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How to Avoid the Most Frequented Illegal Streaming Sources for Movies, Shows, Music, Games, and More

In today’s digital world, it’s easy to find places online to watch movies, shows, and more. However, amidst the convenience of online streaming, there’s a problem with illegal streaming sites. These sites not only break the rules by using content without permission, but they can also be risky for people who use them. Learn why these illegal sites are a problem, what risks they pose, and, most importantly, how to enjoy entertainment safely and legally. Whether you’re into movies, shows, music, or games, here at StreamSafely, we’ll show you how to make smart choices that protect your online streaming experience.

Common Questions About Online Streaming

Are Streaming Websites Illegal?

Yes and no. Watching your favorite movies, documentaries, and anime films online or listening to your favorite musician can be 100% legal or illegal—it just depends on what site you’re streaming from. If the website you’re using to watch the latest movies or live stream of your favorite sports doesn’t have the legal authority to stream that content, then the site is violating copyright laws, and the streaming website is illegal. However, if the site does have the legal authority to provide copyrighted content via online streaming, then the website is legal.

Is Using an Illegal Streaming Site Really Unsafe?

Yes. Illegal content, regardless of how it’s accessed (e.g. unauthorized site, streaming box, app, etc.), exposes the user to a host of potential hazards, including malware, fraud risk, malicious pop-ups, hacking, and potential legal trouble.

Which Free Streaming Site is the Best?

There are a number of 100% free streaming websites available, many of which provide high-quality content that ranges from public domain movies to free TV shows from years past. It’s hard to say what the best free streaming site is because it depends on what sort of online content you’re looking for, but some of the top free streaming services, include Tubi, Pluto TV, Roku Channel, Popcornflix, and IMDb TV. Most free streaming sites pay for their programming with ads, so the streaming experience is more like traditional TV. To watch your favorite online movies or TV series ad-free on a legal website will almost certainly require a subscription or fee.

How Do Piracy Sites Work?

Illegal streaming platforms can work in a variety of different ways. Some of them allow for illegal downloads or allow video streaming of television shows and movies directly from the site in violation of copyright laws. Some facilitate peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing between users that allows users to illegally bypass copyright holders’ claims to the content and their ability to monetize views or streams. Another common way illegal streaming sites work is to function as a search engine, so visitors to the site can search for content and find it on other servers to either stream or download. Usually, streamers of illegal content are required to watch ads to get to the illegal content, and the ad revenue goes to the site owners and advertisers. Oftentimes, the streaming quality is lower than with a legal streaming service.

Now that we’ve answered some questions about streaming sites, here are some of the most frequented illegal streaming sites, services, and apps.

Several websites advertise free content and appear authentic, yet are lacking proper copyright authorization. These sites often subject users to risks such as viruses, malware, credit card scams, and the sharing of user information with criminal groups, potentially resulting in identity theft. Safeguard both yourself and your devices by learning more about the notorious illegal streaming sites listed below.

123Movies

123Movies is a cost-free movie and television viewing site based in Vietnam, where it’s also technically legal. However, as a file sharing platform, 123Movies is notorious for being a distribution site for viruses and malware. The site is illegal in the United States and other countries, because the content being shared via their site is not licensed to be viewed there.

Area 51

Area 51 is an IPTV app that makes illegal content available to users. The app has faced legal trouble from the Netflix-, Disney-, Hollywood-driven MPAA, and the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), a global anti-piracy group. In addition to the illegality of some of Area 51’s offerings, users have been exposed to hacks, malware, and other online threats.

Chitram TV

Chitram TV is an IPTV that specializes in TV streaming, specifically, it illegally streams Indian TV channels and TV content outside of India. In December 2021, Chitram TV was ordered to pay $31 million to DISH Network for piracy and copyright infringement.

Flixtor

Flixtor, like many illegal streaming platforms, does not own the rights to distribute movies, documentaries, and television shows on its site. Because of this, it has been shut down many times, and its future is in doubt. Not only might Flixtor site operators face legal scrutiny, but anyone who streams content from Flixtor puts themselves at risk from a privacy and security standpoint.

