123Movies: Is It Safe and Legal in 2023? (Plus Best Alternatives)

Ruheni Mathenge  - Streaming Expert
Last updated: September 12, 2023
Read time: 14 minutes Disclosure

This article uncovers if 123Movies is safe to use and legal today. We also explore watching content securely on it alongside its best alternatives.

It was a well-known streaming website allowing users to watch and download their favorite films and TV shows for free. However, the original site was shut down due to copyright infringement issues. Yet, some unauthorized mirror sites do exist that are now gaining popularity, offering the same content. Nevertheless, accessing third-party hosted websites may indulge you in legal and cybersecurity-related problems. This guide particularizes how to safely access 123Movies and some legal alternatives available today.

123Movies was a popular free streaming website for movies and TV shows. However, the authorities closed it down because of copyright issues in 2018. That prompted numerous mirror/clone sites to emerge.

Sadly, some free movie streaming sites have dangerous malware and viruses embedded that can steal your private data or damage your device. You should use a VPN when accessing 123Movies clones and similar sites. Doing so will also enable you to bypass geo-restrictions to access your favorite content from anywhere. This article will examine the site’s legality, consequences, how to stay safe, alternatives, and more.

Is it safe to use 123Movies?

The level of protection associated with 123Movies relies on the mirror you opt for. After the takedown of the original 123Movies website, accessing it is only possible through duplicated versions, commonly referred to as “mirrors.”

Using third-party-hosted 123 Movies mirrors carries potential hazards, as their owners might insert harmful code into the website, leading to malware infecting your device. Moreover, these mirror sites often feature intrusive ads and pop-ups.

Unfortunately, numerous online mirrors pose significant security risks. For your safety, we advise avoiding 123Movies mirrors. Instead, explore our list of safe and tested 123Movies alternatives covered later in this article.

The safest way to access 123movies and stream content from its clones online is to use a VPN. A VPN masks your IP address, which lets you bypass geo-restrictions and access content safely.

A quick guide to safely accessing 123Movies worldwide

The website is illegal to use in some countries, but accessing it can still pose risks even in jurisdictions where it is technically legal. Here are safe steps to stream content on it in 2023 if your jurisdiction allows using it:

  1. Use a trustworthy VPN such as ExpressVPN. NordVPN is also a good choice.
  2. Use robust antivirus software that offers web protection alongside keeping your VPN connected. We recommend Norton 360.
  3. Finally, be careful to visit only the legitimate 123Movies website or its credible mirror websites.

Disclaimer: Accessing the 123Movies website to watch movies and TV shows may technically be illegal in certain jurisdictions. It offers a vast collection of TV series and movies for free. But all without proper licensing agreements with the respective content owners. We strongly advise our readers to check their local laws before accessing or using any such website. The information provided here is solely for educational and informational purposes. We never encourage or condone illegal activities. You may access this website to stream movies at your own risk. We shall not be held responsible for any legal consequences that may arise if you watch free content using 123 Movies, its clones, or alternatives.

Is 123Movies illegal?

There is no straightforward answer to this question. That is because every jurisdiction has its stand on copyrighted content. For example, many countries have strict laws prohibiting downloading or streaming copyrighted content to protect intellectual property. However, other regions allow it.

Therefore, you should check your country’s copyright infringement and privacy laws before accessing sites like 123Movies. The table below shows the general stance on piracy in different countries worldwide.

CountriesStand on piracy
Switzerland, Spain, and PolandPirating is permitted for personal use
China, United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, France, Finland, Japan, Italy, Russia, Portugal, Latvia, United States, and South AfricaPirating is prohibited
Czech Republic, Colombia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, India, Greece, Egypt, Denmark, Philippines, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovakia, Uruguay, and SloveniaPirating is illegal, but prosecution is not active

Remember that downloading and streaming copyrighted content is almost the same thing.

If you intend to use the source for watching movies online, look at it this way. It has to get downloaded in real-time and cleared from the cache when you leave the site to stream anything online.

However, the fact remains that you have already downloaded the content. This is like downloading a torrent and then immediately deleting it after watching.

Besides countries having different stances on copyrighted content, the consequences of breaking those rules differ. For example, you can get hefty fines or go to jail if caught downloading copyrighted content in Germany. On the other hand, you may only receive a warning in other countries.