It’s NOT unless you use safety pre-cautions
123Movies is a streaming site from Vietnam that allows users to watch movies online. The site was once one of the most popular websites for streaming movies but recently has faced legal action that has led to its stagnation.
Today, website operates as a network of sites with some having direct affiliation to 123Movies while others run as mirror sites to the video content, streaming movies, and television series.
Beware! 123Movies is NOT safe
Is 123Movies a safe site for streaming the latest movies, series, and video content?
The brief answer is NO.
It’s common that you can get viruses and malware by using the site. This is the case for both the website and the mobile app. There are clone sites that have been developed to mimic 123Movies, but these fake ones are mainly used to share malware. It’s smart to avoid these.
There are countless users who have had a bad experience with this and looking up “123Movies virus/is 123Movies safe” can share enough evidence on the same. You can conduct the same search on Reddit.
Watch out for 123Movies dangers!
Potential legal repercussions
Users who access the site and stream copyrighted movies and other video content can be faced with stiff fines. This is for most countries around the world.
Some countries like Spain, Poland, and Switzerland still even allow downloading copyrighted content for personal use.
Accessing the site and streaming movies using a VPN can protect your privacy from anyone including shady site owners and criminals who try to spread malware and viruses.
Most lawmakers focus on the sites themselves and not the users. They seek to kill off the source and not the multiple users of the sites.
But there are cases where authorities have sought out one individual user to make an example of.
Hacking and viruses
How can you be sure if it is free from viruses while using it? You should note that the website itself can serve as a platform where cybercriminals infect the user’s device to obtain their personal information for bad reasons.
There is the threat of “drive-by attack” where the user only has to visit the pages and fall victim to unauthorized malware.
Criminals could plant malicious script into the HTTP or PHP code on websites that are not secured, such as mirror sites. The visitors of these sites would hopefully fall to the mercy of the virus protection on their device.
Other methods used are prompting the user to create an account or provide financial information to legitimize the streaming services.
Users of 123Movies then run the risk of both the downloaded movies and malicious ads.
The risk is too great, and there are similar sites like Putlocker and CouchTuner that offer a safe alternative to 123Movies.
Is it illegal to use 123Movies?
Most of these free movie streaming services such as 123 Movies host unauthorized streams to shows and movies. It is not technically illegal to use these sites in certain countries, but they are unsafe as they harbor malicious content.
Streaming copyrighted content
In the US, there a large grey legal area on the issue. Simply watching pirated movies and shows is not illegal. Creators of video content under the Copyright Act of 1976 have been given “exclusive rights” to make copies of their work, distribute it, and perform it.
In this same act, the interpretation holds that the person who is just watching the unlicensed content may not break any laws. The platform that has uploaded this unlicensed content is legally liable.
However, according to criminal defense attorney Matt Huppertz in Waukesha, Wisconsin, you could face a fine of $750 or more f you’re caught illegally streaming videos online.
Downloading, sharing, and peer-to-peer streaming of unlicensed content
The grey legal area in streaming does not exist in downloading the same content. In the United States, this is explicitly illegal, and there have been numerous counts of prosecution, both criminally and civilly.
Downloading of movies and shows infringes on the exclusive rights of the copyright owner provided in the Copyright Act. As a person streaming movies never actually makes copies of the content, it is then not violating this copyright act.
Downloading movies on 123 Movies is therefore making copies of the content and an infringement of the owner’s copyright.
Has 123movies.com been shut down before?
The original website was taken down in 2018 by Vietnamese authorities. The shuttered site, however, is still able to redirect users to new file-sharing sites. Dozens of copycat sites had sprung up in the place after it was shut down.
123movies (also known as GoMovies, GoStream, MeMovies, or 123movieshu) launched in 2015 and has been shut down only once.
How to unblock 123movies?
To unblock 123Movies you would have to override ISP’s domain restrictions.
One of the ways that users get access to 123Movies is by unblocked proxy. With this proxy, technically anyone could visit it from all around the world.
The unblocked proxy is however unsafe for most users because while proxy changes IP address, it leaves every other breadcrumb behind. Using a VPN to access the site and stream movies is considered a safer way.
Below is a shortlist of the best VPNs to use when visiting the 123Movies site:
• ExpressVPN: this VPN has servers in 160+ locations and 94+ countries. It has over 2000+ servers to keep the user from any bandwidth limitations. It uses the OpenVPN protocol with AES 256-bit encryption. ExpressVPN is 123Movies friendly and probably the best choice, yet it charges a premium monthly subscription fee of US $12.95 and $8.32 for a 1-year subscription. It has a strict no-logging policy and can support three simultaneous connections.
