Is 123Movies safe and legal in 2023? What are good alternatives?

Ruheni Mathenge Last updated: March 20, 2023 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 best alternatives.

Sneak peek at 123Movies

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, prompting numerous mirror/clone sites to emerge.

Sadly, some sites are embedded with dangerous malware and viruses that can steal your private data or damage your device. You should protect your network with a VPN when accessing 123Movies clones and similar sites. Also, it will 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.

A quick guide to safely accessing 123Movies worldwide

The website is illegal to use in some countries, but accessing the website can still pose risks even in jurisdictions where it is technically legal. Here are safe steps to stream content on 123Movies in 2023 if your jurisdiction allows the use of the site:

  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 may technically be illegal in certain jurisdictions. It offers a vast collection of movies for free 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 at your own risk. We shall not be held responsible for any legal consequences that may arise from accessing this website.

Is 123Movies illegal?

There is no possible straight 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 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 worldwide.

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

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 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 distributing copyrighted content, not online viewers.

Note: 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 besides the hefty fines you may get. 

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