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Ask around yourself if they have heard of the name Putlockers or not. If you are asking a group of young movie buffs who fray for free movies then more than 6 out of 10 people will know the name. Not only will they recognize but also confess of using quite a few times for free movie streaming. And why not! Putlockers is one website that till 2016 was ranked in the list of top 250 most visited websites on Alexa. 90% of early internet users have at least visited the website once if not regularly to see the latest released movies. But while there are ample alternatives available for the Putlockers fans, it will be interesting to find out what really happened to this extremely popular movie streaming website.

About

The best way to begin anything is from the beginning itself which for Putlockers is recorded to have had happened in 2011. The website despite getting launched merely in 2011, was noted to have been hosting to 800,000 worldwide visitors per day by January 2012. What aided the growth of the website was the shutdown of another website named Megaupload. After which, there was no looking back because straight from 800,000 visitors, the traffic on the website peaked up to 1.6 million visitors per day. 

Putlockers for the introduction purpose is not just one website but a network rather, that consists of multiple domains- all similarly named. The website that was found to initially have been originated from the United Kingdom later was found to be active from Iceland after the UK government blocked the website for illegal distribution of copyrighted materials, mainly free movies and TV series. 

History 

While 15% of internet users in the UK, according to a report of International Business Times in July 2017, were found to be breaking copyright laws by streaming or downloading movies and TV Series illegally mainly from Putlockers. The same website was ranked amongst the top 150 most visited websites in the US in 2016 prior to the website’s closure. Both of which indicated the high popularity it had gained within a short span of time.

But it wasn’t all glorious for the website. Putlockers in March 2012 was identified as one of the top 5 rogue cyberlocker services following which in 2014 the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit of the UK seized Putlockers. In October 2016, Putlocker got reported by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to the United States Trade Representative office as a Piracy Threat. But along with it, MPAA reported that the website in concern which has again shown its head despite being blocked previously was being operated from Vietnam this time. Not just that, but also that the servers of Putlocker were being hosted by the Swiss company Private Layer.

Since then, many major authorities from around the world have been reporting multiple domains of Putlockers for copyright infringement. But every time a new mirror or proxy website springs up after the closure of the previous one.

One of the renowned controversies surrounding Putlockers included the case of a 22-year-old young boy who not only downloaded the superhero movie Deadpool for free from the Putlockers website but also uploaded the same on his Facebook profile. The result was surely not what he must have had expected because Trevon Maurice Franklin, the boy behind this was sent to 24 days in Federal Detention. Due to his free upload on the website, the movie got viewed more than 6 million times for free. Not only was the movie one of the most awaited movies of the year but it also had been running on the screens of theatres for just one week when the movies were uploaded by him. Result? An extreme loss for the makers.

Putlocker- Why Blocked?

Despite the untiring return of the website, authorities from several countries do not give up on the idea of reporting the website in front of the law, and here is the question of why. The major problem behind the emergence of the website is Piracy. 

The popularity of Putlockers is majorly for two reasons. Number one, free movies and TV series and number two, the latest movies. The website became famous because it hosted the latest movies within a weak of its release and that too for absolutely no cost. It saved the movie buffs a lot of money by letting them stream and download movies without having to wait much for its premiere on the television or purchase tickets for it. So while this feature of the Putlockers excited the internet users across the world, it angered the filmmakers and why not. It directly harmed their interest and negatively affected a fair share of their profits.

All because of their wrong process. Movie piracy, using illegal methods like camming (camRips) in a theater records a new release and then distributes that copy which for obvious reasons is of bad quality on the internet for free. Despite the not so good condition, fans of the movies who have been waiting to see a particular title without being able to keep their content see the movie either by streaming the movie online or downloading it for free from Putlockers. Now the fan that would have otherwise visited a theater and paid the film-makers for the movie would no-longer pay anything to them. Also, waiting for a few more days gives them access to better quality copies like DVDRips, HDRips, etc. created by other illegal methods.

Movies are not just made on huge budgets but also created in the hope of making business by entertaining the audience with them. The rights of distribution are thus secured with the makers alone under the copyright laws. Because of the movie piracy that is being practiced by Putlockers, these laws are broken. It is the same as stealing someone’s work and selling it for self-growth and profit. You might say where is the profit as all the content on Putlockers are available for free, but what most general people overlook on the website is that nothing comes for free.

