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Watching PrimeWire safely. Should you refrain from using it?

Last edited: October 15, 2020
Reading time: 7 minutes, 15 seconds
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Is watching PrimeWire legal, and are there alternatives? A short summary

Free streaming services like PrimeWire might seem very attractive, as thousands of movies and TV series are freely available. There are some disadvantages, however, among them the following:

  • Services like PrimeWire are illegal in most countries. This can lead to users getting fined.
  • PrimeWire and comparable websites are far from safe. Malware, like adware and viruses are not uncommon on these platforms.
  • These websites can often only be accessed through mirrors, which means that you don’t really know what could happen with your personal data. You might be tracked or your data could be stolen.

Some people use a VPN to secure their connection and protect their privacy when using PrimeWire. A popular VPN for this purpose is NordVPN. Even though your identity is protected with a VPN, it might be wise to check the legality of using PrimeWire in your country first. If need be, there are many good alternatives for PrimeWire.

Do you want to know more about the (dis)advantages of PrimeWire, and what legal alternatives there are? We’ll tell you all about it in the rest of the article below.

PrimeWire is a popular free online streaming service for TV series and movies, comparable to Putlocker. Thousands of movies and series for which you would normally have to pay are available for free on the platform. The website was also known under the names LetMeWatchThis and 1Channel, which later changed to PrimeWire.

PrimeWire comes with some significant disadvantages. For one thing, the service works with popup ads, which can be anything from normal ads to ads for porn. In addition, clicking on the wrong link could lead to downloading malware, like data stealers. In this article, we discuss the legality of the service and the risks of using PrimeWire.

Is it illegal to use PrimeWire?

Just like 123movies or Putlocker, PrimeWire is not allowed in most cases. Because there is a difference between streaming and downloading, many people think that streaming is legal. However, both forms of piracy are illegal. The reason is that, even though streamed content disappears from your device after watching, you are still infringing copyright laws by not paying the creators.

Moreover, the tactic used by PrimeWire is to be a hub for content that is streamed from several different locations on the (deep) web. The problem is that none of those sources are legitimate. This means that authorities could prosecute you for breaching copyright law, if this is illegal in your country. For more information on how countries prosecute illegal downloading, read our article on the rules and fines involved in downloading.

If you are caught downloading or streaming a copyrighted movie or TV series, you can be fined quite heavily. For example, fines for piracy in Germany can go as high as a thousand euros or more. In the US you could, in theory, get a fine of hundreds of thousands of dollars, or even five years of jail. In practice, extreme penalties like the latter probably won’t happen often, but being careful never hurts. See below for an overview of the situation in a lot of countries:

Legal stance Countries
Pirating is legal or allowed (for personal use) Poland, Spain, Switzerland
Pirating is illegal Australia, China, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, United States
Pirating is illegal, but no active prosecution Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Columbia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Greece, India, Israel, Iran, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Uruguay

Important note: streaming and downloading of copyrighted content is not allowed in most countries. Streaming basically means that you temporarily download something to watch it immediately. The moment you leave the stream, the downloaded content is lost. This does not mean however that it is not just as illegal as downloading files that you keep on your computer. The fact that you don’t ‘save’ copyrighted content on your device shouldn’t matter.

How secure is PrimeWire and how to watch it safely

As you can see in the table above, some countries do not actively prosecute users of free streaming services like Primewire. Other countries even allow piracy for personal use. This does not mean that PrimeWire is safe in those countries, however; it only means that you probably won’t get fined.

Your biggest worry might not even be possible prosecution for using PrimeWire. Another realistic threat is that viruses and other malware could theoretically invade your computer through one wrong click. PrimeWire does not use legitimate sources for its content, after all. In general, we recommend using good anti-malware or anti-virus software like BitDefender. It will help to prevent yourself from downloading more than you bargained for.

Also, if you are going to use PrimeWire, we strongly advise you to use a VPN. A VPN hides your IP and other data, to make it unrecognizable for external parties. As a VPN encrypts all your internet traffic, your computer takes on the IP address of the VPN server to which you are connected. Basically, you cover your tracks by pretending that you are surfing the web from a different location than where you actually are. A very user-friendly VPN, which we recommend for casual users, is NordVPN:

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Primewire mirrors

Apart from viruses, you could even be identified by external parties through the website, which could lead to identity fraud. This fact is exacerbated by the fact that the original PrimeWire does not exist anymore at this point; there are only mirrors. Mirrors are other domains that provide a copy of PrimeWire on a different server.

