How to Know if a Movie, TV Streaming Website is Legal or not?

How to Know if a Movie, TV Streaming Website is Legal or not?
5 (100%) 1 vote

Even though we live in a world where a movie, tv shows, and sports streaming became even more popular than watching television or going to the cinema. There are still some issues that could give us different approach and perspective to this particular industry.

It is never been easier to stream movies online from your computer or mobile app as it is now. But the question is whether the service you are using is legal or not. I have a list of what I consider to be the best free online movies that are completely legal

are streaming sites legal

How to determine whether the streaming site is legal or not?

When you find a free streaming website and you want to know whether it is legal or not, there are few things that you might consider before you start using that site.

Of course, you have to understand that these tips won’t help you ultimately determine whether the website contains pirated content, but it will show you some clues that will help you to know about.

You can see from where they are getting their movies

When you enter the online movie website, they either have permission to show those movies, or they show those that are under public domain. There are cases when film studio will grant permission to a streaming movie website to use their films and shows.

Maybe they have affiliate contract, or the website is paying studio the rights to use their films. For example, movie apps for android like Popcornflix has movies from Screen Media Ventures and Crackle from Sony Pictures.

On the other hand, some movies became common property, and no one has rights to copyright so that anyone could share it legally. You will find older movies, such as classic from the ’40s and 50s, where streaming movies can easily stream them because they fall under public domain such as Public Domain Torrents and Retrovision.

The first thing that you want to look when you enter an unknown website is section “About Us” where you will be able to find any information how they are getting movies and where from. There is maybe a link at the bottom of the homepage where you can find this information.

Legal free streaming websites make money through ads

Most free streaming websites have to earn money for giving you the possibility to watch free movies. In most cases, they earn money through advertisements, especially if they don’t charge for a subscription fee.

You can watch ads through click ads or as periodic commercials during the TV show or movie that you are watching. You will be able to see ads on numerous free streaming websites that are entirely legal such as Yidio, Viewster, and SnagFilms.

Legal Streaming Websites must have contact information

In case that you want to use free streaming website that is legitimate, they will have nothing to hide. Therefore, you will be able to see thin category sections such as About Us and Contact Us, or something similar. When you find an email address that is another proof that the website is legitimate.

You cannot find new movies as it is released

This is another proof that free movie streaming website is legitimate. In case that you see only older videos, that are few decades old, and then there are good chances that site is legal. However, if you see some movie that is still in theaters or ones that were just released on BlueRay or DVD, then it is not legitimate.

It is very rare for some website to gain permission to present and upload shows that are still in theaters, which means that is not legal.

You can install mobile application

In all cases, free movie streaming websites that have certified mobile app that you can download on Google Play or Apple Store, then you have the right one without any additional doubt. You can watch whatever you want without thinking about what would happen.

The reason for that is because App Store and Play Store will not permit the pirated streaming app to exist in their database and store.

are streaming sites legal

How online streaming works?


What happens when you watch pirated movie on a streaming website?

As we have mentioned above, there are many ways to determine whether some website is legitimate or not, however, the reason why we want to differentiate these two because you can get in serious violation of the law.

Ultimately speaking, everyone who accesses the pirate site and its content is involving himself in unlawful behavior and therefore putting money in the hands of people who work outside the law.

During the past times, some listeners were fined for streaming music download apps and illegally download it from websites, but soon afterward musicians abandoned this particular strategy. They decided to create a legitimate site like Spotify for people to listen and to pay for it.

However, when it comes to TV and movies, in Britain, for example, no one has ever paid any fine for watching pirated content. The reason for that is because the strategy of officials is not to prosecute people who are streaming from their homes, but people who disrupt and defraud creative industries by stealing their content.

Therefore you have to note this important fact: Authorities are trying to catch people who distribute pirated content, and not those who watch it.

ISP and copyright law

On the other hand, the main problem is that your ISP will be aware of problems and issues. Copyright Alert System is something that most ISPs like Verizon and Comcast signed, and therefore they are persecuting consumers who are suspected of watching and illegally downloading pirated content.

They provide warnings if any problem is detected, and therefore, your ISP and industry warning system will notify you when you are suspected of downloading free movies, TV shows, or music. After 2008, RIAA decided to stop suing individuals who watched pirated content, but they decided to start issuing warnings and create a standard that all ISPs will follow.

You have to understand that ISP will not track your entire internet activity. However, if you download or distribute file through peer-2-peer networks such as Torrent, that data will contain IP address that will lead them to your account. Therefore, technology can quickly identify who uploaded content, and soon as they find out, they will contact your ISP with all information and IP address.

First, they will issue a complaint then an online alert through email, which means that they will tell you that account is used for illegal content. If you continue doing that, they will send you more alerts. After six strikes, they can take action.

Based on Digital Millennium Copyright Law every ISP has to terminate the account with the subscriber in case that he takes advantage of the law. Therefore, the copyright holder will sue you for downloading and ISP will terminate you from them because they don’t want to get involved in your activity. It is simple as that.

So, is it illegal to watch streaming movies online?

When you stream unlicensed content, then you have entered the world of crime, but outside of these examples, streaming is entirely legal. Most online streaming websites like Hulu try to provide all information on content and their legal issues so that you can have faith in them.

On the other hand, choosing a website that doesn’t have precise information on where they get content and from whom could lead to a warning from ISP. Therefore, we recommend you to use certified streaming websites and services where you can enjoy an excellent quality, perfect interfaces and what is most important, legitimate content as much as you can.

Leave a Reply