You gathered your buddies and get settled for a nice and quiet movie night. The problem is that your favorite movie app isn’t working.
What happened to CotoMovies? And will it come back?
The short answer is that CotoMovies is permanently shut down due to copyright infringement. Whether or not it will be back as it was or come back under a different name is still up in the air.
So, before you download a new movie app, find out how to recognize if they’re operating on the up and up.
Five Signs Your Streaming App Is Illegal
CotoMovies agreed to hand over user data to the authorities. That means that users may also end up in a heap of legal trouble for watching these illegal movies.
Maybe you didn’t know that the app was operating illegally?
If so, you’re not the only one.
Fortunately, some signs can tell you whether an app is operating above board or skirting that line into the infringement category.
1. Vigorous VPN Promotion
Generally, using a VPN  online is a good idea because you never know who’s spying on your activity. However, beware of apps that go beyond mere suggestion.
Ads for VPN  services may raise a few eyebrows but be careful about apps that want you to download their VPN  to watch their movies. Or those that may ask you to sign-up for a third-party service.
Either way, they want you to help cover their tracks and that doesn’t bode well for either them or you. The silly part about their intent to hide is that VPNs don’t actually protect you anyway. Federal agencies can still track you down via your IP address.
Remember who the real culprit is…
VPNs by themselves are not a bad thing. However, you should exercise caution using any app that tells you to turn on a VPN each time you try to watch something.
2. Disclaimers for Potential Copyrighted Material
When you watch movies online, you automatically assume that the website has a right to show them. After all, they took the time to procure them. Surely, they obtained the proper rights to host it, right?
App owners have found a way around any wrongdoing by getting videos through a “third-party resource.” They make a point to tell you about it via a disclaimer that states that it’s not their fault if there’s a copyrighted video in their catalog.
If they don’t host the illegal content, they’re not responsible for it. But what they don’t tell you is that you, as the user, are responsible if you choose to watch it.
3. No Contact Information
Keeping things hidden is the name of the game when it comes to illegal apps. They want you to hide your IP address from internet providers and authorities. And they, in turn, keep themselves hidden from people trying to contact them.
If they were legit, they’d have nothing to hide.
So, if you go to the “About Us” or “Contact Us” page and find there is no way to contact them, that’s a blatant warning to you. You need to look for apps that have clear ways to communicate with them, whether that’s an email address or a phone number.
4. Follow the Money
Streaming platforms need to make money to operate.
If an app offers free streaming, look for click ads or commercials. If an app isn’t making you pay a subscription, a legal one makes money through advertisements.
But all ads are not created equal.
Pop-ups that you can’t “X” out of, surveys, and other “Click Me” ads in excess are a dead give away that the app may not be above board. Legitimate apps tend to stick to the occasional ad or in-video commercials during a stream.
5. Brand New Movies in the Library
Do you see movies that were just in the theater recently? Or maybe movies that you know have just come to DVD?
If so, you may be dealing with an illegal streaming app.
Legitimate ones rarely gain permission to show new movies online. If you want to avoid treading those illegal waters, look for apps that offer movies that are a few years old.
To Stream or Not to Stream
Don’t let a few bad actors ruin your streaming experience. CotoMovies may be gone, but there are plenty of other movie streaming platforms to choose from.
Just remember that there are just as many illegal apps as there are legal ones. Do your research and look for the warning signs. The last thing you want to do is pay a fine or end up with jail time for a two-hour movie.
Have you ever found yourself on an illegal streaming site? What happened? Tell us about it in the comments section below.