5 Ways to Know if a Website is Streaming Movies Illegally or Not

Rupesh Kumar
Rupesh is an engineer by profession and a blogger by choice. He has been a technology enthusiast since the beginning of his professional career. He believes the advent of new technology has affected our lifestyle in some way or the other. He loves writing about technology and lifestyle. Rupesh is the founder of Stemjar.

We are living in a 4G world where downloading movies is no more in fashion. Watching online streaming movies is conveniently cheaper and sometimes free of cost. But, various movie websites are coming up daily, legal or illegal, claiming to host online free streaming movies. Can you spot the difference between legal movie websites and illegal movie websites?

No! Do not worry. Moving ahead, we will deal this subject with conviction.


Copyright policies are becoming stringent as ever. We need to be more vigilant of what we do online. A small mistake, something like downloading or watching online streaming movies from an illegal website, can land us in a legal pit.

Also, we should not ratify piracy by watching online streaming movies on illegal movie websites. In a way, we discourage big directors, producers and film stars from making great movies like Avatar, Gladiator, etc.

There are many licensed and legal websites to watch free movies online.

It is quite easy to find out if the website is streaming movies illegally or not.

Legal online streaming movie websites do not hide anything

A legal online streaming movie website has nothing to hide. In fact, they provide you with more information on their ‘About Us’ or ‘Contact Us’ section. Look for pages such as contact us, about us, support, guidelines, etc.

Most of the time, all these pages should be placed in the bottom of the homepage. If the website is a company having some physical address, then you can consider it as legitimate movie website. If there is no physical address, then at least email address should be there.

 Illegal movie websites may not provide you with their source

Once you visit any streaming movie website, look for section providing details about movie source. Most of the time, this information is in about us, disclaimer or privacy section of the website.

There are two ways in which any legal website gets the permission of online streaming of movies. Either the website gets the license from the film production house, film studio or the movie itself falls under public domain.

For example, tubitv has a partnership with Paramount & MGM. Similarly, Crackle is a Sony-owned company.

Illegal movie websites do not hide anything and are transparent

If the movie is available in public domain like on YouTube, Retrovision, Public Domain Torrent, etc., then it is safer to watch. Old movies, classic movies are a typical example of free public domain movies.

Are there any Ads on online movie streaming website?

All these free streaming movies websites such as Crackle, tubitv, Viewster, Yidio, etc. are not doing any charity work. They all are here for making money. Most of the time, the biggest source of legit free movie streaming website is Ads or advertisements.

All these ads come in between or at the beginning of the streaming movie for a stipulated time. Also, film Ads could be featured on top, bottom, left or right part of a website for clicks.

Legal websites show commercials or advertisement in a legit way

But the whole layout of the website or viewing experience remains standard. You would not be irritated with the representation of Ads. Whereas, Illegal movie websites might show you advertisements which will bug you by opening several other third party websites.

You may not find latest movie flicks

If you can watch the latest movie on a website which is also running in a nearby movie theatre, then do not consider yourself lucky; you are watching a movie on an illegal movie website.

Even the best free online movie streaming website does not have the license to show the latest movie. Mostly, you have to pay online for watching latest movies.

Commonly a free legal movie streaming websites have movies which are old and classics.

If there are any applications for your smartphone or tablet PC

If the website has android or iOS AppStore application for your smartphone, then you are safe to view online streaming movies. Google play store or Apple app store has strict policies in place before they publish any application.

Crackle iOS application endorse its legitimacy

If a movie streaming websites get involved in any illegal activity, then it won’t take much time for these application stores to ban it.

Note: Not all legal online movie streaming website has applications.


Still not sure

If you are still not sure about any movie streaming website, then I would recommend you to look for any other legit website. You do not want to get involved in any copyright infringement activities.

People can lose big stash of money as fine, or even they can go to prison if they watch movies on illegal movie websites. Not to forget that some of these illegal movie websites can also infect your computer or smartphone with malware and virus.


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