloading.
  5. Your VPN now encrypts your online activity.

Visiting a Torrent site: Legal status in India

Visiting and watching a Torrent website is not a crime under Indian law. If one downloads files from a Torrent, it is not a crime under the law, as he is viewing it in private. It is what the understanding of applicable statutes says on the lawfulness of Torrent in India.
But if a person starts distributing these files, the law can only grab hold of him. These statements emanated from the following legal points and statutes.

Listed below are some reasons why just visiting a Torrent website is not a crime in India.


When a person intentionally violates or incites the violation of (making copies, distribution, public performance) of,
1. Copyright materials.
2. Song
3. Movies
4. Books
5. Software
6. And other material over which copyright exists,

It is a crime when done without the consent of someone with full rights to give it. It is a punishable offense with a fine of up to 3 lakhs and two years jail term.

On a Torrent website, many works, including music, films, and further work over which copyright lives. Files can also be with the previous consent of users.

To exemplify- numerous times, different surfing software gives access to the Torrent user to download their file. Downloading of those files and even sharing is not illegal if it is with the consent of the person who has the rights for the same it is obtained in such cases. If there is no consent from the owner and a person has downloaded the file and shared it, it would be a crime.

Only viewing such work is not an offense under Section 63 of the Copyright Act. “The crime is not in viewing but in creating a prejudicial allotment, a public allocation or letting for sale or hire without appropriate approval copyright-protected material.” Accordingly, on answering the proposition on the legality of the Torrent in India, the answer is no. Let us look at other reasons and what statutes say about the legitimacy of a Torrent in India.
Listed below are the things that will not be considered copyright violations:

  1. A fair negotiation with a literary, dramatic, musical, or artistic work for private works only.
  2. The replay of an academic, scenic, audio, or creative work for judicial proceeding or the purpose of writing of judicial proceedings.
  3. Creating copies of a program by the legal owner of a copy of such computer program to make backup copies virtuously as an interim safeguard against loss, collapse, or harm to utilize the purpose for which it was supplied.

Reason 2

  • Nowadays, digital pirating is common. Such a way that a movie released yesterday will be there on these sites within the next few days. As per the Copyright Act, a cause is to control the case of high speeds of digital piracy.    
  • There are means by which artistic or other files can be copied. These are called plates. Any person knowingly using these plates or owning a plate is liable for a punishment of 2 years along with a fine.
  • Therefore, duplicating a movie downloaded from a Torrent is punishable. Even transferring it from a hard drive to a pen drive might drag you into trouble.
  • From this perspective, let us relate viewing a Torrent website to the act of possessing a plate.

When someone regards a Torrent website, he does not create an identical copy only by regarding it. The files are copied and pasted on various devices if the behind downloading is finished. This will amount to a violation of copyright infringement laws. Therefore, according to the second reasoning on the lawfulness of Torrents in India, the clear answer is no. Seeing a Torrent website will not be left you in trouble.
Hence, this condition does not apply to viewing or downloading a file from a Torrent site. Copyright Act only concerns possession, violation, display, and allocation of pirated content. Only viewing pirated content on a Torrent website would not be a punishable crime.

Reason 3

It is observed that hacking is often a sensation over the web where someone gains access to another’s account. Analysts help the logic that viewing Torrents can leave you in jail, given the condition of section 65A of the Copyright Act. The section states that visiting websites barred by hacking is punishable as per the law, with an imprisonment term of 2 years and a fine.

As per the Copyright, using a proxy for these blocked Torrent websites is a crime. Most Torrent website is not as such obstructed by the Indian government. Hence, visiting these websites is not a crime, and there is no punishment.

Acquiring access to a subscription to Netflix through a crack or other technological measure is an offense. Hence, this reason also justifies the view that a visit or even a download for personal use will not be left you in prison.

Reason 4

Specific to computer programs. A person who uses a computer with an infringing copy of a computer program must be punished for a term of more than seven days, which can extend to three years, followed by a fine of fifty thousand rupees, which can extend to two lakh rupees.

Hence, if someone downloads a file from a Torrent and uses it for their business, then they can only be held responsible for a crime of breach of copyright laws.
But visiting or using it for personal use will not leave you in prison.

Can viewing blocked URLs get you arrested?

