The ShowBox app has had a huge user base across the globe. But the free media streaming app stopped working for users more than a week ago. There is no word for developers yet, but most people it is being shut down. The ShowBox outage has prompted people to download its popular alternatives such as Popcorn Time, Playbox HD, Megabox HD, Cinemabox, Sky HD, and others. But downloading the ShowBox app or one of its alternatives could land you in big trouble. Let me explain why.
ShowBox app and others are illegal to use
As popular and safe to use as they may be, ShowBox and other similar apps are borderline illegal. They let you stream TV shows and movies or download them for offline viewing – all for free. You don’t have to pay a dime. That’s where the trouble lies. They don’t own rights to the content available on their platforms. They stream content through torrents and other direct sources – which is illegal.
That’s the reason the ShowBox app and most of its alternatives are not available on the Google Play Store. They distribute content they don’t have rights to, violating Google’s Play Store policies. You have to download the said app’s APK from one of the various websites and then install it on your device. Apps downloaded from outside the Play Store could contain malware or viruses to steal your personal data.
I’m not saying they are downright unsafe to use, most of them are safe. But there is always the risk of malware attacks when you download apps from third-party sources. There is no guarantee that you are installing a clean and safe version of the app. Therefore it’s much better to pay for streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO than use services like ShowBox.
Hollywood studios, producers are also targeting users
Malware attack is not the only risk you face. Hollywood studios and other producers that spent millions of dollars creating content have been filing lawsuits against ShowBox app and many others to prevent them from illegally distributing their copyrighted material. In May, Hollywood studios sued ShowBox developers and distributors over copyright infringement. Distributors are the websites where you go to download the APK file on your device.
As Piunikaweb points out, the lawsuit named many distributors. It also included inputs from a regular ShowBox user who said the language on a distributor’s website made them believe that the ShowBox app was a legal way to watch free movies and TV shows. The studios had also forced GoDaddy and CloudFlare to reveal the names of people behind certain distributor websites.
Recently, the websites distributing and promoting ShowBox reached a settlement with Hollywood studios. As part of the agreement, the websites started warning users that if you use ShowBox, the movie studios would be able to see your IP address and your viewing history. They also warned that movie studios “are filing lawsuits against users of ShowBox app.” It means if you use ShowBox to stream copyrighted content, the studios might slap you with a lawsuit. Users of other such apps may face a similar risk.
The ShowBox app stopped working just days after the legal troubles began flaring. Even if the developers bring back the app to life, you should avoid using it – not just because you could face a lawsuit but also because you’d be promoting piracy by using such apps. There is a good chance the distributing websites would eventually share your IP address and other details with the copyright owners.