Putlocker is one of the most popular websites in the world for streaming movies and TV shows, mostly because it is completely free. But while being prominent and popular, the service operates in a quite grey area in terms of law infringement because while it doesn’t host any copyrighted material itself, it does host links to it. For this reason, a number of links are removed every day, and thousands of internet users find themselves not being able to access the content they want.
Putlocker has been blocked in the UK, its country of origin, since May 2016. In response to seizures, the service has been forced to change its domain name multiple times. As numerous organizations are constantly opposing the Putlocker’s very existence, including the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), legal trouble is never far behind the popular movie streaming website.
How Putlocker Works
There was a time, a little over a decade ago when it was simple and straightforward to find websites known for hosting copyrighted material. A global crackdown, along with countries like the UK issuing warrants requiring ISPs to block their customers from accessing copyrighted content, led to a sharp decline in the prevalence of such sites.
The next generation of streaming sites, of which Putlocker is a member, don’t host any of the files themselves. Instead, they direct users to third-party streaming websites, which keeps the Putlocker servers free of copyrighted material and free from legal responsibilities.
Now that the high-speed internet is ubiquitous, downloading HD quality video files is easier than ever. However, if you don’t want to store a bunch of torrents in your hard drive, Putlocker is the next best thing to enjoy your favorite content.
Is Putlocker Legal?
The short answer is yes. While the owners and operators of Putlocker are skirting the edges of the serious legal action, they aren’t facing one yet. However, depending on their location, the users could theoretically receive a copyright infringement notice for using the service. This is one of the reasons why using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to access Putlocker is highly recommended. What a VPN does, it encrypts your internet traffic and cloaks your IP address, making it invisible to snoopers and even your ISP (Internet Service Provider). As a result, you can easily access any website you want, including Putlocker.
It’s worth noting that while Putlocker is blocked in the UK, it is not illegal to visit the site. The court order requires ISPs to block access to Putlocker, but if you find a way to circumvent their blocks to access the site, you personally are not breaking any laws.
Is Putlocker Safe?
In general, yes. However, Putlocker makes its money from advertising and has been known for displaying pop-up ads which are often a source of malware or embedded viruses. Therefore, to stay on the safe side, it is highly recommended that you utilize an ad-blocker or a VPN with ad-blocking function while using Putlocker and similar websites.
Using a VPN to Access Putlocker
Even if Putlocker isn’t blocked in your country, you should still use a VPN when accessing the website. A VPN will keep your IP address hidden, so even Putlocker itself won’t be able to trace you. In other words, there will be no record of your actual IP address on the Putlocker servers. As far as your ISP is concerned, they will only know that you are connecting to a VPN; they have no way of seeing what websites you access with it.
When using a VPN, you can choose a physical location for the server you want to use. This allows you to connect to the internet through another country. Note that in countries like the UK, where Putlocker is blocked at a national level, you will not be able to access Putlocker through a server located in those countries. So make sure you choose a VPN server that is located in a country where the service isn’t blocked, but there is usually plenty of options.
Along with a VPN, make sure that you have antivirus and ad-blocking software on your device. Remember that your computer isn’t the only device you need to protect – smartphones and tablets are not immune to malware, and can be used as entry points into otherwise secure networks. Reliable security tools will further reduce your exposure to potential threats.