I want to run a VPS for torrenting Ubuntu's upcoming release. Is it legal?

Some VPS providers are unsure about it.

I am not talking about modifying Ubuntu here. Just distributing the ones that Ubuntu already provides.

  • 2
    The ToS for your VPS might forbid using torrents, even if you torrent legal content. – CodesInChaos Mar 28 '15 at 16:49

Torrenting itself is not illegal; it's just a method of file transfer using multiple servers (the downloaders act as servers).

Any legal issues around using it relate to the content. If you do not have the legal right to download or upload material, then downloading or uploading it via Torrent is illegal.

Canonical (the company that develops Ubuntu) provides links to obtain Ubuntu images by torrenting. Obviously, you have the right to download it, so it is not illegal to do so by this method.

According to Wikipedia (emphasis added):

The use of the BitTorrent protocol for unauthorized sharing of copyrighted content has led to a variety of novel legal issues. While the technology and related platforms are perfectly legal, law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies worldwide are developing new tactics and increasingly pursuing ways to address this avenue of infringement. Notably, the use of BitTorrent in connection with copyrighted material may make the issuer of the BitTorrent file, link or metadata liable as an infringing party under the copyright laws of various governments. Similarly, the use of BitTorrent to procure illegal materials could potentially make end users liable as an accomplice under various laws.

  • 20
    You make the situation sound far more ambiguous than it is. BitTorrent is legal. End of story. What's illegal is downloading and uploading copyrighted content you don't have the legal right to download or upload. Ubuntu is free software, not a hollywood blockbuster. – Neil Forrester Mar 28 '15 at 17:18

Using torrent is legal (if you don't download or share copyrighted content, or if the copyright holder permits it). Canonical provides some .torrent files to download Ubuntu. You can get them here.

You can also create a new torrent of a Ubuntu iso, but this doesn't have much sense.

  • 3
    Most of the software in Ubuntu (including in Ubuntu ISO images) is copyrighted, just under licenses that permit redistribution, such as the GPL. So it's not really true to say that the distinction is between copyrighted and non-copyrighted content ("if you don't download or share copyrighted content"). – Eliah Kagan Oct 3 '17 at 12:36

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.