As of 2015, it is legal to watch movies at no cost on file sharing sites such as PrimeWire, according to New Media Rights. Even if the material is under copyright protection and the viewer assumes the supplier has not obtained permission, the viewer is not breaking any laws simply by watching.
File-sharing sites are not themselves illegal, according to New Media Rights. However, when a user shares a file with copyrighted content for others to watch or download, he is breaking copyright law. If, on the other end, a viewer streams a protected video, such actions remain within the boundaries of the law. Only when the viewer takes any action to copy or redistribute the file has the law been broken.
Several recording and movie studios have filed class action lawsuits against users who have downloaded copyrighted material or redistributed it, according to New Media Rights. Some of these cases have resulted in major victories for the studios, with one defendant ordered to pay $1.9 million in damages for downloading and redistributing a mere 24 songs. Most of the file-sharing websites have a clause in their terms of agreement that specifically places the responsibility of remaining within the bounds of the law on the user, who must comply with any and all regulations pertaining to the material, as stated in the PrimeWire website.