Torrents and educational fair use problem

I think this is just what was needed. There are probably complexities to be discovered when anonymously purchasing a $50 prepaid debit card, getting the anonymous email address and choosing a browser and settings. This recipe highlights the important steps though. Thank you!


Yes, though that’s a different, albeit interesting, question.

instead of spending all that money just download it on like starbucks wifi or something if youre worried about the tiny chance of being traced back to your own interenet


Okay. How does the torrent get on the laptop?

Whatever that system is, that’s how the ripped DVD file gets on the laptop.

There are serious repercussions for people in charge who advise college-level professors to do things like this. The administration is going to take the path of least resistance and fire the IT person who advised them to do this.

If they have the DVD then rip it and call it a day. It’s a lot less expensive and complex than getting a prepaid debit card anonymously and jumping through all these other hoops that you say there is no hypothetical time for.

Won’t the packets track back to the identifiers on the laptop or the email account?

It’s actually not when I saw it happen to both a professor and an IT department head. Universities went through so much crap over Napster that their legal department has basically told them to cut bait on anyone without tenure.

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Again. It’s pretend. No real professors are involved. No one is goint to rip anything or do anything. It’s honestly a hypothetical to make space to talk about an interesting topic that professional people sometimes don’t feel comfortable discussing — for all of the reasons you’ve mentioned and others. :slight_smile:

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Nah, as far as I’m aware the only way the mpaa or whoever have tracked down alleged pirates is by monitoring the IP addresses downloading torrents and then demanding that the ISP that controls that IP address turn over the identity of the person associated with that account. It’s been much less likely for courts to grant subpoena’s based only on ip addresses lately. So the most common thing on the off chance you are noticed is a letter from your isp telling you to stop.


You set up a specific scenario. My answer to that specific senario is the same whether the person in that situation is you or merely a “hypothetical” person.

It sounds like your actual question is: “Please tell me how to use bit torrent to download movies without getting caught.”

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It sounds like your actual point is that people don’t trust easily on the internetz, and that’s okay.

And asking about the technical parts of what is often encountered as a legal or professional ethics question may seem suspicious to some who already understand the technical process — esp. if that person is using torrents in a way that may not feel entirely legal and/or safe.

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Your initial hypothetical was disingenuous. When you got answers based on the stated parameters in your hypothetical (where the instructor owns the DVD) and told that you/the hypothetical instructor should rip the DVD you rejected all such suggestions outright. So, please, don’t go around trying to cast aspersions on me because the hypothetical you stated in the OP is different than the one you actually want answered.

It’s right there in the OP that they have no optical drive, so suggesting that they use one anyway is deliberately ignoring the scenario that @hello_friends outlined. Why shouldn’t they reject responses which ignore their question and instead suppose a different scenario?

I have been in that exact situation, as has my kid whose optical drive is broken. Sometimes I have simply mounted media on another box and accessed it over a network. Some other times, it hasn’t been possible for various reasons. This illustrates limitations of the blu-ray format which refuses playback if it cannot audit the playback stream as being leak-proof. I am not at a university, although I have certainly been in situations where accessing an archived image of a disc I have here was a viable option, whereas accessing the disc directly was not.

As for torrents versus ripping the DVD directly, I am not sure that there is much difference. Having lots of people individually ripping and locally storing their own individual copies of a DVD (or anything else) is less efficient than one person doing it and having it on the network somewhere. It seems like foolish computer semantics for companies to decry “torrent” while they gush about “the cloud”. Torrents and clouds are both basically just distributed file systems.


What OP actually states is this:

However, due to a constellation of IP and technical factors, digitally streaming the film from an online service in the classroom and/or using a DVD is impractical.

Using a DVD, as in direct playback on site. Ripping the DVD in advance is a way around that. Nowhere in the scenario does it state the instructor has no access elsewhere to a computer with an optical drive.

You are just proving my point, which is that there are other scenarios where one could posit torrenting as the answer, but those wouldn’t be the one hello_friends laid out in the OP.

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Sure, golden hindsight is a way around lots of problems. Just like backing up your data elsewhere is the simplest and only foolproof means of hard drive recovery. But if we are positing contingencies, based upon not having done these earlier steps, then this can be seen to change the focus of the discussion.

Not explicitly, but that’s what I took “using a DVD is impractical” to mean. I could pick apart “how impractical is it?” Does this mean that I need to cannibalize another box during class? Or simply that I am too lazy to look for the disc? There are of course a whole range of possibilities here, but I thought it seemed easier to consider the scenario they outlined rather than second guessing it.


It was never about the hypothetical at all. The details were all irrelevant. The hypothetical was just a red herring to cover up the question of: how do I torrent a movie without being caught.

I’ve never said hello_friends shouldn’t open a discussion on that, rather I don’t appreciate the subterfuge, nor the remonstrations for answering the question asked rather than the one unstated.

I was kind of guessing that you might be writing a novel and that you wanted to make sure your plot points were believable :smiley:


Where might I find such a thing? I’m especially interested in a lifetime subscription with a special discount for BB readers.


There’s good and bad ones. I use Private Internet Access. I have yet to have any issues with ease of use, reliability, bandwidth or security.

I recommend it. But if you know me around these parts you know I’m not a shill for anything but vaccinating your damn kids and atheism.


Correction: If “you” download a torrent, the IP address of the machine that downloads the torrent is public. That may or may not be your own IP address to a specific computer or, say, your house.

This is why things like seedboxes were invented.