Free movie streaming online is an increasingly-popular way for people to bypass purchasing five different streaming subscriptions just to watch their favorite tv shows. While they may be popular with the populace, they are less popular with the movie studios and producers who are angry their potential profits are being cut into. Take, for example, the famously embattled file-sharing website 123movies.com.
What’s The Big Deal?
Free movie streaming websites function by acting a search engine to connect users with movies uploaded to a secondary background site. While users play the film from Site A, Site B is actually the site where the movie exists – and quite often, these Site B’s are clearly illegal, as copyright is infringed, and movie studios lose out the money they’d otherwise get from users viewing their films. Site A’s are sometimes able to get around the legal fiasco by never hosting or owning the movies themselves, merely linking users to illegal sites without the users ever approaching the illegal sites…but not always.
Where’s The Fight?
123movies.com is perhaps the most famous example of a file-sharing site being put through the ringer, but it’s by far not the only one. Sites like this are run through countries outside of the USA, so it’s difficult for the FBI or other governmental bodies to do much. Studios and producers will lobby government agencies and ambassadors to other countries, which will often head investigations that shut down the websites. In the case of 123movies.com, they cloned their site onto new domains after every shutdown, bouncing around from URL to URL in an effort to keep their user base happy and the feds of their respective countries off their case. Free movie websites are good for the users and the site owners, but not for studios and producers who are upset their payday is slashed from two million to one. To put an end to that, studios and producers sue the websites and lobby government officials to reach into other countries and shut down the infringers. In response, file-sharing sites have little recourse but to take down their site and build a new one under a new name – and often, a new M.O.