Dear Lifehacker, I work for myself but the landlord of my building provides my internet. Previously I have been able to download using torrents, but they have recently started blocking me. Is there a work around? Thanks, Blackbeard
When you say you are blocked from using torrents, are you referring to websites like Kickass Torrents and The Pirate Bay? Chances are, your landlord had nothing to do with this.
In December last year, the Federal Court ordered Australian internet service providers (ISPs) to block a number of torrent websites at the behest of Village Roadshow, Foxtel and others. Most Australian ISPs, including Telstra, Optus, TPG, M2, Dodo and iiNet, have since complied with the order.
At last count, around 130 domain names have been blocked or are in the process of being blocked in Australia - you can view the full list here. More torrent sites are expected to follow as disgruntled rights holders gear up their attacks.
The upshot of all this is that torrent users now receive a message informing them access has been denied when they attempt to visit sites on the 'block list'. This includes The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt and SolarMovie.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint) it's not too difficult to get around the blocks. This guide explains how it's done.
It's also possible that your landlord has set up OpenDNS content filtering on their network to block certain sites - although why they would care is anyone's guess. (A landlord is not legally responsible for a tenant's online activity, even if internet access is included in the lease.)
If this is the case, it should be easy enough to bypass your landlord's filter by manually setting the DNS servers on your devices. All you need to do is go into your network settings and change your DNS server address - we recommend Google's Public DNS address. (126.96.36.199 or 188.8.131.52.) You can find more information on DNS workarounds here.
With all that said, we need to point out one obvious caveat: downloading copyrighted material without permission is wrong. No, really.
You can argue about high prices, delayed releases and unavailable content 'till the cows come home - none of it excuses piracy. You could eventually get into legal trouble, even if you go to lengths to mask your online activities. Proceed at your own risk.
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