Is Usenet Legal?
Is Usenet legal? This one of the most discussed questions on the Internet from new and seasoned Usenet users. At some point everyone seems to become concerned that Usenet may not be legal and that by being subscribers or using the service they could get arrested or sued. The good news is that Usenet as a technology or service is not illegal to use. Whether or not you get sued or wind up in court over your use of Usenet has nothing to do with the service, only how you use it.
Usenet has been around for over 30 years. File sharing in one form or another has been around even longer. Sharing information is 100% legal, and even encouraged! What is not legal is when people share files that they do not own and/or have permission to share. You will often see articles and information online about copyright infringement (sometimes listed as “DMCA” or “Digital Millinium Copyright Act” violations). So, how does this apply to the average Usenet user?
In all but a few instances the people finding themselves in legal trouble have been the people POSTING copyrighted material to Usenet without the permission of the person who owns them. Very rarely do you read about situations where the person being sued was only downloading materials from Usenet. The main reason for this is that only a small percentage of Usenet users actually post materials for others. Most Usenet users simply download what others have made available. Stop these poeple from uploading and you solve the problem.
While new advances such as SSL encryption and Giganews VrprVPN offer protection against people being able to see what Usenet users are doing, nothing is fool proof. Make sure you understand the risks. But yes, Usenet is legal!