The world’s largest movie pirating site: 123movies, also known as 123movieshub and GoMovies, was shut down almost a week ago after a surprise announcement made by the team running the site.
MPAA rated 123movies as the world’s largest pirating website and according to rumors, it has been force-shut due to local governmental action in Vietnam.
Netflix for Pirates
Among free online streaming websites such as Putlocker, 123movies has been the most successful one with its premium-ish user-interface and good streaming controls. Its user-base has expanded by millions and continued growing exponentially as movie-hungry pirates found a great alternative to Netflix.
The website was based in Vietnam, a place of lax copyright control as compared to western countries, allowing it to keep itself under the surface all this time. Though its downfall can be directly attributed to Hollywood and its far-reaching ‘friends’, Vietnam’s local authorities had a part to play as well.
It started in 2017, when US ambassador to Vietnam Ted Osius met with Vietnam’s Minister of Information and Communications Truong Minh Tuan, in a bid to “protect rights”. The ambassador also asked for criminal proceedings against streaming websites including 123movies, Putlocker variants, and Kisscartoon.
Almost a year later, in order to add into the pressure, branded 123movies as “the world’s most popular illegal site in the world” – also highlighting the fact that the website operated from Vietnam. MPAA’s Executive Vice President said,
Right now, the most popular illegal site in the world, 123movies.to (at this point), is operated from Vietnam, and has 98 million visitors a month.
123movies shutdown notice – around 9 hours prior to shutdown
Interestingly, only a few days later MPAA’s announcement, 123movies officially announced its shutdown. A countdown timer of 5 days was attached to the notice, after which the site went offline.
MPAA surely had a close eye on the website but it wasn’t entirely responsible.