Despite popular belief, torrenting in Germany is not illegal. However, the practice of downloading or torrenting banned and copyrighted material is. This comes as no surprise, considering that copyrighting is an issue throughout the world.
Nevertheless, in the past few years, there has been a significant increase in fines in Germany and users are trying to find a way out of this situation.
What is the Abmahnung?
Punishing illegal torrenting comes with some major issues. Ever since the rise of the Abmahnung, which is something similar to a cease and desist letter, German firms started demanding large payments from BitTorrent users even if they had nothing to do with illegal torrenting. Besides, the sum can go from several hundred Euros to a thousand and more.
The Abmahnung copyright notices sent out by German law firms are many times unethical. Some firms demand payment from filesharers without the right permission, while others target both illegal and legal users of torrenting.
Afraid that they will have to deal with huge fines if getting sued, many people decide to pay a few hundred euros even if they never downloaded copyrighted material. This can happen if someone uses your computer or internet connection.
Once you’ve received an Abmahnung, you need to pay the fine or you run the risk of getting sued. Even after your confession and payment, there is a possibility that you will keep receiving fines every month.
So, how can you avoid this?
IP Tracking and How to Avoid It
When you connect to your home, work or even public Wi-Fi network, you get assigned with an IP address. This is an easy way for you to stay recognizable on the internet and, in a way, an IP address is your online identity.
It reveals your location, and it can easily compromise your personal information. For example, your Internet Service Provider knows your IP address and based on that it tracks everything that you do as long as you are connected to the web.
On the other hand, the IP address is also visible to other torrent peers and can be harvested by automated software, putting you in potential danger.
IP tracking can be dangerous in many ways, not only when it comes to torrenting. Therefore you need to find a way to avoid this and stay protected.
After all, wouldn’t you like to be in control of your browsing history?
The good news is you can, the bad news is that you are left with a few options only. Among them are Proxy servers and Virtual Private Networks (VPN). They both have their pros and cons, but when it comes to security and anonymity VPNs are in a huge lead. They mask your IP address, and hide your traffic through an encrypted ‘’tunnel’’. Let’s see what else they can do.
Torrenting in Germany with a VPN – Pros and Cons
VPNs are one of the best options when you want to stay hidden on the internet. In Germany, you can get fined even without committing the crime of downloading copyrighted material. So why risk it?
Virtual Private Networks have their good and bad sides. The best thing is that the positive features definitely outweigh their drawbacks.
When it comes to torrenting, there are two main things to consider: your IP address and your traffic. In order for you to get fined, it’s enough for these two features to be visible to third parties and your ISP.
Every time you or someone else opens BitTorrent and downloads a movie, a song, or other content, you run the risk of being traced and receiving a costly penalty. To stop this from happening the best thing to do would be to hide these two things.
A good VPN can easily ‘erase’ your traffic and mask your IP address. Once you connect to one of the servers the VPN service has provided you with, you are assigned with a different IP address, one that won’t lead anyone back to your location.
Besides, your internet traffic now runs through an encrypted tunnel, which does not allow ISPs to trace your trails on the web. You will stay anonymous and safe from getting fined based on your downloading history.
The bad thing when it comes to VPNs is that not every service provider is trustworthy, and almost all of them tend to slow down your internet connection. The safer security protocol you use, the harder it will be for you to download a large file.
Don’t get discouraged though. It’s not easy to find a VPN that will provide you with good downloading speeds and advanced privacy features, but it is possible. While on the topic, what exactly do you need in one after all??
Things to Search For in a VPN
Virtual Private Networks are great for many things, from staying anonymous and protected on the internet, to streaming easily from anywhere in the world or bypassing governmental restrictions. Over the years this technology has really made things easier for freedom fighters and people who live in countries where the internet is heavily censored.
Depending on what you are trying to achieve, there are all kinds of VPNs on the market. Some are quite basic, others much more advanced.
When it comes to torrenting in countries with stronger restrictions, you need to keep an eye on the following things:
Strong security features
Unless you want your ISP to keep track on everything you do, every website you visit or the files you download, it’s important for a VPN to have good security protocols, together with a safe and unbreakable encryption.
Always check whether the VPN service provider has a kill switch included in the features. This will help you when the VPN connection suddenly drops. The kill switch won’t let you stay exposed. Instead, it will shut down your internet connection until everything gets back to normal.
When it comes to security, split tunneling is also a great feature, but not every service provider offers it. However, it would be an excellent addition to your anonymity, as it separates your data from the protected VPN tunnel.
If you are wondering how this is a good thing, keep in mind that you wouldn’t want to look suspicious to your ISP provider, and split tunneling is just the right thing for this.
Your ISP provider will see that you are using the bandwidth to for example checking a website, but won’t be able to see that a large amount of it is actually used to download a torrent file.
When you use a VPN server, your ISP does not get any information about you, but your VPN service provider might. Unless the VPN you are using has a zero log policy, this information can also compromise you.
Good server count and speed
Your IP address is German therefore you would want to change that to freely torrent, wouldn’t you? To easily hide your real location it’s best when the VPN offers as many server locations as possible.
That way you can choose a server in a country with lesser regulations on this matter. Aside from this, you would also want to keep an eye on the speed. It would be quite frustrating to download a file for hours and hours due to a poor speed connection.
Choosing a server for example in London will turn your IP address from German to British. Some VPNs have a history of leaking IP addresses therefore it is advised to check if your IP address is changed, once you’ve connected to a server. This can be quickly done through such websites on the internet.
Best VPN for Torrenting in Germany
Last, but not least, we’ve decided to ease your search for a good VPN by giving you a few possible suggestions. The following VPN providers check out almost all the criteria mentioned above.
As the leading VPN on the market, you won’t make a mistake if you choose ExpressVPN. It’s really fast, secure, and offers many advanced features other providers don’t. The only drawback is that it is somewhat more expensive.
NordVPN has thousands of IP addresses available for you to use, all across the world. Besides, the provider will keep you protected with its double security, as well as the zero log policy. It’s fast and extremely reliable.
The best thing is that if you are skeptical about it, you can use their 3-day free trial to see it for yourself.
Last, but not least, CyberGhost can boast with a variety of amazing features. From a large sever count to excellent speeds, this VPN is excellent for torrenting and avoiding fines, no matter where you are.
It lacks some features, but it compensates this drawback with others. Overall, CyberGhost is affordable and it has a great 45-day money back guarantee.