Is it Legal to Download Torrents in Germany?
No, downloading torrents is not illegal in Germany and allowed to some extent.
However, downloading torrents protected by copyrights, for instance, a movie still being played in cinemas is illegal in Europe. You can download media including music, videos, books, software and other media as much as you want, but once flagged by the ISP for downloading a file that is copyright protected.
The ideal strategy is using a VPN with your torrent client. While people will tell you to ignore warning signs and keep torrenting as usual, remember that torrent users’ have been fined in 6 different countries including the USA, UK, Germany, France, Australia and New Zealand. You may lose some speed on your connection but you will always be assured that your activities are secured from the ISP and copyright trolls.
Download Torrents in Germany with VPN
To download torrents and share files safely in Germany, you need a VPN service. The technology incorporated by a VPN does not allow your ISP from monitoring all your internet activities or allow copyright holders to get hold of your true location.
Below listed are some of the best VPN services that you can use for downloading torrents in Germany. Each of these providers supports P2P file sharing and have optimized servers designated for the use of torrents.
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How Are You Caught While Using Torrents?
Now that you know how to download Torrents in Germany, here is what goes on in the background that gets you caught when you use torrents. Since BitTorrent and other similar file-sharing software break the file into small pieces, you are uploading and downloading the file from other users (or peers).
In doing so, your IP address is visible to everyone downloading the same file. This is what gets you caught as your true location can be traced back by copyright holders. Also, due to the EU Data Retention Directive, your ISP is required to keep logs of all your internet activity for a certain period of time; your ISP knows all the details about what you downloaded.
This is where using a Torrent VPN is imperative. What a VPN does is that it masks your original IP address and replaces it with the IP address of its server. A VPN also encrypts all your internet traffic that passes through your network and tunnels it through secure protocols, making you invisible to copyright sharks and your ISP.
What To Do If You Are Caught Downloading Torrents In Germany?
Recently, we noticed a massive hoard of torrent users’ who were punished fined for downloading copyright media in German cyberspace. This poor expat, for instance, had his roommate’s internet fined almost €500 for downloading a season of ‘The Family Guy’ over torrents:
Like the poor soul above, numerous international students and expats have experienced the same issue of receiving notices with ridiculous fines for downloading music, TV shows, and movies. Quora user Thao Truong explains how she hired a lawyer to look into the matter for her. After a long cat & mouse chase with copyright authorities (trolls if you ask me) she never paid the fine as they simply went away.
The smart thing Ms. Truong and countless others like her do is that they deploy a VPN. Is “prevention not better than cure”? For torrent fans it definitely is and a simple VPN service that costs no more than $35 for the year is definitely the way to go. No entertainment in the world is worth more than your privacy & personal data.
Beware of Paying Dues for Someone Else’s Sins
If you have an unsecured Wi-Fi network or your internet connection is being shared by other users, you need to protect yourself from DMCAs and copyright infringement notices that you didn’t commit. Yes, that’s right, you could be paying for copyright infringements even if you haven’t used any torrents or P2P file sharing.
There have been many reported cases in Germany of students, landlords, and other users being sent fines for copyright infringement while the crimes were committed by others.
The proper thing to do in this case is to secure your internet network. Here is where VPN service provides another benefit. You can setup VPN on your Wi-Fi router which keeps you safe from unwanted DMCA notices, copyright infringement warnings, and fines.
Germany is not a safe haven for torrent users by any means. Copyright infringement is heavily frowned upon in Germany and users that have been victims of such violations had to pay hefty fines. Even those that were caught in this mess inadvertently also had to pay for copyright infringement.
So the next time you are traveling to Germany for studies, vacations, business, or are living in the Germany, using a VPN service to download torrents is a must. It will keep you safe from copyright sharks, DMCAs, and other fines while using torrents in Germany.