Torrenting systems have been around for about 20 years now, but the number available, and content they provide, has changed a lot. Their creation also required new laws in relation to copyright and content to be created, especially in regard to the type of content that is deemed acceptable to be shared and released online.
It is possible for you to use torrent sites without legal repercussion, however consideration will need to be made for the type of content you want, as well as for the means in which you are accessing it. If you know that something has not yet been made publicly available for purchase, there is a high chance that a torrented copy will either not be legitimate, or will have been illegally obtained.
Finding a Torrent
Many of the best torrent sites were shut down over the years due to the large number of illegal files they possessed. Items which had broken copyright laws, such as video camera footage in theatres, were not meant to exist, let alone be shared among countless users.
Any torrent sites that are still in existence may be operating on a much smaller level. Depending on where you live, there may also be extra steps you need to take to gain access to them in the first place.
In the United States, torrenting has been banned, meaning the websites will not be available in your country. By using a VPN to legally alter your IP address to that of another country, you can once again get access to these services.
Content and Copyright
Copyrighted content means that there are certain rules that must be followed for others to gain access to that material. Outline 17 of the United States code depicts all the information relating to content and copyright law, and to which you would be held should breach this.
Content and copyright can be taken very seriously. If someone has taken the time to create a piece of music, or movie, they will want it to be protected. This includes the revenue they can potentially gain from sale of their content. Illegal torrenting circumvents this transaction, causing the loss of this profit. This is another reason that you should always use a legitimate torrenting site that does not undermine the creative rights of individuals and companies.
If in Doubt
If you are ever in doubt about whether or not a file or site is operating in accordance with US law, it is always best to avoid downloading anything. You may wish to look into this further, including the way the site itself operates. You can also look for another means of accessing the content you desire, such as looking into streaming or paid download providers. This can be done via trusted video websites, as well as video apps for your smartphone.
The takeaway from this is that, while torrent sites themselves are not necessarily a bad thing, you may need to educate yourself on what is acceptable for you to download and access media.