Illegal movie streaming service 123Movies.to announced it is suspending operations.
The three-year-old platform, which also operated under the banner “GoMovies,” among other identities, made the announcement on its homepage. No reason for the shutdown was given.
“We’ve been providing links to movies and [TV] shows for years. Now it’s time to say goodbye. Thank you for being our friends and thanks for staying with us that long.”
The Vietnam-based service – dubbed by the Motion Picture Association of America as the “world’s most popular illegal site” – claimed 98 million visitors monthly.
Rival Pirate Bay claims monthly visitors of more than 280 million.
Regardless, the announcement followed a recent visit by Jan Van Voorn, chief of global content protection with the MPAA, to the communist country where he reportedly worked with the Office of the Police Investigation Agency to fight piracy.
Apparently 123Movies felt the heat. It urged visitors going forward to pay for movies and TV shows.
“That’s what we should do to show our respect to people behind the movies/shows,” read the message.