So you want free stuff. There’s nothing wrong with that and in fact, it’s perfectly normal. Even if you’re not exactly poor, you’re not going to get rich by spending all of your money on stuff that you could possibly get for free. While many free downloads are not legal, there are literally thousands that are, you just have to find them.
Unfortunately, most people who upload torrents don’t exactly label their torrents as copyright free, but if you know what to look for, they are easy to find. How do you find legal torrents? Let’s get started.
What to Avoid?
For the most part, use common sense. If it’s new, just published, or for sale, you cannot download it legally. Avoid downloading media content that you could purchase, because it is stealing.
If you’re not sure, just look the item up. If it’s for sale then it’s probably not a good idea to download it. You can also avoid anything that requires a ‘crack’ ‘code’ ‘keygen’ or etc, as this is most likely to be illegal software.
Look on the Right Websites
While some websites dedicate themselves to ‘pirating’ software, games, and movies, (which is tantamount to stealing), others dedicate themselves to finding free content that you can enjoy without breaking the law.
This content includes movies, books, media, software, design patterns and prints, PDFs, how-tos, blueprints, and more. Where do you look? A few of the best legal torrent sites on the web include:
- Bittorrent Bundle
- Legit Torrents
- Linux Tracker
- Dozens More
There are plenty of lists of free torrent sites, so all you have to do is look them up and visit the right places. Many sites specialize in specific types of legal torrents, so you can find one that has a larger library of what you are looking for. For example, Linux Tracker offers free Linux software, games, and apps, while FilmChest.com offers free movies.
Decide what you’re looking for and then find a free torrent site that specializes in that content for the easiest search experience. Alternately, some sites like Archive.org try to list everything, which means that they have more of well… everything.
Know What is Legal
Any content that is legal to download has to be copyright free, have permission to be downloaded, or in the public domain. In the case of books, movies, and other media, that means that the copyright should have expired. For books, that means anything written prior to 1923, or anything written prior to 1964 where the copyright was not renewed.
Unfortunately this does mean that you have to check the status of the copyright on each individual d book that you download in case the copyright was renewed. Movies are almost the same way and once again must be checked on a per-item basis. FilmChest.com is one of the best places to find copyright free movies, as they have torrent files for almost all of the free options available.
What’s the catch? Most media in the public domain is ‘old’, and not quite as well produced as the newest blockbusters. As can be expected, many very popular movies have renewed copyrights despite being old, but you can legally download more than 800 films.
Some artists authorize their content for free download, but you do have to check to make sure that the authorization covers the exact content you want. For example, The Counting Crows and Death Grips both have authorized downloadable content, but not all of their music is authorized.
There are also a number of smaller Indie artists who push their content through free download programs like Bands Under the Radar to promote their music by offering it for free via torrent. Unfortunately, there is not a great deal of hits authorized for torrent download, but you can take the time to explore new music. After all, it’s free.
So How Do I Get Torrents?
You have to use torrent client software to download torrents, so if you don’t have one, then you have to get one. Torrent or Bittorent clients process the torrent file, manage the downloads, and manage seeding for you.
Some options even allow you to search and find legal torrents right from the client, which also makes search easier. While there are a number of options, some are better than others, and some offer a great deal more features than others. However, choosing a good one is up to you, as some are not compatible with all operating systems.