If you look at websites such as Just Watch AU, you can see how popular new streaming services are becoming with people compared to a few years ago.
While torrenting was said to be the primary means to get free movies and TV shows, there is a shift among people and Australians in particular.
The Australian torrenting brigade is ditching the Pirate Bay and trying to get around government restrictions of illegal downloading.
They are said to be turning to alternative streaming services for obtaining their fix of said shows and movies. It has been said; this has increased since last year by a significant amount.
Many legal streaming options, such as Netflix, Stan, and TV broadcasters, offer TV streaming sites like 9Now and 10Play. You can find many illegal offerings that provide the same content, albeit pirated content, without a monthly subscription.
With so much focus on what Australians illegally download, it is easy to see why there is so much of a move to streaming. The issue is that many individuals are unsure of how they stand.
Here, you can find out if streaming is legal or fall under the same umbrella as downloading, and it is classed as piracy that is punishable.(Read Australia’s Mandatory Data Retention Scheme)
Is Streaming Movies Illegal in Australia?
Australia’s federal government ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to block many popular pirate sites.
Now, users find that they cannot access 59 torrent and streaming sites considered illegal, including Demonoid, EZTV, YTS, RARBG, 1337x, and Putlocker. (Read Our Movie Torrents Guide)
Besides, 160 domains face bans from two court orders and stop mirror sites or proxy links to The Pirate Bay.
The blocks were at the request of the Village Roadshow movie studio and the Australian broadcaster Foxtel.
Many of these were on behalf of copyright holders against the piracy sites, and an overall fight against pirating digital content through downloading.
Previously there were banned pirate sites in Australia, and new lawsuits have increased the number of domains to 340.
The country has been at war trying to prevent illegal domain downloads for a while. Australia once called the worst nation on the planet for piracy.
Anyone caught offering pirated material could face fines of up to A$117,000 and possibly a prison sentence. (Read Australian Netflix Shows)
Is Putlockers Illegal in Australia?
Putlocker first came to light from the UK in 2011 once Mega Upload was shut down. In 2016 it was blocked by a UK High Court Order. The MPAA reported Putlocker as a significant threat to online piracy.
In 2017, the Federal Court of Australia also ordered ISP’s to block more (42) sites with Putlocker among them. While you may see the name, these may be scam copycat sites trying to lure unsuspecting Australians into using the site.
As it stands, Putlocker isn’t legal and is blocked in Australia.
Is 123Movies Legal in Australia?
123movies is not legal and was listed as one of the sites that Australian ISPs were to block. While the site doesn’t host any content, it does face a ban because it promotes piracy.
Several domains of 123Movies were blocked, and as a means of bypassing these, it goes under the guise of GoMovies. However, this may be blocked already, or it could go this way in the next round of court orders.
Is it Illegal to Watch Streaming Movies Online?
Online streaming site use has ballooned in the past couple of years, with more people choosing to watch films online at home than through other means such as the movie theatre.
While you find Netflix increasing, many streaming websites fall into the grey area of what is legal and what isn’t when Australians search streaming services for content or media on the internet.
It is likely they know it is copyright protected, yet no one person said it was, and people have no idea where the stream originates.
The answer to legal and illegal still hasn’t been thoroughly clarified, even with many streaming sites being shut down or blocked in Australia.
It is here; you need to understand intellectual property and copyright laws. Many films, movies, and TV series are commercially covered by copyright law.
When you read intellectual property laws, it is illegal to distribute a new film for profit on the internet or physically, and you don’t get authorization from the copyright holder.
It is here the lines blur because when streaming, you are not distributing any of the content. If you were torrenting, you would be seeding the file and thus uploading as a means of distribution, and that is a punishable act is likely. (Learn How to Stream Disney Plus in Australia)
Nevertheless, streaming movies is an entirely different activity. You’re not distributing anything. You’re not sharing documents with peers for profit or perhaps otherwise.
While the law does ban these sites, there is not too much mention of how individuals stand. You can have a digital footprint on your computer of what media you streamed using a free movie site classed as illegal.
Also, your ISP (In Australia, data retention time is set for 2-years) will see everything you access online.
You do access copyright-protected media for that particular moment, yet there is no clear distinction as to whether you are committing a pirating or punishable offence.
Stay Safe with a VPN
Any Australian is advised to use a VPN service. It doesn’t matter if people use legal streaming services to search for content or use services known to promote piracy.
It is better to be safe this year as it will be next year and any other. ISPs will never stop their data retention, and there is more at risk than you just watching a new film.
People have the right to online privacy, and while you may not download any illegal content, your actions are recorded. You are going to be tarred with the same brush as anyone using an illegal service.
A VPN protects its users no matter what service they use. You can download one day, stream another time. Piracy of content will carry on in the studios’ eyes unless they get what they think they are owed.