Milan Kragujevic, the creator of BrowserPopcorn, has shut the site down after warnings from the MPAA. Kragujevic is a 15-year-old programmer from Serbia who gained quick attention when he created a streaming version of Popcorn Time. The site was quickly shut down after only being live for a couple days. BroswerPopcorn’s issues are not the same as the issues that Popcorntime.io is currently experiencing, which are explained in fact 5.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Milan Kragujevic Created the Streaming Site That Provided a Browser-Based Popcorn Time Experience
BrowserPopcorn.xyz was a streaming site that let people use Popcorn Time through a browser-based format. It was only up for about a weekend and had already gotten the nickname “Netflix for Pirates.” BrowserPopcorn eliminated the need to download an app and let people stream Popcorn Time’s (mostly illegal) torrented movies through a web browser, BGR reported. The most popular movies were shown on the homepage, and you could also search for movies based on categories. It was set up very similarly to Netflix.
However, as TorrentFreak pointed out, BrowserPopcorn streamed movies from its own servers, similar to YouTube, and might have quickly fallen apart as it got more popular since Kragujevic was only using six dedicated servers. However, people who used BrowserPopcorn loved it. On a Hacker News discussion thread, one poster wrote that he expected it not to work because streaming was terrible where he lived, but this site even worked on his phone.
2. He Shut It Down After Receiving Warnings From the MPAA
Kragujevic shut down the website after receiving a cease and desist letter from the MPAA, The Verge reported. The MPAA may have also approached the site’s domain registrar and hosting provider. When first shut down, the site had a message that read: “MPAA, y u gotta ruin everything?” The site now reads, instead, that he’s distancing himself from BrowserPopcorn because he didn’t intend to get into a piracy battle:
This was never intended to be a battle for piracy, more of an experiment with the streaming technology.”
He goes on to say that great alternatives to piracy include iTunes and Netflix. According to Motherboard, he may be creating a legal movie recommendation source soon. A few days earlier, Kragujevic posted about piracy issues on ProductHunt. He wrote that he lives in a country where copyright law almost doesn’t exist and he’ll keep moving domains despite threats of lawsuits. He added:
I don’t care about how that’s “impossible”. If they don’t realize that, they’re going to be “battling” piracy forever, and piracy always wins. You cut off one head, 5 more grow out.
It appears that later, after more pressure from the MPAA, he may have been forced to change his mind.
3. Kragujevic Has Worked on Similar Sites in the Past And Created a Local Version of BrowserPopcorn
According to Kragujevic’s website, he’s a 15-year-old programmer from Serbia who likes to test ideas and see if they work. His website shows that he’s worked on many sites besides BrowserPopcorn, such as a redesign of Hacker News, a YouTube redesign, and an RC Reviews blog. Some of his posts on Hacker News indicate that he may have worked with sites similar to BrowserPopcorn, such as sites called iflix and movbucket. On ProductHunt, MovBucket is described as a site where you can “instantly stream torrents in the browser for free.”
Before closing down BrowserPopcorn, Kragujevic created a local version that users can download. He said on the website that you have to run the server yourself and it doesn’t work on Linux or Mac.
4. Kragujevic Is Using His Newfound Popularity to Look for New Work
Kragujevic is taking advantage of his brief fame from BrowserPopcorn to make himself available for work. On the BrowserPopcorn website, he includes a link to his email and the note, “If you’re looking for someone who is familiar with streaming technology, you might want to hire me.” On his website, he also mentions a few things about his likes and dislikes, such as liking Iron Maiden, Metallica, RC quadcopters, anime and drama. He mentions that he’s a bit of a loner and really doesn’t want to go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. He said that he’s attending the the Electrotechnic School “Nikola Tesla” in Kostolac.
5. Popcorntime.io Is Experiencing Different Issues Unrelated to BrowserPopcorn
A popular website, Popcorntime.io, was experiencing issues unrelated to BrowserPopcorn. The site was completely down for a few hours due to restructuring, as reported on a related subreddit. The moderator of that subreddit mentioned that they didn’t know it was going down today, just that it would happen soon. You can find the current maintenance status of the site by visiting this link. The site appears to be back up, but its Twitter feed and Facebook page have been removed.
There have been rumblings that Popcorntime.io might be taken down completely. The team behind the site recently broke up, Network World reported. The breakup was due to a disagreement about money and a possible Hollywood lawsuit. Two days ago, Popcorntime blogged about this happening, mentioning that three members were leaving the project, two others were no longer part of the team, and a new restructuring was in place.
Of course, the current iterations of Popcorn Time aren’t even the original form. The original Popcorn Time software became popular very fast, and then was taken down in March 2014 after pressure from the MPAA. Several iterations of the same name have been created since. Popcorn Time and all its iterations have been coming under intense legal scrutiny of late.