Is It Illegal To Watch Movies Online?

Is It Illegal To Watch Movies Online

With the fast rise of the internet and the creation of online content, getting access to the movie of your choice comes with ease. You can comfortably stream movies with any of your devices, phones, laptops, smart televisions, tablets, etc. from almost anywhere in the world. Streaming movies from the comfort of your home is more affordable and relaxing than in public, film houses, cinemas, etc.

Now, is it illegal to watch movies online?

Due to the increased percentage of users streaming movies online, it is safe to ask is it illegal to watch movies online. Is it similar to gambling online for real money? Watching movies online can both be illegal and legal, depending on the site you use in streaming movies. If you are watching movies from a website that does not have the authorization to display that movie, it becomes illegal streaming, and you will face prosecution if caught. However, streaming videos from sites and companies that have copyright licenses to broadcast movies or that specific movie are not illegal.

Keep reading for more top information on watching movies online!

How To Watch Movies Legally Online

The act of watching a video online is not illegal in itself. However, some factors make it legal or illegal. Just like purchasing movies from your local distributor is not unlawful, but can be unlawful if you are buying from an unauthorized distributor. The same thing applies to stream movies online. Here are a few tips to help you watch movies legally online.

Watch from licensed websites or companies: 

Most movies are under the covering of copyright infringement law. These laws help the owners to protect their movies from theft or illegal use. Using a content becomes illegal if you were using the content when you are not the owner or do not have a copyright to that content.

You can only watch movies legally online from websites or companies that have the authority to broadcast that movie. Anything outside it amounts to illegality, and you may have to face the full swing of the law.

Watch from the assigned website or company: 

Sometimes, movie producers produce and assign their movies to some specific sites to broadcast it first before they give viewing rights to other websites. Some movies might not be open for public broadcasting, maybe to stop piracy.

It means that you can only watch the movie legally from the specific websites and companies that they assigned to. Watching from the primary source is not illegal, but viewing it from third-party sites that might have copied it from the primary website is unlawful and might lead to your arrest.

Have a viewing license: 

Viewing license is not for only websites and companies. You can have a viewing license that permits you to stream some movies online. You can obtain a viewing license by subscribing to some movie channels, websites, companies, etc.

Watching Movies Online Can Be Illegal

There is an increase in the industries that specialize in enabling users the benefit of streaming videos online. Companies such as Netflix and the likes give you the privilege of watching many of your favorite TV programs and movies. You watch by subscribing to their channel.

These streaming companies and websites invest lots of money and energy to acquire copyright authorization to avoid copyright infringement. However, some companies and websites broadcast and also grant people the privilege of watching movies without having the right to do so.

You might call it bootlegging, internet crime, piracy, but it all sums up to one word, which is illegal. Watching movies from these sites or subscribing to these types of companies to stream movies is considered to be unlawful and risky because you might be arrested and charged with copyright infringement.

Copyright infringement is a significant concern to authorities, especially in the entertainment industry. It is because the internet is wild, easily accessible, and complex in identifying the rightful owner of the content. Thus, piracy is on the rise. You would be shocked at the number of illegal videos broadcasted by many websites. It explains why authorities are strict with copyright policies and internet crime.

Internet crime is not only applicable to the website broadcasting a movie that they do not have the copyright license. It is also relevant to the individual watching a film from a website that does not have the permission to do. The charge placed on the individual will be according to the infringement law if found guilty.

The penalty fee for illegal use of the content for those streaming the video ranges from $500 to $50,000. However, there are speculations that politicians, actors, musicians, etc. are insisting that jail times would be appropriate for violating the infringement policy. So if anyone is found guilty according to law, that person will pay a fine and still serve the term of imprisonment.

The Dynamics To Illegal Streaming Of Videos

Piracy has been a contending issue since the onset of entertainment and media. Diverse ideas have come up on how to tackle piracy once and for all. One of the outstanding ideas is the implementation of putting copyright infringement penalties at the start of every movie.

The action has been in use since 1980 and aims at making the public aware of the crime and penalties if found guilty. It also helps to notify any excuse from a perpetrator in the law court.

It means that you are not entitled to any excuse if found guilty as charged. Being guilty, as discussed earlier, includes watching movies from an illegally authorized website or online company. You might be in awe as to how the authorities in charge of copyright infringement might discover your location. Don’t be surprised because your IP address automatically saves a record of all your activities online.

Your internet provider has access to the information stored in your IP. The report includes your device name, the site you visited, your activities online such as streaming videos, playing music, etc.

In affiliation with service providers, copyright infringement authorities can quickly locate you if you were found guilty. In most cases, the information obtained from your IP address will appear in court as evidence, and they end up seizing your device.

How To Avoid Watching Movies Online From Illegal Websites And Companies

Given the fact that streaming movies online illegally can be costly in terms of prosecution, however, there are preventive steps you can take to help you avoid watching movies illegally online. The precautionary measures are as follow

Search for the website authorization: 

To avoid spending unnecessary fines and jail time for illegal streaming of videos, take time to search about the website you are about to watch the movie from. You can surf the net in search of their authorization rights. If you could not locate it on the website, try searching on Google. Make sure you have a validation before proceeding with watching the movie.

Check for viewing rights: 

Viewing rights might be either for the website or the movie in particular. Some sites that engage in multiple services might have the right to broadcast a specific film. In such cases, you can watch the movie without getting charged for copyright infringement.

Some websites that specialize in viewing movies alone might have a general viewing right that permits them to broadcast almost all movies. Though they have these rights, some movies require individual viewing rights before you can be allowed to air them.

One has to be careful and diligent as not to fall victim to authorities. Check if the website has the right to broadcast that movie, or they have the right to view the movies that cover all movies. It is always displayed at the start of the movie or in the movie catalog.

Check for movie description: 

Some movies might be new and not yet authorized for third parties to display it. Some of these movies include blockbusters, TV series, etc.

Some websites go to the length of copying the movies from an authorized site or company and post the copied content to satisfy users and make a profit. Although this step helps to spread the popularity and fame of the movie, however, it is bad business for the owners because they receive any income gotten from the copied content. So because a website has a movie you’ve been searching for does not guarantee that they have the authority to broadcast it.


We strongly believe that you find herein the answer to the question, is it illegal to watch movies online? We understand that streaming movies online can be both legal and illegal. You can easily engage in illegal watching of movies online if you watch movies haphazardly from any website. The penalties for violating the copyright policies can be very grace, thus, you should take all necessary precautions.

It explains why you need to exercise caution so as not to be a victim of copyright infringement.

It also provides tips on how to watch movies legally online, leaving the benefit to you. Henceforth, falling victim to illegal watching of movies online is all dependent on you.

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