I stream movies & TV shows on the internet. I can't afford cable and the antenna is useless where I live.
I do however, Pay for Internet Access. Every month I pay $50 for access to the World Wide Web.
I can view anything from pictures to literature to movies to music sites. As long as there is no additional fee the site is included in my monthy purchase. I paid to see it. Yes, I even paid to see the CoolSciFi website.
The way I see it. As long as you are not trying to make money or steal someone elses work for your own, and you paid to see it, Why can't you watch or listen to the content?
When I load an artists webpage and I view their works I am not stealing their work. If I tell someone about the website and show them a picture as an example, I am advertising for the artist. I am attempting to drive viewers to their website. I am promoting their works. If anything they should be paying me for promoting their sites. If nobody knows about something and you show them are you not doing the creator a service?
When I turn on the radio, as a listener, I get to hear music for the price of some electricity or batteries and the cost of a reciever. I don't get a bill for each song I heard. I don't pay a fee for the station. If I choose, I can record anything I want anytime I want. For my own personal use. As long as I don't attempt to make money or claim the song as my own, I am not violating anyones rights. When I go to Last.FM or Pandora I can listen to music. The music I want to hear. I can find music videos on YouTube easily. I can record them and play them to my hearts content as long as I don't try to make money from them or try to take ownership of them.
If I gave you all my CDs that I have collected all these years and didn't ask for nor accept a single penny, I am still not violating anyones work. What you do with them after you have possession is on you.
When you load up a website, As far as I know, You are downloading it to your browser cache. You are also uploading your cookies to them. Technically, everything you view on the internet is downloaded. Your browser cache gets purged when you close it but you still downloaded it. Do you own it. Technically yes while it is in your cache it is yours. The content isn't tho, That still belongs to the creator.
Have you ever saved a webpage for offline viewing? Thats downloading. You can send that page by email to your friend, Edit elements out of it and add things to it. It's yours. As long as you don't republish the page as your own or try to make money from it there is no violation.
When you visit a website that has links to streaming movies that website is not stealing someone elses work. It is but an index to sources of host providers that stream files. As long as you are not being charged for the right to click the link they are not in any violation of any laws. You may choose to click thru or not.
When you visit a host provider and see the streaming video awaiting you to click to play the movie or show you are still not stealing anything. When you click play and let it buffer and the movie starts to play, you are not stealing anything. You are viewing content on the world wide web and you paid to do so when you paid your access fee. You can download the content for offline viewing just like any other webpage. As long as you don't attempt to sell it or call it your own you violate nothing.
The violation comes into affect when a streaming host or other host provider attempts to make money off someone elses work or attempts to steal creativity from someone. If you are being asked to pay for the right to view or download the provider is making money from it. When the provider makes money from the ads generated by site hits it is in violation. You are not making any money. They are.