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123Movies Free & Legal Streaming Sites in 2022

Isn’t it true that the way we watch television shows and movies has changed dramatically in recent years? To view a movie in the past, you had to go to the theater or have a satellite TV subscription with a film package. This, however, is no longer the case!

Streaming sites have exploded in popularity in recent years. Take a look at Netflix’s popularity to understand what I mean.

However, not everyone wants to pay to see a movie online. The good news is that there are a few free internet streaming platforms to choose from, one of which is 123Movies. Is it, however, legal? Should you take advantage of it? Or are there better options available? Continue reading to learn everything there is to know about this platform, as well as my top recommendations for how to use it.

What is 123Movies?

123Movies has gone under a few different names. 123Movieshub, MeMovies, GoStream, and GoMovies are all examples of this. It was a network of file-streaming websites that allowed consumers to watch movies for free. It was based in Vietnam.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) declared it the “most popular illegal site” in the world a few years ago. After a criminal inquiry, it was shut down by Vietnamese authorities a few weeks later.

You might be asking why I’m even mentioning 123Movies now that it’s been shut down. The network is still functioning, nevertheless, thanks to clone websites.

When 123Movies was at its peak, the website was visited by 98 million individuals every month from a variety of countries. To put this in perspective, 123Movies had more visitors than The New York Times, CNN, and Etsy combined!

Even though the original website was taken down by Vietnamese authorities, copyright enforcement in the digital age is akin to the well-known game of whack-a-mole.

Websites that have been shut down tend to redirect people to new sites for file-sharing, meaning that investigators are always one step behind. Just a few months after the original 123Movies website closed, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) revealed that more than 12 different copycat websites had cropped up.

But, are you breaking the law by using 123Movies?

It all depends on how you intend to use the service. Streaming on 123Movies is not technically illegal. However, if you share something or download something, which is typically required at many free streaming websites, you are breaking the law and could face civil or criminal consequences.

Of course, you should not consider anything I say to be legal advice. I’m not a lawyer, after all! Nonetheless, after conducting extensive research on the matter, it is evident that a variety of circumstances would decide if you were breaching the law on 123Movies.

Why do you need a VPN if you’re going to use 123Movies

If you’re going to watch movies on 123Movies, you’ll need a VPN. Despite the popularity of 123Movies, the legal issues that have been reported in the past emphasized the importance of using a VPN when visiting any of the cloned 123Movie websites.

You have no means of knowing if the clone sites are legitimate. It has been reported that some of them host malware and viruses, which could infect your device and cause catastrophic damage.

This is why using a VPN, such as NordVPN or ExpressVPN, is a good idea. Both are excellent choices.

Your IP address will be protected if you use a VPN. This gives you some protection when you’re on the internet. It also implies that you’ll be able to overcome any geo-blocking limitations, allowing you to watch the movies you desire.

While there are many different VPNs available, NordVPN is without a doubt one of my favorites. Plus, because it comes with a 30-day free trial, you can try it out without risking any money, allowing you to see if it is the right fit for you.

There are several other reasons why you should use a VPN while visiting a website like this. This includes the current use of strong encryption by VPNs.

Many of today’s top VPNs include malware and virus protection, ensuring your safety if you visit any streaming website with intrusive advertisements and pop-ups, or even viruses that could harm your computer. Without VPN protection, I strongly advise you not to visit 123Movies.

The legalities of 123Movies are related to your location

It’s important to remember that each country has its own set of rules and regulations. Because different places have adopted different approaches to copyright infringement and piracy, it’s a good idea to check the legislation in your nation before visiting a site like 123Movies. The laws of one country may differ significantly from those of another.

The stance on piracy around the world

I did some research to learn more about how different countries see piracy and what rules and regulations they have in place. Again, you should never consider my counsel to be legal advice. Legislation is constantly changing. This, on the other hand, can help you gain a better grasp of how piracy is seen and dealt with on a global basis.

