Screenshot of Putlocker's homepage, 2016
Type of site
|File hosting index (or cyberlocker)|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Current status||Offline (clones and copy sites available)|
Putlocker is any of various online file hosting index websites used for streaming entertainment media, particularly films and television series, for free. The initial website originated in the United Kingdom as early as 2011, and grew to receive millions of daily visitors after the shutdown of Megaupload. In May 2016, the website was blocked in the UK by a High Court order, and at its peak prior to a temporary closure in late 2016, Alexa Internet listed Putlocker as ranking among the top 250 most-visited websites worldwide. Putlocker has been reported by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) as a major piracy threat.
Putlocker's domain address has changed multiple times throughout its history, with a number of URLs bearing the Putlocker name being suspended or seized. It is not publicly known whether an official Putlocker website maintained by the original team remains available online, but at least fifty mirror or proxy websites, many of which use the Putlocker name, have been identified.
Launch and popularity
Putlocker originated in the United Kingdom under the URL putlocker.com. In early January 2012, the website received about 800,000 visitors a day, but after the popular website Megaupload was shut down due to copyright infringement, Putlocker began receiving approximately 1.6 million visitors a day. The website's operations officer, Adrian Petroff, found Megaupload's closure worrying, stating "who needs SOPA when a studio exec can make a wish/hit list and sites 'voluntarily' shut down?"
In March 2012, Putlocker was identified by Alfred Perry, vice president for worldwide content protection at Paramount Pictures, as one of the "top 5 rogue cyberlocker services". The website's URL was changed to putlocker.bz, an address which was seized by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit of the UK in June 2014, and was subsequently changed to putlocker.is, a domain located in Iceland.
From around early October 2016, the putlocker.is address displayed an error stating that the website's host service was inaccessible. Around this time, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) reported Putlocker to the Office of the United States Trade Representative as a piracy threat. The MPAA revealed that Putlocker operated from Vietnam, and that its servers were hosted by the Swiss company Private Layer.
Prior to its closure, putlocker.is was listed among the 250 top websites globally and the top 150 in the United States, according to Alexa data. A mirror site under the address putlocker.today appeared shortly after the assumed termination of putlocker.is, and on October 17, 2016, an address under the name putlocker9.com was reported to be available.
On 2 November 2016, the putlocker.is address became active again, redirecting its users to the updated URL putlockers.ch. On 27 February 2017, the putlockers.ch address was suspended after a ruling by a Tribunal d'arrondissement of Luxembourg in favour of the Belgian Entertainment Association, and the URL transferred ownership to EuroDNS. The chief legal officer of EuroDNS, Luc Seufer, stated that EuroDNS is required to "prevent any 'reactivation' of this domain name [putlockers.ch] until its expiration date". Following the seizure of the putlockers.ch address, the previously used putlocker.is domain was made functional again.
In March 2017, it was reported that Ted Osius, then United States Ambassador to Vietnam, held a meeting with Truong Minh Tuan, Vietnam's Minister of Information and Communications, during which Osius urged for the criminal prosecution of Putlocker, along with the websites 123Movies and KissCartoon, for copyright infringement.
Not long after, putlocker.is, which changed to putlockertv.is and subsequently putlockers.cc, was reported to redirect visitors to a scamming site. In May 2017, at least three working sites bearing the Putlocker name were known to be available: putlocker.rs, with a Serbian top-level domain (TLD), putlockertv.ist, with an Istanbulite TLD, and putlockerhd.is, with an Icelandic one.
In July 2017, the International Business Times reported that "15% of internet users in the UK are either infringing copyright through streaming or illegal downloads, with pirated TV material primarily accessed through Kodi (16%) or Putlocker (17%)". In August 2017, Justice John Nicholas of the Federal Court of Australia ordered Australian internet service providers to block access to 42 piracy sites in a case brought by Village Roadshow, with Putlocker, KissCartoon, and GoMovies being among those ordered to be blocked.