Putlocker- Business Of Malware

It is so easy to be blinded by the free new movies and TV series available for streaming on the website and avoid all that comes with the website. Think about the typical features of Putlockers. Doesn’t matter the number of time the domain changes some of the basic features of the website always remains the same as the following-

  • Redirects
  • Adobe Flash Outdated- Alert to download the latest update
  • Better performing browser download ads
  • Virus attack on your device- alert for downloading an anti-virus immediately
  • VPN Ads
  • Redirects to Porn websites
  • Sudden downloads from banner ads
  • AD crowding on all pages
  • Redirects from random clicks (clicks not made on any links)

While ad crowding is because websites like Putlockers earn majorly from ad revenue which is why all the website pages are clearly loaded with advertisements. The annoying and confusing redirects are also for ad revenues. These ads pay the website owners, which in this case are known as the Pirates for every click, thus the links are hidden in the page, because why would you otherwise click on the link when you are visiting the website solely to stream a movie or TV series for free.

Now let us come to the VPN ads. Websites like Putlockers are frequently blocked in countries, using a VPN allows you to get access to all the websites including Putlockers even when it is blocked in your country. VPN is the acronym of Virtual Private Network which is used to hide your real location or the IP address and lets you use another IP address of a different location. Despite VPN being legal in countries, using it for illegal purposes like visiting illegal websites like Putlockers makes it illegal. But, because the visitors of the website would be soon needing to bypass the laws of their country, it becomes the best place for VPN companies to advertise their products and rather services.

Now that we have covered all the other features, let us come to the most important ones, which brings us to the downloads. While the download requests or the alerts may seem all so innocent, they are absolutely not. The messages are all made to frame you so that you download whatever is being offered out of need. Some even happen automatically and there are actually many internet users who do not even think before allowing them to run on their devices. The biggest point here is that none of these downloads are authentic. Each one of them is some form of malware in the face of some browser or software.

Malware is what we call Viruses otherwise. They are notorious in nature and try to steal information from our systems and also take control of it. Result? Hacked up machines or social accounts including mailing accounts, bank thefts, media leaks, improper functioning of various software or applications installed on the system, slow performance of the device and even issues with login are some of the few symptoms that can be noticed in case of virus attack on a computer or a phone.

Distributing malware is another source of income for the pirates which can prove to be extremely dangerous for innocent users who get attracted to free movies. To sum up, Putlockers and the websites alike have two sources of income, one being the advertisements and the second being malware distribution. While the first can be relatively harmless just super annoying the second one is something that all users should avoid. It is thus always recommended by the experts to avoid untrusted websites like Putlockers. If you are thinking, this is so against the law and how can one claim to be adobe and other renowned companies to frame innocent users, then you must be reminded that the whole website that we are talking about is labeled illegal. It is the users who voluntarily choose to visit the den of the attack for themselves.

Is There Any Legal Liability For Using Putlockers?

The case of Trevon Maurice Franklin was a good enough example to understand what can happen if things are done uncarefully. Movie Piracy is illegal and encouraging it in any form is equally illegal in most countries, which puts you directly in the same line with cybercriminals. While Trevon was left relatively easily, you maybe not. Because there are different punishments for the infringement of copyright laws in different countries and also for different criminals. Streaming, Promoting, Camming, Repeating are all different levels of Movie Piracy. If caught, the punishment may range from a few months of imprisonment to a few years along with a hefty amount of fine from the lawbreaker.

Can Putlockers Be Streamed With Safety?

The problem is that the way Putlockers and similar websites are promoted, using social media, none of the users realize that what they are streaming or downloading is illegal. Not just that, but also a simple click on the link actually promoting Movie Piracy. The attraction towards free latest movies cannot be left by most of the users and without thinking much many of them even start using VPNs as aked on the website to freely access the website and stream the latest media. The problem is though it looks extremely simple to browse Putlockers, it only induces complications to both your life and your device. 

While VPN may hide your location from the cyber cell, it may not protect your device from viruses. And while you may have anti-virus software installed in your device, it may not be capable of rather compatible to find and block the virus of the latest kind. It is thus best to avoid all sorts of untrusted websites, not just to protect your system but also to the interests of filmmakers by not supporting Movie Piracy.

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