123Moviesisapopular free movie streaming site with headquarters in Vietnam. At a point in 2018, the website was tagged the “most visited and known illegal website” by the American Motion Picture Association (MPAA). Few months after, the website was closed down as a result of various claims of copyright and privacy breaches by the Vietnamese government. It resurrected again few months later through series of clone websites which offer same services to the old site.
The website underwent series of evolutions in terms of name over the past few years. First starting as “123movies”, the name was changed to “123Movies“after a series of legal battles leading to the website being closed down from multiple domain. Also, it was not only the name that changed, but the URL too. 123movies.to, the initial URL got changed to 123movies.is before it was redirected to “gomovies.to.”In the year’s that followed, the name also changed from the aforementioned to “go movies.is”, following several domain challenges. Before it was eventually shut down in 2018, the URL underwent several other modifications, finally arriving at “123movieshub.to” as at the time of shutdown.
In late 2016, the American regulatory body for movies included 123Movies as part of a list of websites with the most traffic and visitors that year. The site, which reportedly ranked 559 on the global Alexa list was said to have ranked 385 in the US. It was also reported that the website had close to 10 million visitors in September 2016, making it one of the most popular websites in the world, and one of the fastest growing too.
In April 2017, it was reported that the United States Ambassador to Vietnam had initiated talks with the Communication Minister of Vietnam about making moves to close down the free streaming websites domiciled in Vietnam, listing 123Movies as a typical example of such websites.
In November 2017, the American movies regulatory body included 123Movies on its list of illegal streaming websites and the American government followed up the initial discussion with the Vietnamese authorities. In the 1st quarter of 2018, precisely March 18, 2019, the website announced that it was closing down, urging its nearly 100 million users to abide by the regulations guiding intellectual properties in their respective nations, by paying for movies where necessary.
In July 2018, the American movies regulatory body released an update saying that the closure of 123Movies was a significant success in its fight against intellectual property breach and hailed the Vietnamese government for their support during the whole process. However, by December 2018, TorrentLeaks released some reports about new websites operating free streaming websites. According to the report, the websites’ operations and technicalities are similar to those of the closed 123Movies. It was then deduced that the multiple new streaming sites could have been developed by the operators of 123Movies. Till date, most people still believe those new sites are clones of the old 123Movies.