In June 2018, Trevon Maurice Franklin of Fresno, California pleaded guilty to violating federal copyright law back in February 2016, when he downloaded the superhero film Deadpool from Putlocker and then uploaded it to Facebook eight days after the film was released theatrically in the United States. As a result, the film was viewed over 6 million times for free, with the total retail value of the copies being estimated at around $2,500. U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt set 27 September as the sentencing date for the federal class-A misdemeanor, which carries a possible penalty of up to one year in prison, along with a $100,000 fine. After missing the September 27 sentencing hearing, Franklin was sentenced in October to 24 days in federal detention followed by a year of supervised release, including 20 hours of community service per week.
- List of websites blocked in the United Kingdom
- 123Movies, a similar online movie streaming network
- PeerTube, a peer-to-peer video platform
- Popcorn Time, a free software program allowing users to watch movies through torrenting on several platforms.
- YIFY Torrents (or YTS Torrents), an online movie file downloading network
- Scaria 2014, p. 33.
- Bolton, Doug (26 May 2016). "Putlocker blocked in the UK by internet service providers after High Court order". The Independent. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Ibe, Gerald (17 October 2016). "Putlocker New Site Appears After Putlocker.is Taken Down; Is It Safe?". TechPlz. Archived from the original on 17 January 2018. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Prabhu, Vijay (17 October 2016). "Yet Another Video Streaming Service Bites The Dust, Putlocker Shuts Down". TechWorm. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Tung, Liam (5 April 2012). "Hollywood bloodlust cripples another filelocker". IT News. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Enigmax (3 April 2012). "We're No Rogue Site: PutLocker Responds To Hollywood". Torrent Freak. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Sandoval, Greg (31 March 2012). "MPAA wants more criminal cases brought against 'rogue' sites". CNET. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Harblson, Cammy (4 June 2014). "Is Putlocker.bz Down Or Not Working? Domain Seized But Free Movie Streaming Site Lives Under New Domain Name". iDigitalTimes. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- Toledo, Michael Jay (17 October 2016). "Putlocker Alternative: Free Movies 2016 Still Available? No URL Ban?". The BitBag. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
- "Putlocker.is Up And Running Again!". Everyday Electronics. 2 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.
- Ernesto (28 February 2017). "'Putlocker' Loses Domain Name Following Court Order". TorrentFreak. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- Kavita Iyer (1 March 2017). "Movie streaming website Putlocker loses its 'Putlockers.ch' domain name following court order". TechWorm. Archived from the original on 24 April 2019. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
- Ngọc Tuyên (22 March 2017). "Việt - Mỹ hợp tác chặn nội dung xấu trên YouTube, Facebook" [Vietnam - US cooperation to block bad content on YouTube, Facebook]. VnExpress (in Vietnamese). Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- Ernesto (23 March 2017). "US Ambassador Asks Vietnam to Target 123movies, Putlocker and Kisscartoon". TorrentFreak. Retrieved 25 March 2017.
- "Is Putlocker Dead? Streaming Site Directs Users to 'Scammy' Videos". TorrentFreak. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
- TDW (2017). "Putlocker-Watch Free Movies, TV on These Putlockers and Alternatives". Thedigitalworm.com. Archived from the original on 5 September 2018. Retrieved 26 June 2017.
- Oliver Cragg (7 July 2017). "How Kodi boxes, Putlocker and YouTube rips are destroying official anti-piracy efforts". International Business Times. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
- Michaela Whitbourn (17 August 2017). "Film studios and Foxtel win orders blocking 59 pirate websites". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "Man, 22, pleads guilty to illegally uploading 'Deadpool' movie to Facebook". Los Angeles Daily News. 14 June 2018. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- Veronica Rocha (13 June 2017). "Man arrested by feds after 5 million people watched illegal 'Deadpool' upload on his Facebook". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 28 June 2018.
- "22-year-old who admitted uploading 'Deadpool' to Facebook misses bus to LA for sentencing". The_Press-Enterprise. 27 September 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
- "Man gets three-week sentence for uploading 'Deadpool' to Facebook". Los Angeles Daily News. 4 October 2018. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
- Scaria, Arul George (2014). Piracy in the Indian Film Industry: Copyright and Cultural Consonance. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9781107065437.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)