• NordVPN: It has 5700 servers that are located in more than 60+ countries. This VPN can also be used in China. Has high-end internet security and encryption with the use of Ikev2/IPsec and AES-256-GCM encryption. NordVPN can be used on Windows, macOS, Android, Linux, and Apple platforms. It has a monthly subscription fee of $11.95 and a 3-year subscription of $2.99 and can support a maximum of six devices.
• Surfshark: This VPN can be found in more than 1040+ locations across 61+ countries. Offers high-end encryption by using the OpenVPN protocol with AES 256-BIT encryption. Surfshark VPN has a strict no-logs policy and unlimited bandwidth. The VPN is 123Movies friendly and can be tested out using its 30-day money-back guarantee.
To stream movies on the site, use the following steps:
i. Download any of the VPNs mentioned above
ii. Connect to a server
iii. Delete cookies and unblock 123Movies from any location.
No penalties due to using a VPN
The use of VPNs has grown in popularity around the globe. People have opted for their use encrypt their internet traffic, hide their user IP addresses, and unblocking content. Perhaps you may be hesitant to use VPNs when streaming movies with the concern of their legality. For the most part, the use of a VPN is legal and safe (with exceptional countries). Some countries have restricted the use of a VPN yet kept them legal.
In this paragraph, we will go through 3 countries: the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.
The United States
The use of VPNs is legal in the United States. Even though the US government will not actively censor its citizen’s internet usage, that has been numerous reports on online surveillance by its agencies. Laws on online privacy may, however, differ from state to state.
The United Kingdom
In the United Kingdom, all online activity night be monitored under the Investigatory Powers Act. The VPN companies that are based in the UK could be subject to the same data retention regulations that are mandated on the country’s Internet Service Providers. Even with these online restriction laws, the use of VPNs in the United Kingdom remains legal.
Using a VPN in Canada is legal. There have been discussions in the past about blocking or restricting their use, but this has not happened. Telecommunication giants such as Rogers have pushed for the restriction of their use.
Mirror 123Movies websites
With the growing issue of accessing 123Movies, solutions for streaming movies have been found. The two solutions to this are the use of a VPN service and a proxy site. We have touched on the use of VPN, and now we will list several proxy sites that can be used to stream movies.
Proxy sites clone the original website, 123Movies proxy sites have the same database as the original site. The same official team of 123Movies manages these proxies and as such, has the same video content.
They are mostly temporary as the ISP will identify and block them, but others will come up in their place.
The official new site name is 123movies-to.org. However, alternatives are quite similar by domain and differ only by a few characters and domain extensions. Below are some of 123Movies proxy websites that are currently active:
Here’s what we like
Streaming movies on the 123Movies site is seamless with great video and audio quality. The user interface is easy to navigate with a wide array of content, as they offer a large array of movies, TV shows, music, and games.
A nice perk is the ability to request for movies that aren’t on their list and find them uploaded after some time.
The proxy sites are not bombarded with numerous ads and therefore improving the user experience.
Sites like 123movies
In 2020, several free streaming services are available to you. These streaming services are legal in most of the countries and will not expose you to malware.
• Hoopla – this is arguably the best all-round free movie streaming service. You will need to have a library card to use it, but this will grant you access to a library of movies and shows. This service is better than most paid streaming services.
• Locast – we regard this as the best value of any of the services in our list. With Locast, you can stream entirely for free all your local channels. It is then possible to watch the local news, the NFL, and all major awards show without having to use sketchy pirate sites.
• Pluto TV – with Pluto TV, you can watch live TV without having a TV subscription. The service will offer you hundreds of channels that are focused on news, entertainment, and sports. You can also watch thousands of Pluto’s movies and shows anytime on demand.
• Kanopy – This service also requires you to have a library card but has one of the best movie selections of both paid and free services. Amazingly it has more movies in IMDb’s top 250 list than Netflix, Hulu, and Prime Video.
• Tubi – this movie streaming service has more than 19,000 movies and shows in its library, giving its user plenty of options. Tubi specializes in action and horror movies, but there are also several classic movies from years gone past. A good option as 123movie alternative.
• Roku TV – this streaming service can only be used on Roku streaming platforms and devices. The channel has a great collection of 90s movie that is definitely worth the watch.
• IMDb TV – this is a smaller service in comparison to the others on the list with just 340 movies in its library. However, these are almost all movies that you have heard of. It also has a quality selection of shows such as Mad Men and Schitt’s Creek.