Importance of Using a VPN in Germany
We have all done it before – using our computer to download or stream television shows, movies, music or games that we do not want to buy. Whether it is a direct download site, a streaming site or by torrenting the content, most of us have pirated at one time or another and the truth is that the clear majority of “pirates” never get in trouble. They either live in countries where their actions have no consequences, or they are in a position where they are not caught by the companies whose material they are pirating. However, not everyone is so lucky.
Countries with Lax Piracy Laws
Some people have a good situation, where they can download content without having to worry about getting caught. For instance, if you live in a country where the piracy laws are fairly lax and the Internet Service Providers do not care whether you are pirating content or not, your chances of getting caught are insignificant. No one is going to shut off your internet access, and companies based in the United States or South America are not going to come into your country to sue you for pirating their content. However, some users are not as lucky.
Downloading/Streaming in Germany
People who live in Germany do not have the same good fortune as others when it comes to file sharing. We have already seen the stories where countless Germans have found themselves in legal hot water when they were caught pirating games, music, movies or television shows. The punishments in these cases have varied. Some were lucky enough to get away with a warning or having their internet service shut down however others had to pay hefty fines (anything from €900 to €2000) which goes far beyond the value of the items they were alleged to have pirated. This of course does not include expensive lawyer fees which many have been forced to pay in order to fight their case. With such severe consequences, downloading/sharing in Germany is certainly a risky business.
Popular BitTorrent clients in Germany include Popcorn Time, Kodi, Showbox, uTorrent, Vuze, µTorrent, qBittorrent, Transmission, Deluge, Tixati and numerous more.
Many Germans have turned to other sources for their media. They have purchased subscriptions to streaming services such as Netflix, or found other legal means of watching the content they wish to see. However, it does not mean that everyone is on board with the changes. There are many Germans who still wish they could watch films and TV shows with the same frequency. It is not because they are desperate to steal media – it is because not every show is available on a streaming site. What if you want to watch something that is not on Netflix or HBO? What will you do then?
How to Avoid Getting Caught Downloading in Germany
There are many conversations about how to avoid getting caught by companies when you are sharing material. Some people believe that if you are not uploading any content on the torrent client, you are not going to get caught. However, this has never been exclusively proven. In fact, there are many people who did not upload much or anything at all – and they still found themselves in the crossfire of lawyers representing the studios producing the television shows or movies that were being shared.
If avoiding uploading is not going to solve the problem, can switching to private torrent trackers make a difference? If you are not sure what a private torrent tracker is, we can explain. It is a tracker that you join by invitation, and you can only download or upload the content being shared by its members if you are still an active member in good standing yourself. Private trackers are selective about who they allow into their community, which they claim reduces the chances of getting caught by a large percentage. Unfortunately, this method is not fool proof, with some members still experiencing issues.
There have been stories of members of private torrent trackers still finding themselves in trouble with the law. They were sent letters by their ISP saying they had pirated content. Now we are not left with many options, especially if they want to continue consuming media in the way they did before. If a private tracker is not going to get the job done, what other option do we have? Is there a method we can use where the ISP and/or the media companies will have no idea that we are the person who is pirating content using torrent clients?
A Fool Proof Method – Using a VPN in Germany
Yes, there is a method. It is called a VPN, or a virtual private network. They cost less than 10 euros a month in most cases, and they are a fool proof method of avoiding detection if you are want to watch tv, movies or download music on your home computer. Free German VPN’s are unfortunately extremely unreliable and when they do work, it is only in a very limited way with low data allowances. The reason why a VPN works so easily is because it masks your German IP address when you are connected to the torrent client. That means the ISP and the media companies have no idea that it is you who is accessing the torrent client to download or upload specific files.
For instance, let us say that you are looking to download the latest episode of The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones the moment it comes out. This is normal, as many of us enjoy watching new episodes when they air, so we can converse with our friends and colleagues about what we all just watched. If you are hoping to do this by downloading the episode through a private or public torrent tracker, you will download the file and begin your download immediately. Since you are one of the early people to start the download, you will probably start uploading a fair amount of the file to others as well.
In this scenario, the media companies catch you by posing as other users. They set up their own machines with torrent clients, where they will also grab the latest files that are coming out. For instance, HBO may have a company set up to download the Game of Thrones episodes on torrent trackers. When they have downloaded the episode, they will start uploading the material to other users, such as yourself. It is pure chance if you happen to be one of the people who are downloading content from this “fake user” that has been set up by the media company.
If you do happen to be one of those users, they will record your IP address. In fact, they will record all of the IP addresses they can see, and they will attempt to figure out how to take action against those users. Their course of action usually involves sending notices to the internet company that corresponds to the IP address. Then it is up to the internet company to take action against the user. This can be anything from a warning to a fine to the cancellation of your internet service.
Consequences of Downloading Torrents in Germany
The media companies will use their legal teams to fine someone who may have downloaded or uploaded their content, and these lawsuits can easily reach thousands of euros in fines…..But will any of this happen to you if you are using a VPN? The answer is NO! If you are using a VPN, your chances of getting caught are less than 0.1%, and we can explain why this is the case.
A German VPN Will Protect You
When you are using a VPN, your German IP address is masked. You are connected to the internet through the VPN, which means you are connected through one of their IP addresses. If you are using a popular VPN client, you are not the only person who is using the IP address at the same time. In fact, hundreds of people may be using the internet on that IP address when you were streaming or downloading. The media company’s machine would pick up that IP address if you download the episode from one of their planted seeders, they would not see your real IP address.
The media company would do a search of all the IP addresses, to see the internet service providers that they can contact. When they come across your IP, they will notice that it is one of those IP addresses that originates from a VPN service. Now they may attempt to contact the VPN company for your information, but this is a futile exercise. VPN companies do not keep records…..and even if they did, you would be one of a few hundred people who used that IP address during that time. They would have NO way of knowing whether you were the person who downloaded the content.
So, if you are visiting, or living in, Germany and you wish to continue using torrent websites to get your media content, we strongly encourage you to get a VPN service. Right before you are going to torrent, you will connect to the VPN and maintain its connection until you are done downloading for the day. With most VPN clients, you can even set up a lock where your internet stops working if the VPN disconnects. This means there is no chance you would ever expose your real IP to the torrent client as your internet would merely shut down if the VPN disconnects, which would stop any torrent activity too.