Movie-Piracy App Popcorn Time Is Dead

popcorn time

The anonymous crew behind Popcorn Time, a free app that let users stream a slew of Hollywood hits culled from pirate torrent sites, has pulled the plug on the project less than a week after gaining worldwide attention.

“Popcorn Time is shutting down today,” the app’s Argentina-based developers wrote in a message on its website Friday. “Not because we ran out of energy, commitment, focus or allies. But because we need to move on with our lives.”

The move comes after Popcorn Time’s app was removed Wednesday by its hosting provider, New Zealand-based file website Mega, for violations of the terms of service. Mega is run by Kim Dotcom, the notorious mastermind behind Megaupload, a cyberlocker that U.S. authorities shut down in January 2012.

Popcorn Time — described as a Netflix for pirated films — presented a menu of movies with official movie-poster art, including recent releases like “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire,” “American Hustle,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Frozen” and “Dallas Buyers Club.” The films were obtained from torrent piracy sites like the Pirate Bay. But instead of requiring users to download files via a BitTorrent client, the Popcorn Time software was set up to find the selected titles from torrent directories and began streaming titles a few seconds after a user clicked on them.

The group, which said its members are based in Buenos Aires, insisted even at the end that the open-source software they created was legal since they weren’t making money on it. In the statement Friday, the Popcorn Time collective said: “Our experiment has put us at the doors of endless debates about piracy and copyright, legal threats and the shady machinery that makes us feel in danger for doing what we love. And that’s not a battle we want a place in.”

In the farewell note, Popcorn Time complained that Hollywood “has way too many ridiculous restrictions on way too many markets” and that movie studios have an “antique recipe to collect value.” Such arguments have long been used by digital pirates to justify illegally downloading or streaming copyrighted material.

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  1. Yiannis V says:

    “Make a decent product and charge a decent price and people will pay for it.” This is a claim made by piracy advocates all the time. Look at U2’s latest album on iTunes. Free to iPhone users. How much easier and affordable can that get. Within minutes it was pirated all over the web

  2. Jovany says:

    wow… i actually thought there is no hope… but this time4popcorn thing really works

  3. Bill says:

    It is definitely not dead!!!
    Here is a link the a group of people announced that they are going to continue developing the app.

  4. Karl Johnson says:

    Most movies coming out of Hollywood these days aren’t worth watching.
    Not at $10+ in the theatre, nor at $20 for a DVD.
    Crews are underpaid, yes.
    Some directors are overpaid.
    And waaay too many crappy actors are overpaid [some good ones too].
    Too many Producers and Studio execs have [no taste or] no real taste for anything different and new, it always has to be a rehash of something that has already been done before, again and again.
    Yes it is a business, but it is poorly run.

  5. DG says:

    Yeah, right. Make Hollywood the bad guy. We only spend hundreds of millions of dollars making a movie and we’re demonized for wanting to actually make people “pay” to see it. What part of movie “business” do they not understand?

    Of course, much of their misguided attitude is Hollywood’s own fault–with its flaunting of inflated budgets and the salaries of overpaid “names” to the general public in endless entertainment “news” shows.

    The general public in OshKosh even believes that all crew people out here are lavishly paid. If only they knew the truth. But when we try to tell them, they just laugh at us.

    And all that, coupled with fairly high theater ticket prices–well, it’s no wonder they think that pirating is an entitlement for them.

    • Chrys Alice says:

      What you have just done is called “comically missing the point”. You fail to see that Hollywood is only the bad buy because they insist on being so.

      Who insists on maintaining an antique of a business model when technology has progressed that it is ludicrous?

      Who enforces said business model through consumer-unfriendly practices such as promoting DRM, refusing to allow people to exercise their legal rights with the products they purchase?

      Who spends millions on suing individual people for wanting to watch a film when they want to, when it is literally impossible for them to do so legally?

      iTunes, Netflix, and Popcorn Time all prove the same point. Make a decent product and charge a decent price and people will pay for it. Try to keep your customers in the technological dark ages to protect your own profit margins and you will be subject to folks undermining your plans.

      • password says:

        I wish the entertainment cartel only used DRM to prop up their obsolete business model. Don’t forget the millions they spend purchasing congress-people.

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