Originally Posted by e912
I have got to point out downloading copywritten files if you do not own the licence is illegal however open source programs are available on there as well i believe
Not entirely accurate.
It is certainly not a criminal offence
copyright material, though it is a civil offence
, and the copyright holder can take legal action through the civil courts if they have evidence that you have done so.
Uploading is a different matter entirely, by uploading you are actually distributing material, which is a criminal offence
With Torrents you are uploading as well as downloading, so criminal action could be taken (and has been taken).
With something like Usenet or Rapidshare, where you are downloading only
, it's entirely up to the copyright holder to take civil action against you, if
they can provide evidence that you have downloaded anything.
The thing is with Torrents, is that your IP address is visible to anyone on the same tracker as you, and can be instantly traced back to your internet provider, and eventually to you.
Copyright law in the UK is geared towards prosecuting the distributer, not the reciever, for example, when trading standards raid dodgy car boot sales and market stalls for pirated DVDs/CDs/Games, they always arrest the seller, never the buyers.
I'm not trying to glorify illegal P2P use, I'm just trying to clear up a little misconception.