Rock Star: I Feel I’m Going to Jail for Downloading Torrents

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Some people admit to using BitTorrent to obtain the occasional movie. However, it's very rare for a rock star to confess that they are serial movie and TV show downloader - and then worry that they are going to jail for it. We're happy to put her mind at rest.


Born March 18 1976, Marnie Stern is an American singer-songwriter and a great guitarist. In 2007 she launched her debut album ‘In Advance of the Broken Arm‘ which the New York Times called “the year’s most exciting rock ‘n’ roll album”.

During an interview with Pitchfork Media this week, she tells us about her favorite song (The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”), her most recent favorite book (The Listening Book) and even her favorite ringtone.

But Marnie is troubled. Marnie is troubled because she thinks she’s going to jail. What could a rock star have done to deserve this? Smashing up a hotel room? Drugs? Driving under the influence?

….try ‘downloading movies using BitTorrent’. That’s right; Marnie is a secret BitTorrent user.

When asked about the last great movie she saw, she responded “Since I’ve been here I have downloaded…I mean I feel I’m going to jail– well, I discovered the torrent– but I feel I’ve downloaded, I would say, honestly 40 or 50 movies, which I hear isn’t that bad, you know, for jail. But I mean, because I’ve pretty much been staying in the studio and a little bit with Zach [Hill], I have all of this time to just sit….”

Don’t worry Marnie! Downloading (or even uploading) movies in the United States is a civil issue (as long as you stay away from still-in-theater movies and pre-air TV shows), so you can relax – you won’t be going to jail for it. In the unlikely event that you’re caught in the act, you might get a notice from your Internet Service Provider demanding that you don’t do it again. In reality, this is usually as far as things go.

When asked about her favorite TV show, Marnie comes back to BitTorrent. “House! Now let me tell you, I missed three of the episodes– hello torrent! You just download them right away.”

Maybe Marnie will be automating everything in future after reading one of our guides.


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