A Review of 123Movies
123Movies is almost sure to come up for anyone looking for a free movie streaming site online. It’s 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. The MPAA also targeted 123Movies (also operating under GoMovies, 123MoviesHub, and others), and listed 123 Movies as the most popular illegal movie site in the world.
The MPAA estimates that 123 Movies sees 98+ million visitors per month, which is exceptionally 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 work to initiate a crackdown against streaming sites, it’s highly likely that at least some of those sites could eventually go offline. It should also be expected that the C44 will turn the logs over to authorities in the USA.
123 Movies Doesn’t Upload Content
While a large number of users brought significant public attention to 123 Movies, the site does not appear to actually have any pirated material. None of the 123Movies websites seem to host content, and none of them allow user-uploaded content.
In the Western world, this makes very little difference in the eyes of the law as the site is considered to be facilitating piracy. But websites like 123Movies very rarely operate in the Western world. Instead, they are almost always found to be based, or have a front, in 3rd world countries. Or, at least, with countries that are not the most up to date on copyright laws. These countries may not view linking to pirated content as harshly as countries like the United States.
The above tactic doesn’t make them immune, but it does buy them time with each site that they put up. Unfortunately, it does nothing to protect you from liability when you knowingly watch or download pirated HD movies online.
How Does 123 Movies Work?
123 Movies typically embeds popular videos and movies from cyberlockers around the web, allowing them to host content from Netflix, Amazon Prime, cam rips, and DVD ripped content directly from piracy sites. Because 123 Movies has a wide selection of movies available for free and without registration, and doesn’t typically have to host any of their content, it has become one of the largest movie streaming sites online.
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 a Kodi box or Roku, it might be tempting to try to download the app to see if you can stream movies right to your tablet or television.
With the proliferation of fake apps and Android malware, it’s essential that you exercise caution, research apps you download, and only download legitimate apps.
After downloading and reviewing the 123 Movie App APK, we concluded 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. Because it may infect your phone, downloading the app is a risk. 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 nearly free, consider signing up for legit movie streaming sites like Amazon Video, Netflix, and Hulu as they all have a 30-day free trial. 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 draws 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 that they aren’t 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.