There is only one useful piece of advice that can be given about uploading files – unless you are absolutely certain the file you are uploading is your own property: DON’T DO IT. There is no problem with uploading photos you have taken yourself to Flickr or videos you have made yourself to YouTube, but you should never upload content that belongs to someone else. When you buy an album or a video, you only own that single copy – you don’t have the right to upload it to file-sharing sites.
Copyright holders tend to take much stronger action against uploaders than against downloaders, as a single upload can lead to thousands or even millions of downloads. In November 2010, three men behind The Pirate Bay a popular file-sharing site, were fined millions of dollars and sentenced to years in jail by a Swedish court.
In the same month a Minneapolis woman, Jammie Thomas-Rasset, was found guilty of illegal song file sharing and ordered to pay the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) $1.5 million. The RIAA claimed that she shared more than 1,700 songs on a file-sharing site, but it sued over only 24 of them.
Using a BitTorrent client to download files can be a particularly dangerous activity as anyone who downloads is also uploading, due to the way the BitTorrent software works.