Free Media Streaming vs Paid Media Streaming
Movie streaming has become mainstream in the past several years with advancements in both internet speeds and media technologies. Products such as Hulu, Amazon Video, and the titan that is Netflix have developed massive stores of media libraries. These libraries have grown to the point where tens of millions are more than happy to pay monthly fees for the services they provide.
Another mode of streaming is video streaming of the free variety. If you have spent any time searching online for free streams of movies, you have likely come across Putlocker. This free streaming service provider has experienced a rapid surge in popularity lately.
Many of these free streaming services have developed an interface and library that is even more streamlined than the paid alternatives referred to above. But, legality issues, copyright and trademark problems, and web-related safety issues are rampant in this sub-niche of the media streaming market.
With the professional appeal and large market share of Putlocker in the free streaming provider game, this begs the question: is Putlocker safe and legal to use?
Legalities of Putlocker and Free Streaming Services
Legalities of free video streaming services seem to always fall into a perpetual gray area. The correct legalities of “pirated content” streaming are dependent on your country. It should be obvious to assume that in most countries, media piracy is illegal (you wouldn’t download a car…).
The real legal issues arise in the ways this prated media content is being delivered to the end users. The results vary from country to country in a big way.
In mid-2017, European courts ruled the streaming of pirated content from websites such as Putlocker was illegal. The same type of laws had already been in place in the United States. The USA is the country with the highest rate of movie streaming on both free and paid platforms. Simply put, in the USA and European Union, streaming through Putlocker is illegal.
In Canada, the country where rules were made to be broken (online gambling is free and clear here, eh), it is entirely legal to stream movies from free services and platforms such as Putlocker. The illegal aspect in Canada arises when you are hosting and distributing the pirated content. To break that down, watching Putlocker streams are legal. Putlocker themselves are not. In these cases, it is untrue that Putlocker is safe and legal to use.
How to find out your country’s laws, and how to circumvent
Users will find this to be the case in most other countries with higher leniency in internet property and copyright laws. The best method for finding out where your streaming habits fall in the spectrum of this “gray area” is to dig into a little research of your own, geared towards where you live. In many countries, it’s iffy at best. As time progresses and paid streaming services take more of a market share (Netflix is now a $100 billion company after all), the laws will tighten up in these looser nations.
Even if national laws don’t put a ceasefire into your free streaming legalities, odds are at some point these movie and television studies will begin pushing more funds and resources towards combating streaming through services such as Putlocker. It may not technically be an end goal of completely cutting off the circulation of an entire streaming service. Rather, it is to chip away and clog the arteries to make the service more of a pain to gain access. The more extensive the barriers to entry for new free streaming sites, the less of a hold they will have over sites such as Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon Video.
The most effective method for ensuring security online, regardless of your country, is through the usage of a VPN. VPN’s will ensure that your IP stays masked, so it is far more difficult to track where and what you are streaming. The Flash Blog has curated this list of VPN’s we consider to be the strongest for use with free streaming sites such as Putlocker:
Safety of Putlocker and Free Streaming Services
Much like most other free media streaming services online, most revenues come in the form of on page advertisements. The more pop-ups and pop-unders and large on page ads that appear on a video streaming site, the more revenue they will receive due to “clicks,” impressions and more. Typically, these ad programs target lower quality traffic. This is why the basic spamming passes through their affiliate revenue filters quite well.
Putlocker is no exception to this. There are some quite annoying pop-ups and required sneaky clicks necessary to get to the actual video. In some cases, you will click anywhere on the web page six to eight times before actually getting to where you can play the video. Some of these pop-ups have audio; some are inappropriate, others will full screen your browser window and need extra actions to remove.
Adblockers and Putlocker: Convenient but bothersome
Additionally, many of these free video streaming sites have a workaround to where simple installing an ad blocker won’t solve the problem. Instead, an ad blocker enabled on their site can sometimes prevent video playback.
People who have relatively solid experience with blocking out these advertisements can do so. Those who aren’t as tech savvy can run into major security-related issues with their technology being used to access these streams. The advertisements found on sites like Putlocker are developed for deceit and confusion. Even the close buttons on some of the overlaid ads are nothing but ads themselves.
High-volume incessant advertising aside, Putlocker is a comprehensive, safe streaming platform. You might not be confident in your ability to navigate the murky free-streaming waters on your own. If so, it might be in your best interests to pass up Putlocker altogether and pay for your media. But, if you are willing to foray in deeper…
Best methods to ensure privacy and safety on Putlocker
If you think you have the information needed to use Putlocker to your advantage, but live in a country where usage is illegal, you should mask your usage from your ISP. The best way to do so is to, again, go through a virtual private network, or VPN. As stated above, some of the best VPN’s for Putlocker include NordVPN, ExpressVPN and PureVPN. These VPNs make help greatly in making Putlocker safe and legal to use.
Using a VPN will ensure your communications with third-party websites are kept anonymous. If configured well and enabled adequately, your ISP won’t have the capability to view what you are doing while browsing the web.
Some people will swear by proxies. When doing something in such a gray area, proxies are not the best option. Packets are not encrypted, and communications are not hidden. You are vulnerable to the owner/controller of the proxy itself gathering information based on your access. All a proxy does is redirect your browsing through a server-based offshore. The data can still be traced back to the initial IP address, which would be your home location and machine.
Additionally, proxies sometimes tend to use their forms of blatant advertising. This can lead to an even more frustrating experience on sites such as Putlocker. Again, we suggest a VPN, as it makes Putlocker safe and legal to use.
So is Putlocker safe and legal to use?
Putlocker’s legalities are dependent on your location and national laws on internet piracy and privacy for that location. Safety wise, if you are okay with large-scale ad onslaughts, you should be fine. Again, these ads are developed to be intrusive and “unsafe”. This is what brings in the highest revenues per view and click. Naturally, sites such as Putlocker with no other revenue streams, rely on high-dollar, low-quality advertisement spam to make costs.
For a higher level of safety and security, use a VPN. For the highest level of safety and security, stick with paid streaming alternatives that are in the moral white zone. These tips and tricks work to help make Putlocker safe and legal to use.