Do you use torrent websites to download film and television shows not freely available?
If so, things are about to get even easier with an infamous torrent website transforming itself into the world's largest video-on-demand streaming site.
As Netflix attempts to block New Zealand users from accessing its overseas libraries, The Pirate Bay is offering users the ability to stream its entire catalogue without paying a cent.
For a long time, The Pirate Bay has eluded authorities hoping to shut down the site, which offers an unprecedented number of torrents to be illegally downloaded with ease.
Now, they are taking one step further by introducing a Netflix-esque ability to directly stream from the website, rather than waiting for the title to download.
With no subscription needed, the technology is made possible by a partnership with Pirate Bay and Torrents Time, a browser plug-in that makes any torrent website into a streaming service.
"By harnessing the incredible abilities of torrents, you can transform your website, in a matter of seconds to an amazing, simple to use streaming website," the Torrents Time website reads.
First made popular by "the Netflix of piracy" app Popcorn Time, the software uses so-called "trackers" to find enough peers with the required content to start the stream.
While an extensive catalogue to rival Netflix, Stan and Presto sounds amazing, the website's features are far from legal and could land users in hot water.
Media and entertainment lawyer Shaun Miller said he didn't expect New Zealanders and Australians using the service to be specifically targeted by the law, but admitted there was always a risk.
Given the limited resources of Australian law-enforcing authorities, it would be impractical to deem millions of Australians who illegally download or stream content to be law-breaking citizens and bring legal action against each person.
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"The law courts are not set up to deal with charging millions of Australians with a criminal offence. Perhaps there will be legal action against a few unlucky individuals with the aim of making an example of them in order to frighten the masses."
The Federal Court's dismissal of the landmark Dallas Buyers Club case last year only furthers this belief.
Miller said instead of going after individual users, Australia would likely attack the mechanism that enables the illegal streaming via the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015, which came into force in June last year.
"The legislation allows rights holders to go to a Federal Court judge to get overseas websites or online locations blocked that have the primary purpose of facilitating copyright infringement," he said.
"If a rights holder succeeds in their blocking request, Australian internet providers, such as Telstra and iiNet, will need to comply with a judge's order by disabling access to the infringing location."
Attempting to block the website might seem like a good idea in theory, but most of these sites have tools to circumvent them.
Many online piracy websites implement a reverse proxy, which mirrors the original sites on a new domain name and makes them accessible again.
The technology seems to be racing faster ahead than the law can accommodate. It's an ever-evolving landscape which is all driven by consumers wanting to access film and TV content as widely, quickly and cheaply as possible.
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Policing is even more difficult because other torrent sites are also in the process of implementing the software.
Miller said Netflix's attempt to block users from accessing the wider libraries available in other countries was contributing to the problem.
"The technology seems to be racing faster ahead than the law can accommodate. It's an ever-evolving landscape which is all driven by consumers wanting to access film and TV content as widely, quickly and cheaply as possible," he said.
Knowing the software is causing this issue more than the website, Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN has issued Torrents Time with its first legal threat.
"BREIN issued a cease and desist letter to us on the grounds that it's a known fact that Torrents Time is facilitating the distribution of infringing content," Torrents Time toldTorrentFreak.
Although, it appears unlikely that these attempts will much to fix the problem because Torrents Time claims it has no influence over how its service is used.
In a letter to BREIN, Torrents Time lawyers responded aggressively.
"In your letter, you take the liberty of accusing my clients of distributing an 'illegal application'. We deny that allegation, as being unsubstantiated, false and illegal in itself," the letter read, reports TorrentFreak.
"No court has ever ruled that Torrents Time breaches any right of any sort, including copyrights and neighbouring rights.
"You are also hereby warned not to attempt to take action against any third party who uses Torrents Time or hosts it or co-operates therewith in any other manner.
"Failing to comply with my demands herein will prove itself as enormously costly to your organisation and its members and could lead to criminal proceedings against yourself, on the grounds of illegal threats and extortion, the consequences of which I'm sure you are very well aware of."