Streaming is the safest method in legal terms for those looking to get their entertainment fix online, according to a blog from TVAddons.
“There’s the safe way of doing things, then there’s the unsafe way that could result in hefty fines or even criminal charges,” TVAddons writes.
Streaming is a safer way, because “torrents and torrent-based apps like Popcorn Time are where the sketchiness comes into play. When you download from a torrent, you’re unknowingly also complicit in a process called reseeding; basically meaning your computer is being used as a server to share the file with other users as you download.
“At that point, you are no longer just passively watching the video, but are participating in the distribution of this file. It is also very easy for other torrenters to unmask your IP address since you’re acting as a public server, copyright holders will often uncover the identities of pirates this way. Depending on the level of participation, fines of anything from $300 – $3000 are known to be given out regularly.”
However, streaming can also be illegal, “The only really dangerous aspect of streaming is when people start to charge money for access to content. If you don’t own the content, than charging access to streams is highly illegal and could likely result in jail time. We’re highly against this type of thing, it happens quite often with sports. It’s fairly easy for copyright holders to subpoena the payment processors of these services to uncover the identities of users, at which point you could get fined. It’s also quite immoral to charge for access to something you don’t own.”