Just as with big-name Hollywood studios, the Web sites that stream their movies and television shows have made names for themselves. Those brand names charge a fee (either per movie or by the month) for their services, which are generally easy-to-use, dependable and fast.
Among those names are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle and other sites that offer all sorts of on-demand, streaming content. Compare these sites to their black-market brethren, and the differences are usually stark. The professional, corporate-operated sites are low on ads and high on accessibility, and they steer you toward their paid services. The fakes are clunky and suspicious-looking.
As bandwidth speeds increase and mobile devices become more adept at playing high-resolution video, you'll see more and more options for video streaming all over the Internet. By avoiding illegal streaming sites, you'll dodge scams and security problems galore, access higher-quality content and know that you're paying for the content you use.
Author's Note: 10 Signs that Streaming Movie Site Isn't Legit
Contemporary peer-to-peer networks continue to flourish in spite of the best efforts of heavyweight copyright and corporate attorneys. When one service finally gets unplugged, another takes its place.
As if unauthorized downloads alone weren't causing enough difficulty, streaming content further muddies the waters. If you really love movies, you can do yourself and other movie buffs a favor: find legal ways to pay for and enjoy that content. In doing so, you support the entertainment industry and you dodge digital security pitfalls of all kinds, too.
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- Motion Picture Association of America. "Get Movies & TV Shows." (Aug. 9, 2012) http://www.mpaa.org/contentprotection/get-movies-tv-shows
- Motion Picture Association of America. "Types of Content Theft." (Aug. 9, 2012) http://www.mpaa.org/contentprotection/types-of-content-theft
- Purewal, Sarah Jacobsson. "Senate Committee Votes to Make Illegal Streaming a Felony." PC World. June 17, 2011. (Aug. 9, 2012) http://www.pcworld.com/article/230532/senate_committee_votes_to_make_illegal_streaming_a_felony.html
- Rabiner, Stephanie. "Is Streaming or Watching Movies Illegal?" Findlaw Blogs. April 23, 2012. (Aug. 9, 2012) http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2012/04/is-streaming-or-watching-movies-illegal.html
- Raustiala, Kal and Chris Sprigman. "How Much Do Music and Movie Piracy Really Hurt the U.S. Economy?" Freakonomics.com. Jan. 12, 2012. (Aug. 9, 2012) http://www.freakonomics.com/2012/01/12/how-much-do-music-and-movie-piracy-really-hurt-the-u-s-economy/
- United States Copyright Office. "DMCA Section 104 Report." August 2001. (Aug. 9, 2012) http://www.copyright.gov/reports/studies/dmca/sec-104-report-vol-1.pdf
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