Is 123Movies safe and legal in 2022? What are good alternatives?

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: November 20, 2022 Read time: 12 minutes Disclosure

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

Sneak peek at 123Movies

123Movies 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 you can 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, which prompted the emergence of numerous mirror/clone sites.

Sadly, some of these sites are embedded with dangerous malware and virus that can steal your private data or damage your device. That is why you should protect your network with a VPN when accessing 123Movies clones and other similar sites. Also, it will enable you to bypass geo-restrictions to access your favorite content from anywhere. In this 123Movies safety review, we will look at the site’s legality, consequences, how to stay safe, alternatives, and much more. 

Our top 3 VPNs for 123Movies include

  1. NordVPN – Robust security features and fast-speed servers for a fascinating streaming experience.
  2. ProtonVPN – Impressive privacy measures and has a free plan with three servers and solid encryption.
  3. Surfshark – Budget-friendly plans and offers unlimited simultaneous connections, which means you can connect as many devices as you want.

Is 123Movies illegal?

There is no possible straight answer to this question. This 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 first check your country’s rules on copyright infringement and privacy laws before accessing sites like 123Movies. The table below shows the general stance on piracy in different countries around the world.

Countries Stand on piracy
Switzerland, Spain, and Poland  Pirating is permitted for personal use 
China, the UK, Australia, China, Germany, France, Finland, Japan, Italy, Russia, Portugal, Latvia, the US, and South Africa Pirating is prohibited 
Czech Republic, Colombia, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Israel, India, Greece, Egypt, Denmark, Philippines, Mexico, Netherlands, Romania, Slovakia, Slovakia, Uruguay, and Slovenia  Pirating is illegal, but prosecution is not active

Keep in mind that downloading and streaming copyrighted content are almost the same thing. Look at it this way. It has to be 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 also differ. For example, you can get hefty fines or go to jail if caught downloading copyrighted content in Germany but may only receive a warning in other countries. It is even more challenging to prosecute streaming websites like 123Movies since the files are cleared after streaming content. However, you can be tracked through your IP address. 

At the same time, although they may have anti-copyright laws, some countries don’t prosecute people for streaming content on illegal sites. In most cases, the authorities will act on individuals that distribute copyrighted content and not online viewers.


This article provides a review of 123Movies and other necessary information. We are online security and privacy experts and not lawyers, so don’t take it as legal advice. Also, remember that laws differ in every country and change constantly. Therefore, consult your local legal expert if you have questions about the rules and regulations in your country.

Is using 123Movies dangerous? 

We have looked at whether you are permitted or not to stream content on sites such as 123Movies. However, we haven’t discussed the risks of using these sites apart from the hefty fines you may get. 

It isn’t easy to guarantee your utmost safety when using a site like 123Movies. This is because they are controlled by all manner of people, including criminals that can steal your data or install malicious code on your device. The best way to stay safe when using 123Movies mirrors is to employ security tools such as a VPN and antivirus.

123Movies official website was shut down in 2018 and isn’t available online anymore. However, you can access its database through mirror (clone) websites. The problem is that these sites are hosted and managed by third parties that are not affiliated with the original 123Movies site. In essence, there is no quality control, and the owners can track your data or inject malware into your device.

Beware of mirrors

As mentioned above, 123Movies’s official website isn’t online anymore. Therefore, every website you see with the 123Movies on its address or resembles the official website is probably a copy/mirror site.

The downside is that the site can be owned by a malicious actor who can use it for bad things, like spreading malware. Making the matter worse, these sites can come back with a different name even if they are closed by authorities.