These days, many of us have more media at our fingertips than we know what to do with. Our kids consume media content that streams from online sources and adults have access to services such as Netflix, Hulu etc.
Of course, there are also many people who download or stream movies from illegal sources or sources that are questionable. Indeed, many movies and TV series may even be illegally uploaded and distributed via these online platforms.
What Is Putlocker?
Putlocker started in 2011 in the UK and exploded in popularity. It offers hosted movies and TV series as well as links to places where this media can be found.
One can easily find and stream movies and TV shows right from the Putlocker site. In the simplest terms, it is a massive index that is searchable and offers even the latest movies for free to anyone who can access the site.
Has Putlocker Been Shut Down?
The brutal truth is that Putlocker hosts and directs people to illegally hosted files such as movies and TV shows. The media is copyrighted and Putlocker has no legal right to host it or facilitate access to copies in this way.
The history of Putlocker most certainly reflects its legal status. In 2016, the main site was blocked by authorities in the UK due to a court order.
This reflects its legal status and the fact that it hosts and facilitates access to illegal copies of movies and other streaming media.
But even though the site was blocked and the activities are illegal, many proxy sites have popped up to take its place. Just as with the infamous Pirate Bay, many third-party sites acting as proxies for the content have arisen around the world.
The difficulty here is that many of these proxy sites exist in digital jurisdictions outside the reach of UK law and are not always easy to shut down.
Some Website Domains Used for Putlocker
As we said above, many illegal proxy sites have emerged after the original website was shut down. Some domains similar to the original site include
PUTLOCKERS.ME, putlockers.cr, putlocker.to, putlockertv.to etc.
We have visited some of the cloned copies of putlockers and here is what we have seen:
When you click on a movie to watch, we have observed the following different behavior from the hosting website:
1) the website asks you to create an account before watching.
2) the website redirects you to a large full-screen advertisement.
3) the website redirects you to some other site asking you to install some shady software.
4) the website redirects you to another website asking you to enable browser notifications before continuing.
Moreover, there are lots of adult ads around the page which are very distracting.
Is Putlocker Legal?
Fundamentally, Putlocker is not considered legal. It hosts copyrighted material. One might think that accessing these media files is okay but the truth is that even people who download them are doing something illegal.
This even applies to a person who is ignorant of the law or who does not know about the legal status of Putlocker and its many proxy sites.
Is Putlocker Safe?
So should you be taking a chance on using Putlocker if you really can’t resist watching that new blockbuster movie for free? Here are some things that you should think seriously about if you intend to use it:
It’s really important to understand that many sites such as this that operate outside of or on the very edges of the law will often resort to using questionable methods to generate income.
Putlocker is full of URL redirects, pop-up ads, and display banners that can affect your browser and your computer.
In fact, some pop-up ads contain malware that can easily infect your computer, such as with virus, trojan, ransomware etc. The practice of “malvertising” (short for “malicious advertising”) is prevalent in these streaming websites.
Sometimes these are as annoying as telling your web browser to redirect to a foreign site each time it is opened but other times, they can sneakily install things such as Bitcoin mining programs or other malware that are tough to identify and will slow down your computer.
Being illegal might not be enough to sway many people from not using Putlocker but if you’re caught by the authorities, you are not safe from legal consequences.
This varies from country to country but many courts look very poorly on anyone who is accessing or hoarding copyrighted movies and other media.
What Precautions Should You Take If Using Putlocker?
If you really must use a pirate site such as Putlocker, here are some precautions that you should take:
- Use a VPN
A VPN is a virtual private network. This means that all of your Internet traffic is rerouted through one or more proxy servers. The advantage is that your IP address and thus your online identity is hidden from the authorities and snoops.
- Use Malware Protection
Due to the possibility of infection from malware, it’s always a good idea to use trusted anti-virus software that operates in the background. Just don’t be surprised if your anti-virus program activates like crazy as soon as you point your browser to Putlocker. This alone should tell you how questionable the site really is.
Should You Use Putlocker?
Of course it’s tempting to get stuff for free, especially if you don’t have a whole lot of money. The truth is that it is always safer to use legal streaming sites or other budget-friendly services for all of your media consumption.
The benefit is that you not only support those artists and companies that have paid lots of money to put together your favorite shows but you also have much easier and safer access to the media without having to worry about the authorities or malware.
Is Putlocker illegal in the U.S.?
Even though the legal status of Putlocker might be in a gray area in some countries, the bottom line is that it is illegal in the U.S. It hosts copyrighted material and facilitates access to it. It is therefore illegal in the United States.
The only area that may be questioned is whether the user who is streaming illegal content is subject to the law in the same way.
It is illegal to access and stream copyrighted material in this way but the law has often seen this in a different way. Having said that, one should think very carefully before accessing sites such as Putlocker.