Is It Legal to Stream Movies Online for Free?


Quick Answer

Whether it is legal to stream movies online for free is unclear and courts have not taken a consistent and settled position on the issue, as of June 2015. However, uploading a movie to a computer without the owner’s permission probably violates the law, according FindLaw.

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Full Answer

Movie streaming sites treat streaming video differently, with some creating a temporary copy of the movie on the viewer’s computer as it streams. Some courts contend that while the mere act of watching the movie is not illegal, the creation of the temporary file on the computer is, notes FindLaw. Conversely, the U.S. Copyright Office, as reported by FindLaw, has said that temporary files of movies that reside on a computer are not necessarily a violation due to the fleeting nature of the reproduction.

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