Downloading full HD movies for free is not against copyright law if the server is authorized by the copyright owner to distribute the movie, according to New Media Rights. If the material is copyrighted and no permission has been granted by the copyright owner, it is illegal to download it.
Copyright law protects the intellectual and commercial value of creative work, explains the Recording Industry Association of America. When a user downloads copies of creative work without permission, the user is taking or stealing material of value from the creative work's copyright owner. Such an act is against the law and subject to civil penalties and criminal liability. Although the Internet and file-sharing services are relatively recent technological innovations, a number of court rulings have already made it clear that both uploading and downloading unauthorized copyrighted material are acts of copyright infringement, a violation of the copyright owner's distribution rights. Even if the user is not actively distributing the unauthorized material, the courts have held that making a copy of it constitutes likely intent to distribute and therefore infringement.
It should be noted that if the user does not download an unauthorized HD movie but rather watches it through a streaming video option through popular websites such as YouTube, this action does not legally qualify as infringement, reports New Media Rights. The user must make a copy or download any part of the unauthorized material to run afoul of copyright law.