Downloading is Illegal, but is Streaming?


New member
Apr 27, 2013
Is streaming like in the case of the RPI with XBMC Illegal? I am in Canada and would like to know FACT, not your opinion. Does anyone know what the FACTS are regarding this?

I know some of the addons support downloading and I don't care to use that feature, but with the recent crackdown in the Toronto area on downloading torrents etc. I was wanting to try clear up what if any are the differences between streaming vs Downloading.

Thanks for your replies!



New member
Nov 30, 2012
I do not think it is as black and white as you would like it to be. I think the interpetation of law is a murky subject.


New member
Jan 20, 2013
Here is some light reading for you. The Canadian Copyright Act.

Basically it boils down to if the copyright holder thinks you are infringing they will send you a collection letter after filing a lawsuit to get yours and others personal information. The companies and law firms that are starting to get involved in these copyright lawsuits in Canada are following the same process as those in the states, and are trying to get people to pay up to keep it out of court.

Using streaming sites makes it a lot more difficult for law firms to file suit against you. The reason being that you are not hosting or sharing the file. It is also harder for them to get the IP address and personal info of people that are streaming video.

Torrents are much easier to track and because you are sharing while you are downloading it is a much cleaner case on their side. Also for the time being companies are targeting people downloading from torrents.

The most recent changes to the copyright act though did limit the dollar amount to $5000 per offence that an individual can be fined.


Staff member
May 7, 2012
In Canada we have always thought to be safe when simply downloading aka not also sharing at the same time as in when using torrents

Nothing as yet has changed this nor has a precedent been set (that I know of) where simply downloading is considered illegal, the current cases going on with certain 3rd party ISP's is with sharing movies via torrents, not downloading from a file sharing host

Streaming is exactly the same as downloading, only difference is the file isn't saved in the end

Remember we also pay a levy on blank media to compensate music and movie industry for supposed lost revenue due to pirating, so in my mind that gives me the right to download whatever I want


May 13, 2012
The way I've looked at it from my standpoint, I'm in the US. I've been asked by many people, I'm not a lawyer so I can't tell you what is or what isn't illegal or legal. This is my perspective, which is probably different from everyone else.

I've always been under the understanding that the only illegal part of downloading is the fact of sharing it. My thing is, there's no trace of you having possession of these files in the end. You aren't downloading, you aren't sharing and you aren't saving this content.

In the end, my opinion is as long as the website is still up that hosts these files and their links, I'm in the clear. I'm sure I'm WAY off, but hey, until anything else changes I'm living with that thought lol.

Of course there's a risk I'm sure, but seeing that all ISP's around here will send cease and desist letters to people for downloading content, there's never been 1 case of any of my clients 200+ with ATV2/RPi setups ever getting a letter. So there's something about the traffic of streaming that doesn't get flagged like downloading.