Movie downloads are big business and this has attracted the bottom-feeders who seek to separate you from your money without providing the expected service.
Some of these scammers are no-name operations like moviewatchlist, or movieadobo but others are divisions of well-known operations like Real Networks SuperPass.
These scammers become very visible when there is a big hit like Leonardo DiCaprio's new movie "Inception". When you Google "Inception", you will see web ads that say "Download Inception!".
Here is an example of the bait that is offered:
This can be seen at http://www.moviewatchlist.com/movie-inception
When you click on the Download link, you come to another page that offers TV show downloads and movies (in small type) for one yearly fee. These pages usually say that these are legal downloads not file-sharing downloads, but you will find no current movies in these listings.
This is the beginning of the switch: No major new releases, just TV shows
If you continue to pursue this, you find that you have signed up for a TV download subscription in which you get access to year-old movies. There will be a link somewhere on the page for Inception but it leads to "free downloads" of illegal copies from a bit torrent source. You smack yourself on the forehead and say could have saved yourself the $35 subscription fee and gone straight to the illegal downloads yourself!
So you get your credit card company to refuse the billing because the product was not as described and you go in search of a legal download that you can pay for. It is harder than you think!
I followed many different download links and they all lead eventually to a screen which requires you to sign up for a membership plan with no mention of the movies that you can download. You should notice that there is NO mention of first run movies or major new releases. Zip. Nada. None.
If you sign up for this you will regret it! Do Not Sign Up!
I finally found a movie download review service which I heartily recommend. They review the top ten download services and most offer only niche movies or older mainstream movies.
One exception was CinemaNow and this is what they said about CinemaNow:
For quick, studio backed and legal downloads try CinemaNow. This service offers choices for all ages and all tastes, from Comic Superheroes to Cult Classics to Feature Films.
This service is a bit different from other movie download services, they offer a membership plan, movies for rent and for downloadable purchase (digital sell through). CinemaNow has recently included a “Burn to DVD” section that allows you to burn selected titles and play them on most DVD players.Furthermore, they let you browse their extensive selection without having to register or sign up for a membership-you can see what they offer before making a commitment.
Any "free" offer has a hook in it. It could be spyware that monitors
your online buying activity or malicious malware that destroys you
files. There are also "free" downloads that are paid for by the
advertising inserted into the movie. You don't pay for the download so
you get whatever the provider decides to give you.
The only legitimate download is one which charges a fee for the movie you download. Netflix and Blockbuster offer such a service but it requires special equipment. CinemaNow does not require special equipment ad the rental fees are reasonable: How much does it cost? Renting a movie download typically costs $3.99 to $4.99. Check the title's detail page for actual pricing.