A popular pirate streaming site, which allowed people to watch the latest Hollywood movies without paying has announced plans to shutdown.
123Movies, which allowed users to watch premium content free of charge announced the closure on its website.
The illegal site, which is one of the largest of its kind, will shutdown by the end of this week, it confirmed.
123Movies also urged people to stop using the site immediately and instead encouraged its users to support Hollywood and the movie industry by paying and watching content via legitimate and legal means.
“We’ve been providing links to movies and shows for years. Now it’s time to say goodbye,” read a message on the 123Movies site.
“Thank you for being our friends and thanks for staying with us that long.”
“Please pay for the movies/shows, that’s what we should do to show our respect to people behind the movies/shows,” it advised.
Earlier this week, 123Movies, which is operated from Vietnam and boasted 98 million viewers every month, was branded the “most popular illegal site in the world” by the Motion Picture Association of America.
MPAA Executive Vice President & Chief of Global Content Protection, Jan van Voorn said: “Right now, the most popular illegal site in the world, 123movies.to (at this point), is operated from Vietnam, and has 98 million visitors a month.”
Despite only being established three years ago the site has amassed a huge amount of viewers.
Last year the US Ambassador to Vietnam lobbied the government to prosecute the operators of the site.
The reason for the closure is not known, although speculation online suggested that legal pressure may have finally forced the operators of 123Movies to close the site.