Currently there are millions of users downloading "free" Movies,Music,Games, and Software,and many are doing this on file-sharing networks,or P2P (Peer to Peer),which are not unlike the infamous music file sharing networks that operated until recently.
Most P2P networks cannot guarantee 100% legality for all their Movie downloads,as generally speaking, popular music, movies, games and software are protected by copyright,however many download sites provide details on how to stay within the legal framework. There is still a large amount of interesting material available, as in many cases artists authorize the sharing of their work for non commercial purposes as it can provide valuable worldwide exposure in a short amount of time.
P2P file distribution allows users having specialised software to download large files such as Movies, etc by directly connecting to other members of their network using a technique called "BitTorrent". The way in which BitTorrent works with regards to P2P Movie downloading is that a Movie file is downloaded to an individuals computer by transferring thousands of relatively small files that make up the Movie, from numerous other computers in the same network, while at the same time uploading files in a similar way to other users requiring missing files.
The Movie download process is initiated when a user starts a "BitTorrent" by performing a web search for the torrent file that contains specific details relating to that Movie.
1 : A torrent file contains the data relating to the multiple files that make up a typical BitTorrent Movie file as well as the location of the master computer (tracker).
2 : The tracker computer or server,manages communication between each individual peer and seed computer in the "swarm".
3 : A torrent file contains data relating to the location of files and computers in the network.
4 : A seed is a peer that has a complete copy of the torrent file and is able to offer it for upload.
5 : A peer is a member of a P2P network that you can connect to and transfer data. Usually a peer does not have the complete file, but only parts of it.
6 : Together, all peers (including seeds) sharing a torrent are called a swarm.
7 : A tracker is a server that keeps track of which seeds and peers are in the swarm.
Taking the legal angle,it has been very difficult for movie companies/copyright holders to stop downloads of copyrighted Movie and TV series etc,for a variety of reasons :
1 : The tracker does not contain a copy of the Movie
2 : The tracker is not directly involved in the transfer of the film data.
3 : The user does not search for the Movie by name,but for the torrent file.
4 : 1000s of fragments of the Movie are distributed between hundreds or even thousands of computers,so who is breaking the law? In practise it is extremely difficult to prosecute individual users for the downloading of a copyrighted Movie and far easier to shut down the movie download tracker/server than it is to trace each individual PC involved in the transfer of 1000s of files.
Personally I don't believe in downloading a copyrighted Movie for free,even if practically,I could get away with it,but the fact is there are thousands of interesting non copyrighted Movies,Videos and TV series available on the internet for free download,and for most Movie buffs that is enough incentive to join such a Free Film Download Site.
S.D. is a Professional Broadcast Engineer with over 20 years experience in the TV industry and is Webmaster of Film-Download-info.com, a site that de-mystifies Downloading,P2P,DivX,and Copyright issues,as well as rating the Top 3 Movie,Games and Music Downloading sites for PC's, iPods and PSP's.