Undoubtedly, many use VPN to hide illegal BitTorrent downloading. However, there are many fantastic legal torrent sites around that give you access to super, copyright-free content.
This is because torrenting is a very efficient means of transferring any kind of file over the internet. Therefore, many websites exist that offer great copyright-free or open source content that can be downloaded using your favorite BitTorrent client.
Keep reading to find out about the best legal torrent sites, and if you'd like to stay safe while downloading, check out the best VPNs for torrenting.
The Best Legal Torrent Sites
Public domain torrents is dedicated to hosting and curating old movies and TV shows whose copyright has expired and are now in the public domain. A treasure trove for cine-buffs, it features an extensive catalog of titles. It includes classics like the hilarious Reefer Madness, George A. Romero’s original Night of the Living Dead, the original Zorro, and Flash Gordon episodes, and much more!
The website design is a little basic, but films are listed by category, which makes browsing for exciting titles a pleasure. All movies can be downloaded via BitTorrent, or watched using the Shockwave player.
In appearance, it is very similar to the Kickass torrent site. It contains over 3,700 100% legal torrents, including movies, books, applications and so on, so if you’re looking for something like that, this is a perfect option!
Vuze is not only a great alternative to favorite torrent clients but also a useful source of legal torrents. Its video content is divided into categories, so you can find what you’re looking for easier. You can either use the website or the Vuze client to access the directory. The simple interface further helps you to find what you need.
The Internet Archive is a non-profit website, "founded to build an Internet library. Its purposes include offering permanent access for researchers, historians, scholars, people with disabilities, and the general public to historical collections that exist in digital format."
It hosts a considerable number of legal torrents, boasting over 3 and a half million torrent books, 745,000 movies, and almost two million music and audio tracks. In addition to downloading via BitTorrent, most items can be previewed over the web, and many have also been reviewed by Internet Archive members.
Bitlove has over 1850 audio torrents, over 222 videos. It has a nicely organized directory, you can find anything you want in alphabetical order, and you can also sort the content by language. This feature is essential because Bitlove hosts excellent audio and video podcasts, and you can share your own podcast feed, too. Also, by using SHA1 hashes, it ensures data integrity.
This professionally presented website provides torrent links to the latest versions of pretty much every Linux distro available. It also hosts a forum for users to discuss the torrents, and includes a good description of each download.
This well-presented website offers a wide selection of ‘cracked, skewed and off-kilter games, films, comics, books and music’ made by independent artists, musicians and designers. Quality can be a little uneven, but there is some cool and innovative stuff on Vodo. Reading user’s forum comments is a good way to judge if something is worth downloading (video content can also be watched online using Vodo’s custom player software).
There are also lists of most downloaded, most commented, and most shared, to help get you started. Most of the content on Vodo is free, but they encourage you to ‘pay what you want’, with 70 percent of the payment going to the artist. If you're looking for a comic torrenting site - then Vodo is perfect for you.
Jamendo is a legal torrent site for hosting copyright-free music. Its mission, according to their website, is to connect musicians and music fans all around the world. They host over 500,000 tracks from more than 400,000 artists, which offers a great selection of free music. Many independent artists are provided with a platform to be heard and seen.
This website hosts thousands of torrents of live recordings from concerts by trade friendly performers, including the likes of Grateful Dead, Phish, and Pearl Jam. There is a wealth of great stuff available, most of it as high quality .flac files. But recordings are primarily made by fans, so quality may vary a little.
Let’s not forget about scholars and researchers, as they usually need an enormous amount of data to work with. This site hosts academic datasets from researchers to researchers. Papers, publications, and other similar documents are available for educational and academic purposes.
South by Southwest (SXSW) is a set of film, interactive, and music festivals that take place every year in Austin, Texas. The music festival is the largest of its kind in the world and features thousands of performers and bands playing in more than 100 venues. Starting in 2005 the (unofficial) SXSW Torrents website has posted a compilation showcasing the talent performing at the festival, and now boasts 10,000 songs and a 50GB archive. Starting this year the site has switched to pointing at artists’ Soundcloud pages, but almost ten years’ worth of musical goodness is available to download via BitTorrent.
It is another excellent repository of old movies (1913 to 1968). This website also hosts some fascinating WW2 documentaries, including ‘Nazi Concentration Camps’ (produced and presented as evidence at the Nuremberg war crimes trial), Battle of Midway (1942 as it happened), and many more. Movies can be downloaded via P2P or can be streamed on the website, and around 500 gems (and the not so gems) of movie history are available for your viewing pleasure.
It is designed for gamers to help them improve their gameplay. It also has playthroughs of all kinds of games, so newbies can quickly turn to be pros. You can find and download torrents by merely using the search box in the top right corner of the page.
Billed as ‘filesharing for musicians,’ this website allows artists to upload their work under the Creative Commons license, and distribute it for free. Hundreds of bands and musicians have posted their tracks, which are tagged by genre to help finding music you like easier. Many come with previews, and most link back to the artists’ website, MySpace page, etc. Therefore, you can explore bands you like further, purchase their CDs, and suchlike.
‘The finest radio drama of the 1930’s was The Mercury Theatre on the Air. It was a show featuring the acclaimed New York drama company which Orson Welles and John Houseman founded together. In its brief run, it featured an impressive array of talents, including Agnes Moorehead, Bernard Herrmann, and George Coulouris.
The show is famous for its notorious War of the Worlds broadcast, but the other shows in the series are relatively unknown. This site has many of the surviving shows, and will eventually have all of them.’
There are some fantastic productions here, which you can listen to online, or you can download the whole archive via BitTorrent.
Defunct Legal Torrents Sites
Unfortunately, unlike illegal torrenting, legal torrent sites are usually less popular. Therefore, some legal torrent sites have now died.
GameUpdates.org used to host legal patches and updates to pretty much every PC, Linux, and Mac game released in the last ten years or so. A description, system requirements, and screenshots accompanied each game, which made the website a great general resource for gamers.
Legal Torrents FAQ
Below, you can find some more useful information about safe and legal torrenting.
Is BitTorrent Illegal?
In short, no. BitTorrent is the software that allows you to download torrents. Even downloading torrents is not illegal. However, downloading copyrighted content is. If you want to find out more about the ins and outs of illegal torrenting, then I'd recommend reading our useful "Is Torrenting Illegal?" guide.
How to Download Torrents Safely?
It is entirely safe to download torrents - as long as they are legal. No ISP or copyright troll will ever try to come after you for downloading legal content. However, if you're downloading illegal content (which BestVPN.com does not endorse), then you should consider using a VPN.
Get a VPN for Torrenting
Why Do People Torrent Illegally?
Most people torrent illegally due to the convenience of getting content easily. The secondary cause, is the lack of finances, as research by Statista shows.
Many people also download files illegally, as they prefer to try before they buy. Backing this theory up exceptionally well, the rate of illegal sharing is decreasing due to the rise of streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix.
Safe and Legal Torrents Sites Recap
On the whole, the above sites are a great way to get access to a wide variety of content without breaking the law. Make sure you let us know your favorite legal torrent site in the comments below.