It is a common and most popular myth. The notice doesn't state that seeing a blocked URL will get you detained, but after viewing, downloading that file, and making copies can make you imprisoned. In easy words, visiting a Torrent website won't get you stopped, but downloading copyright content and making copies without the owner's consent. Again, watching illegal streams online could also land you in danger.

Why are the viewers being made liable?

On July 26, 2016, the Bombay High Court requested internet service providers in India not only to block URLs but also to make the users understand why the URLs have been blocked and warn them of the effects of illegally using copyright work.

Is this a total ban on Torrent sites?

If you need a yes or no answer, the answer is no.

All the Torrents have not been banned. Multiple Torrent sites are open, and one Torrent is not getting banned, but several others replace items. Blocked Torrents are unrestricted using virtual private networks that are readily available. These VPNs are more protected from detection.
But Torrent users face unsteady times ahead. The state agents everywhere across the globe are seeing up and going after big Torrents. 

In India, once secured, these Torrents and different URLs remain secured for years. And courts are granting appeals for the preventative siege of websites on the desires of filmmakers and content creators.


Many countries across the globe choose to create Torrent activity illegal in sand one can get fines and imprisonments for the same. India falls in the place wherein downloading is ignored. Yet, even if the 'copyrighted material' is 'utilized', one can be set with piracy for illegally accessing it.

Despite this Torrent, find ways of escaping the legal brunt by various means. It is stated Torrenting stays dangerous if it is legal or illegal. 

To sum up, only seeing and downloading files from these sites is not illegal, provided the person is regarding and using the files for personal use. But making copies of those downloaded files and selling them is prohibited if you haven't taken the owner's consent.


Is downloading a transferred Torrent from Google drive unlawful?

Firstly, downloading anything from Google Drive will not be termed a Torrent. It's just a download. The file might have initially been downloaded via BitTorrent, then shared to Google Drive from which others can visit or download.

Other than that, if the file's content is copyrighted, it is illegal to download files from Google Drive.

Can I go to prison for Torrenting?

Well, it depends on the situation, but it's unlikely you can go to jail for Torrenting. Most Torrenting cases are considered suits, not criminal ones, so when it comes to punishment, it's often an acceptable or monetary payment.

It depends on what nation you're in and whether you also implanted the file so other users could view it.

What lawful use cases can I operate Torrents for?

There are a ton of free ways to use Torrent. Listed below are some examples:
Software, such as Linux distros, is often known for download via Torrent. The association keeps the distro from bearing to host the files themselves.

Public field media, such as music, books, and movie for which the copyrights have expired, can be seen and lawfully downloaded through Torrent

Artists who make movies, games, books, and music post their content for free Torrent. Torrent is a suitable way to access fair use materials from diverse media.

Where do people get Torrents from?

Torrents are often seen on BitTorrent trackers. They can be public or private, searchable websites that users upload. Users can view or download the small file your Torrent client uses to find other users uploading and downloading the exact content.

What are Seeders and Leechers?

Seeder is the one who uploads files to the network for other users to download. Leecher is the one who downloads files from the web from other users.

A user begins as a leecher by viewing and then downloading a file. Once the file is downloaded, the user changes to seed and starts uploading the file to other users.

A familiar turn among them is to seed as much data as you leech. If you download a 2 GB file, you must seed that file unless you've uploaded at least 2 GB of data. Yet, this approach is in no way enforced.

Why a file or Torrent does not start downloading?

The most familiar causes for a Torrent not creating downloading are:

  • You're not linked to the internet.
  • The file is damaged or reprobate.
  • The tracker is offline.
  • Your firewall is intercepting the link.
  • Your ISP is blocking the traffic.
  • There's an issue in your BitTorrent client.

About The Author:

Adv.Samarth Teotia specializes in white collar crime and criminal law litigation and advisory. He also has extensive knowledge of civil law matrimonial law and legal fields. Having running his own office Samarth has extensive experience in conducting trials and rendering assistance to all stakeholders throughout the trial in cases pertaining to bodily offences money laundering, prevention of corruption, cheating, criminal breach of trust, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and others.
Samarth has handled several high profile and sensitive matters in diverse aspects of criminal law and civil law, ranging from representing clients before courts, assisting in law enforcement requests, extradition proceedings and arguing matters before various Courts in Delhi and the High Courts of several states across the Country.