A Review of 123Movies
Anyone looking for a free movie streaming site is almost certain to come across 123Movies, a website that offers free movies and TV streaming. With thousands of movies available for free streaming and download, 123 Movies is one of the largest sites of its kind, and you are likely wondering if you can use it legally or even safely.
Is 123 Movies Legal?
Absolutely not. In fact, on March 18th the Motion Picture Association of America published a new list of “notorious websites” that included piracy sites like the infamous Piratebay. 123Movies (also operating under GoMovies, 123MoviesHub, and others) were also targeted, and 123 Movies was listed as the most popular illegal movie site in the world. The MPAA estimates that 123 Movies sees 98+ million visitors per month, which is extremely high for an illegal streaming site. The MPAA also published that 123 Movies appears to be hosted in Vietnam, and that they are visiting and working with Vietnamese officials (the Office of the Police Investigation Agency C44) to attempt to take the notorious streaming site offline.
On the same day, 123Movies published a notice with a countdown of days remaining on the site. On April 3rd, that countdown was set to 5 days. That time has come and gone, and a quick search of the web will reveal that there are still half a dozen 123 Movies websites up.
While 123 Movies put this shutdown notice on one of their websites, it doesn’t seem likely they will be taking everything offline. Most of the 123Movies network is still up and running, and various sites for 123 Movies, 123 Movies Hub, and Go Hub are all readily available, some with multiple URLs and servers.
Does this mean they will stay online? Not necessarily. If 123 Movies really is based in Vietnam, and the C44 really work to initiate a crackdown against streaming sites, it’s highly likely that at least some of those sites could eventually go offline. It is also likely that the logs will be turned over to authorities in the USA.
123 Movies Doesn’t Upload Its Own Content
While 123 Movies has been brought to major public attention due to a large number of users, the sites may not actually be technically breaking the law. None of the 123Movies websites seem to host content and none of them allow user uploaded content. While 123Movies.to may point to upload content on separate servers, their websites may not actually be breaking the law. Why? It’s difficult to declare simply linking to content as being illegal, even when the content itself is illegal when you had no part in it being there. That could change, but for now, it’s a relatively grey area of the law that makes it difficult to prosecute the company for piracy. Instead, they’d have to go to court as sharing pirated content, which might only go through under the spirit but not the letter of anti-piracy laws.
How Do 123 Movies Work?
123 Movies typically embeds popular videos and movies from cyberblockers around the web, allowing them to host content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, cam rips, and DVD ripped content directly from piracy sites. This makes 123 Movies one of the largest movie streaming sites online because they don’t typically have to host any of their own content.
The 123Movies App
With a bit of quick searching you might see that there are multiple web pages dedicated to the 123 Movies App. If you own an Android device, especially a Roku or an Android tablet, it might be tempting to try to download the app to see if you can stream videos right to your tablet or television.
With the proliferation of fake apps and Android malware, it’s important that you exercise caution, research apps you download, and only download legitimate apps.
After downloading and reviewing the 123 Movie App APK, we came to the conclusion that you are better off skipping the download. Even if you don’t mind the fact that the movies and media on the site are primarily illegal, you are better off just visiting your browser. The app links to the mobile site, which means that it is the same experience as using a mobile browser.
In addition, there are numerous fake downloads, many of which are viruses. This means that downloading the app is a risk, because it may infect your phone. Not all versions are legit, and you may be installing ransomware or another form of Android Malware onto your phone. Skip it!
Viruses and Malware
What is the Verdict?
Sites like 123Movies are almost never legit and many of them are not safe to use. While you can choose to stream movies on them, it is important to keep in mind that it is almost definitely piracy. In most cases, any site that offers free streaming is piracy unless the movies are indie or old enough that they are in the public domain. A quick tell on any site is that if it features cam rips, the site is illegal.
If you want to stream movies for free, consider signing up for legit movie streaming sites like Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu for the 30-day free trial, and then discontinuing your subscription after the trial period is up. Most legitimate streaming sites start out at $9.99 per month as well, which can be very cost effective, even if your budget is low.
The MPAA likely isn’t doing anything new. Instead, they’ve released a new version of a document that’s been online for some time, calling attention to new websites that could be problematic. However, the list itself is problematic, as it calls attention to legitimate sites like Cloudflare, which are often used to provide anonymity to sites hosting pirated content.
Eventually, many sites like 123 Movies will go offline. However, it does appear that 123 Movies is staying online for now and aren’t actually deleting their entire network of streaming sites. If that changes, we will update here.
You can preempt the change by switching to a free and legit movie streaming site. However, no premium or free legal streaming site will offer new releases.