The Usenet is entirely legal. In fact, to make this as simple as possible: you should compare the Usenet to your general internet use. Just like the internet, access to it is completely legal, although there are some parts of it that are indeed illegal. Ultimately, it is the way you behave on the Usenet that dictates whether your practices are legal or not.
Having said that, if you want to access the Usenet simply for its primary purpose – to communicate with others by reading and commenting on posts – then there’s absolutely zero problem in doing so. However, since the Usenet is built around the downloading and uploading of files it has become a fertile ground for a lot of copyright material, such as music, movies, pictures and much more. Downloading simple text files and responding to them is fine, but when it comes to copyright content and its distribution then it obviously becomes illegal.
The creation of a sub-hierarchy alt.binaries quickly became the main way of spreading copyrighted data attachments like these, which ultimately began to connect Usenet with illegality, however wrong that may be. Also, the fact that no content on the Usenet is censored creates opportunities for the spread of illegal content worse even than copyright infringement that you should stay definitely away from. As no Usenet provider can act as your personal police officer, many of them they add VPNs to the deal and let you navigate freely so long as you don’t get the company whose provider you’re using a DMCA strike notice.
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