Even though a VPN and anti-virus software can go a long way to create safer conditions, PrimeWire is not an optimal choice for streaming. Sadly, free and legal streaming services which can compete with the likes of Netflix or Amazon Prime don’t exist. We can, however, advise you on how to choose a paid alternative. Popular streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus and HBO Now all have their own catalog, so your choice depends on the available content and the price you want to pay.

Streaming services like Hulu and YouTube TV are more focused on network tv shows, with a fair amount of on-demand content as a bonus. Sling TV is a popular service in the US, which lets you stream network TV to whichever device you choose. Most of these stream from anywhere in the world, but a VPN lets you watch Hulu anywhere. To summarize, which streaming service is best for you takes some research. The price of a subscription and the available content are the most important factors in making your choice.

An overview of the best choices for streaming, in our opinion:

Streaming service Specifics
Netflix Netflix offers a very broad selection of series and movies. The service leads the streaming market, so for many people it is the first choice. You can increase your Netflix catalog by using a VPN, as the service offers different content in different countries.
Amazon Prime Video Amazon Prime Video is a cheaper alternative to Netflix. The content catalog is smaller, however.
Disney Plus Disney Plus is more specialized; instead of a huge amount of movies and shows from, Disney Plus simply offers all things Disney. This means that popular titles such as Aladdin are available (both the new and the old version), in addition to all kinds of family-friendly Disney shows and movies.
HBO Now HBO Now is very similar to Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, but only for HBO shows.  HBO Now offers some of the most critically acclaimed shows. Think of Band of Brothers,  The Wire, The Sopranos and Game of Thrones. Recently, HBO has also launched its own full streaming service under the name HBO Max.
Hulu Hulu is a good alternative if you want to watch live sports, as they’ve recently added streams of live sporting events. Hulu is a little cheaper than Netflix, but there are less movies and shows available. In some countries Hulu is not available, in which case you need a VPN to access Hulu.
YouTube TV YouTube TV is one of the more expensive streaming services, because it gives you access to over 70 different TV networks. In one package, you can watch channels like Fox, ESPN, ABC and CBS.
Sling TV Sling TV is comparable to YouTube TV. It gives you access to a lot of different television networks, and it is also only available in the US. The difference is that Sling TV lets you combine several channels by choice, instead of all channels.

Saving money

In addition, there are a lot of ways in which you can save money when choosing a streaming service. For example, using a VPN server in countries where subscriptions are cheaper is a handy way of decreasing your monthly fee. Also, if a certain discount is only available in the UK, but you live in the US, you can connect to a British server and pay the reduced price. For tips and tricks, read our article on how to save money by using a VPN service.

Final Thoughts

PrimeWire is one of the many free streaming services which operate in an illegal area. Therefore, we advise you to use one of the many (paid and legal) alternatives. Often, you can save money by using a VPN and choosing a server in a country with cheaper subscriptions.

Disclaimer: the article above is meant as purely informational. The VPNoverview team is not made up of lawyers, and this isn’t legal advice, so don’t take the article as such. Every country has its own laws, which change constantly. If you have any further questions regarding rules and regulations in your country, please consult a local expert.

PrimeWire - Frequently Asked Questions

Do you need a quick solution to your problem? Check our frequently asked questions and your question might be answered in no time. If you have a question and don’t see the answer, feel free to leave us a comment.

No, PrimeWire is not legal in most countries (there are some exceptions though). Streaming services frequently illegally facilitate downloading TV series or movies, which infringes on copyright laws. It does not matter if the video file was never actually on your device; not paying for paid content is not allowed. Some users therefore even resort to using a VPN to stay anonymous when using streaming services like PrimeWire.

If you are caught downloading or streaming copyrighted content, you can be fined quite heavily. Many countries do not prosecute illegal streaming, but some countries do actively fine internet pirates. Each country has different laws in this regard; read our article on fines for downloading if you want to know more.

Paid streaming services like Netflix, Disney Plus, Amazon Prime, Hulu and HBO now are the easiest ways to access online content legally. In addition, with services like Sling, you can stream network TV to whichever device you want. Sadly, free legal alternatives do not exist in many countries.

Free online streaming services like PrimeWire always come with risks; malware is one of them. Clicking on the wrong popup ads on PrimeWire can result in viruses, adware or other malicious software being downloaded to your device.

As PrimeWire is illegal in many countries, governments can force ISPs to block the website. Because the site is blocked through internet providers, nobody can access them in the first place. This does often lead to mirror versions, however, which might be even less safe than the original website.

Tech journalist
Erik was educated in the humanities, after which he started to investigate technological and online culture. Specifically, he is interested in privacy and net neutrality. Erik has worked as an editor, copywriter and translator for several platforms, with technology as a recurring theme.

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