Soap2day

Another common illegal streamer is soap2day.rs, which offers streaming of illegally obtained materials without any registration. The platform, despite its main issues over time, has been a fan favorite for many users. In 2020 the site was delisted from Google, with many speculating it was a result of their persistent copyright infringement. When using soap2day you’ll be subject to frequent pop-ups, that range from irrelevant to explicit.

FMovies

FMovies is another site that should definitely be avoided based on its hosting of illegally obtained content, including TV shows and movies. The site launched in 2016 and has been sued and switched domains to avoid being blocked multiple times over the years. As with many other piracy sites, annoying ads, broken links that lead you to other questionable sites, and suggestions to download that ultimately result in malware infecting your device are all common.

iStreamitAll

  • One of the largest piracy sites in the U.S. before it was shut down, the creator of iStreamitAll was recently handed a 57-month prison sentence and $1 million fine for the following:
  • money laundering
  • conspiracy to commit copyright infringement
  • criminal copyright infringement by distributing a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution
  • misdemeanor criminal copyright infringement by public performance
  • misdemeanor copyright infringement

Kodi

Kodi is a highly versatile app that can turn just about any connected device into a streaming hub. While it has many impressive features—it can support just about any audio or video file format, and once installed, users can use it to access any files stored on a device from another device—and it’s not in and of itself illegal, there are many Kodi add-ons that allow users to engage in illegal streaming. While Kodi is legal, using it to watch unauthorized and copyrighted content may open users up to a variety of risks, including malware that could be installed on or in other ways interfere with your device. The add-on developers who offer the content open themselves up to legal risks as well.

MediaBox HD

MediaBox HD is a website and an iOS and Android app that allow users access to a vast collection of TV series and online movies made available via torrenting or other direct sources, even legal sources like Netflix. The catch? Mediabox HD doesn’t always own the rights or have authorization to the content it provides for streaming or downloading.

Mobdro

Mobdro is a free streaming application that allows users to access a wide range of television shows, movies, sports events, and other content from around the world. However, it’s important to note that Mobdro’s safety for streaming has been a topic of concern. While it offers an extensive selection of content, its sources are often not officially licensed, which raises legal and security issues. The app’s reliance on third-party sources for content can expose users to potential risks, including malicious software, viruses, and invasive advertisements. Furthermore, the uncertain legality of the sources can lead to copyright infringement issues. The site has even been pursued criminally.

Moviesjoy

Free and illegal streaming site Moviesjoy offers pirated streaming content for free to users, who watch ads in exchange for content. It is illegal for Moviesjoy, as well as any other illegal platform, to stream content which they have not licensed. Thus, it is illegal to view, the content on Moviesjoy isn’t always secure. Ads on Moviesjoy often come from low-budget ad networks that promote bad information and misleading content to viewers.

Putlocker

Putlocker originally started back in 2011 in the UK, but the site has gone through various iterations over the years. Being a well-known piracy brand, these various site iterations have been seized and/or blocked in numerous countries. How does Putlocker work? Putlocker is both a streaming site for movies and TV shows and an online index.  At least one Putlocker user has been convicted of violating federal copyright law.

Roja Directa

Roja Directa (also known as Rojadirecta) has long been one of the most frequented sports streaming sites on the internet, but it has been embroiled in legal battles for years regarding links to live sports events provided on its platform that were not authorized. Streamers looking for live sports content have plenty of other options, including traditional television outlets and streaming services like fuboTV, Sling TV, ESPN+, and others.

Some IPTV Services

IPTV, or Internet Protocol Television, is television content that is delivered over IP networks as opposed to television content that is delivered over cable, satellite, or radio waves. Using IPTV can be done legally when watching free-to-air (FTA) content or paid subscription services like Max or Apple TV. However, when IPTV is used to stream illegal content, it is still an illegal and unsafe act as it can put your data and devices at risk.