  • Pirating is allowed or legal for personal use in Switzerland, Spain, and Poland.
  • Pirating is against the law in the United States, South Africa, Russia, Portugal, Latvia, Japan, Italy, Great Britain, Germany, France, Finland, China, and Australia.
  • Pirating is against the law but people are not actively prosecuted in Uruguay, Slovenia, Slovakia, Singapore, Romania, Philippines, Netherlands, Mexico, Iran, Israel, India, Greece, Egypt, Denmark, Czech Republic, Colombia, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina.

Are there any legal consequences should you using 123Movies?

When it comes to streaming, as I just indicated, there are different restrictions in effect depending on the country. Not only do these countries have various rules, but they also have varied sanctions and repercussions for those who do not follow them.

For example, in some countries, downloading copyrighted content will result in nothing more than a slap on the wrist. People who are found downloading copyrighted content in areas like Germany, on the other hand, face harsh fines.

It’s even more difficult to prosecute when using streaming services because there are no files left on the computer after someone has watched a stream. Your IP address can, of course, be easily traced. However, for further security, everyone should install a VPN on their computer.

It truly depends on where you live in terms of how the government handles situations like these. In certain countries, there is little effort placed into ensuring that the rules are observed. Furthermore, in certain places, authorities are more concerned with pursuing the individuals responsible for the content dissemination rather than individual viewers. At the same time, if you live in a country that takes this seriously and you’ve been watching streams you shouldn’t have been, you could face a hefty fine.

Advice on watching 123Movies safely

Because 123Movies is illegal in many parts of the world, I must emphasize that I cannot condone its use in any jurisdiction where it is prohibited. Nonetheless, several countries allow the usage of streaming services, but others only allow it for personal use. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are aware of the local rules.

Make sure you use a VPN to protect yourself from bad site hosts, viruses, and prying eyes in countries where you can view 123Movies. I also recommend investing in antivirus software for further protection.

You will be adequately secured against any snooping site administrators and viruses if you utilize a VPN and antivirus software. However, as previously stated, you must ensure that you are familiar with local laws before using any type of streaming website.

Can 123Movies cause any damage to my computer?

Because there are so many copied versions of the 123Movies website, one of them probably contains spyware or viruses. These viruses could corrupt your device through ad pop-ups or malicious links.

This highlights why you should never access a site without having a VPN turned on. One of the reasons why I highly rate NordVPN is because the service also includes malware and an ad blocker.

What are some legal alternatives to 123Movies?

If you don’t want to utilize 123Movies, several other free streaming providers are safer, both in terms of following the law and avoiding malware infection.

Here are a few of the greatest alternatives:

  • Hoopla – This is a great free streaming service, yet you do need a library card to use Hoopla. With this card, you will get access to a huge range of movies and shows. It can rival a lot of paid streaming platforms!
  • Locast – In terms of value, you will struggle to find better than Locast. Local channels can be streamed free of charge. This means you can watch everything from major award ceremonies to the local news and live sports.
  • IMDb TV – While IMDb TV does have a small library, you can view some of the most popular movies here. There are currently over 340 movies and there are also some entire TV series for free, such as Lost and Mad Men.
  • Roku Channel – You are only going to be able to stream this via Roku web browsers and streaming devices, yet there is a great range of some classic ‘90s movies if you’re interested.
  • Tubi – Tubi is a free service that provides you with a lot of different options, as there are over 19,000 shows and movies within the library. Tubi is especially good if you like horror movies and action films. You can also find a good range of classic television shows – great for a blast from the past!
  • Pluto TV – If you’re looking for ways to watch live television without a subscription, there are more than 100 channels on Pluto TV for the likes of sports, entertainment, and news. There are also plenty of films to choose from too!
  • Kanopy – Finally, Kanopy is another service that requires a library card, yet it is worth it. It has more films in the top 250 list on IMDb than Hulu, Prime Video, and Netflix.

I hope this has provided you with a better understanding of how to utilize 123Movies. It depends on where you are in the world, and regardless of the streaming service you use, a VPN is always recommended. There are plenty of alternative streaming services available that do not carry the same risks as 123Movies, so I recommend giving one of them a try!