Dear Lifehacker, Is it possible to get around the government's blocking of illegal torrenting and streaming sites? Also, what about US Netflix? As far as I can tell, it should be legal to access this content if you pay for it. Thanks, Honest Pirate
It's Evil Week at Lifehacker, which means we're looking into less-than-seemly methods for getting shit done. We like to think we're shedding light on these tactics as a way to help you do the opposite, but if you are, in fact, evil, you might find this week unironically helpful. That's up to you.
We've covered this topic extensively in the past. The short answer: yes it's possible. Literally all you need is a reliable VPN with server locations outside of Australia.
While it's true that circumventing geo-blocks is not an illegal activity in Australia, downloading or streaming copyrighted video without permission definitely is. There are severe penalties for people who knowingly sell or distribute content they do not hold the copyright for, so it's not something you want to mess around with. You can bone up on some of the legalities (and pro-piracy arguments) here.
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At the end of last year, the Federal Court ordered ISPs to block five popular torrent websites including The Pirate Bay, TorrentHound and IsoHunt within 15 business days. Foxtel and Village Roadshow initiated the court case in a bid to curb piracy.
Torrenting itself is completely legal and it's not all that difficult to circumvent ISP blocking of torrent websites. For instance, you can do it through a VPN, which often requires a monthly subscription fee. Here are some ways to gain access to blocked torrent sites for free.