The Pirate Bay

A peer-to-peer file sharing site that uses the BitTorrent protocol, The Pirate Bay (TPB) is an index of online content. It has been shut down many times and has faced plenty of legal trouble since its inception in 2003. In fact, the founders have all served jail time for copyright infringement. Today, The Pirate Bay is still in operation.

uTorrent

uTorrent is a free file-sharing software program used to download very large files. It is part of BitTorrent’s portfolio. While using uTorrent (and torrenting in general) is legal, any torrenting of unauthorized copyrighted material via uTorrent is illegal. Because internet service providers (ISPs) and copyright trolls routinely monitor peer-to-peer file-sharing sites like uTorrent, any copyrighted material that is shared could result in litigation. Also, while uTorrent is not a virus in and of itself, it has been a distribution source for malware, crypto mining software, and invasive advertisement, so it can have negative effects on users’ computers and other devices.

Vumoo

Vumoo functions as a search engine for illegal and pirated content. Many users access the files they receive from Vumoo via a virtual private network (VPN), which routes the user’s internet activity through an encrypted connection that keeps others from seeing their online behavior. While a VPN may offer Vumoo users some protection from litigation, even the best VPN can’t protect against viruses and malware, which can affect Vumoo users.

While this list is incomplete, and many of the sites listed here may come and go due to legal pressures in the future, the truth about illegal streaming sites remains the same. While it might seem appealing to watch movies and TV shows for free, the risks—legal trouble, malware, hacks, poor quality, viruses, etc.—are high. With so many good, free, and paid, legal alternatives available, there’s really no reason to run the risks required to view copyright-protected material over the internet. Check out our Legal Streaming Sources page for information on where you can watch free, legal content that won’t put you, your devices, or your legal future in jeopardy.

Streaming Devices that Can be Used to Watch Free and Paid Content

Whether you’re wanting to access a free TV streaming service or stream on-demand movies, you’re going to need a Wi-Fi- or internet-connected device to do so. Here is a list of some of the most popular devices you can use to stream free and paid content from the internet:

Smart TV

There are a lot of smart TVs on the market, including models made by Samsung, Philips, VIZIO, RCA, Sony, and LG. Keep in mind that to use an operating system like Android TV on your smart TV, you’ll need an additional device like an Android TV box or Nvidia Shield.

Gaming Consoles

Gaming consoles from companies like Xbox and PlayStation make it possible for gamers to play games online and to also stream their favorite movies, TV shows, live TV channels, and more.

Sticks and Boxes

There are a number of sticks and boxes that, when connected to a television or monitor, allow users to stream movies, television shows, music, and even games. Popular sticks and boxes include Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast with Google TV, and Roku. That being said, beware of boxes that look legitimate but aren’t.

Devices

Laptops, Desktops, and Mobile Devices. Streaming content is also available via different stream platforms on almost any connected computer, mobile phone, or tablet.

Look out for these devices!

This may look legitimate, but it is actually an illegal streaming box.

You plug it into your TV, monitor, or projector and watch shows and movies — but, it’s not what it seems. On top of being illegal, it may also corrupt your TV and wireless network with malware.

FAQs

Is it illegal to stream movies online? Streaming movies online can be either illegal or legal, depending on the site or service from which you stream. By watching movies from an unlicensed website, you are engaging in illegal streaming, which may result in financial risk, identity theft, and virus threats. A video stream from a site or company with a copyright license to broadcast a movie is legal.


Is 123movies illegal? Yes. 123movies is illegal in the United States. 123movies does not acquire copyright licenses for the content available on their websites. Even though they do not host this illegally acquired content on their site, it is still illegal to access it and could result in prosecution.


Is the Pirate Bay still working? Yes, the Pirate Bay is still working, but as an illegal torrenting site, it is not safe to use. Users are sometimes victims of malware, hacking, bloatware, and legal trouble. To access copyrighted material legally and safely, use a safe and legal streaming site.


Are illegal streaming sites safe? No. Illegal streaming sites can compromise users’ security and safety in a variety of ways, including identity theft, bloatware, malware, invasive ads, viruses, phishing scams, and more. There’s also always the potential for legal prosecution for those operating these types of sites. When providing illegal content online, sites open themselves up to a variety of penalties, including the site being shut down.


Are sites like 123Movies, Vumoo, and Moviesjoy illegal? Sites like 123Movies, Vumoo, and Moviesjoy are considered illegal as they offer copyrighted content without proper authorization. These sites host pirated movies and TV shows, constituting copyright infringement in most countries. It’s advisable to use legal streaming platforms to support creators and avoid legal and security risks.

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