Popcorn Time’s most popular fork, PopcornTime.io, was shut down after facing a lawsuit from the MPAA in Canada. Since then, Popcorn Time alternatives have been popped up and then are quickly taken back down after receiving warnings from the Motion Picture Association. A new alternative, Popa.cr, was one of these but it was recently revived. In addition, a member of the Popcorn Time team has plans to try reviving the site again in the near future.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Popa.cr, a Popcorn Time Alternative, Received an MPA Notice Hours After Going Online
A website inspired by Popcorn Time, Popa.cr, launched this week using the popular Popcorn theme with a streaming interface. Within hours of the site being advertised online, the Motion Picture Association emailed the site operator, TorrentFreak reported. The email stated that the operator might be liable under European law. The email stated, in part:
This Notice requires you to immediately (within 24 hours) take effective measures to end and prevent further copyright infringement. All opportunities provided by the Website to download, stream or otherwise obtain access to the Entertainment Content should be disabled permanently…”
After a few hours, the operator took the site down.
2. The Owner Sold the Domain and It’s Back Up, At Least For Now
The owner of Popa.cr sold the domain. The new operator, TorrentFreak reported, has relaunched the site and it’s currently up and running online. The site will likely also get a notice from the MPA. TorrentFreak noted that the MPA emailed them, saying the lawsuits are part of a strategy to encourage consumers to use legal sources and to cut down on copyright infringement.
Meanwhile, an .se fork of Popcorn Time also still exists at Popcorn-Time.se (also known as Time 4 Popcorn). According to Reddit users, however, this site has lower quality, bad subtitles, malware, adware, and possible viruses. This comment goes into detail about why people don’t like the se fork. However, not everyone agrees with the assessment and some people think the site is OK to use.
3. The Original Popcorn Time Developer Plans to Revive the Site
Meanwhile, the original developer of Popcorn Time has plans to revive the site eventually. Wally, the original developer, told TorrentFreak he could eventually bring back the site completely, but he won’t release anything unless it’s a complete comeback which includes domains that might be taken over by the MPAA. In the meantime, he founded a service called VPN.ht that released a fix allowing users to access the Popcorn Time website and client.
Reddit users also created a workaround for the Popcorn Time app that uses TorrentsAPI as a movie provider instead of YTS. BREIN, an anti-piracy group, tracked down two Dutch developers who had created a Popcorn Time alternative, using GitHub to submit code, and reached a settlement with them to stop their development. It’s unclear if this is the same group that created a workaround on Reddit, but according to BREIN, the developers they contacted did advertise their success on Reddit.
4. Popcorn Time Was Taken Down After Being Hit By an MPAA Lawsuit
However, all this could come to an end, since Popcorn Time’s popular fork, PopcornTime.io, already went down after being hit by a lawsuit from the MPAA. The MPAA had filed a lawsuit in Canada against several key developers and included VPN.ht in its injunction. The lawsuit was filed around the same time that a suit was filed against the operator of YTS in New Zealand. The MPAA brought down MovieTube earlier this year. MPAA president Chris Dodd said of the lawsuits:
This coordinated legal action is part of a larger comprehensive approach being taken by the MPAA and its international affiliates to combat content theft…”
5. Movie Producers Are Interrogating People Who Stream Using Popcorn Time Services
Some people who stream using Popcorn Time services are starting to be interrogated. Producers of Adam Sandler’s movie The Cobbler got permission from an Oregon federal court to interrogate four people who have used the Popcorn service, The Next Web reported. The film studio listed numerous IP addresses that had streamed the movie in its lawsuit. The subpoena, which you can read here, says that subscribers must name everyone who had access to the Comcast accounts. It’s possible that we’ll see more lawsuits and interrogations like these in the future.