PopcornTime.sh is a new fork of the popular torrenting application, Popcorn Time. The developers have announced that they are from members of the original team that created PopcornTime.io, which was later shut down by the MPAA. However, not everyone is certain if they believe this new website’s claims. What is PopcornTime.sh? Is it really connected to the former site or is it a copycat? What does this new domain mean in relation to all the other Popcorn Time domains? Figuring out the complex connections among the domains, including popcorntime.sh, popcorntime.ag, popcorn-time.se, popcorntime.ml, and others is confusing and difficult.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. PopcornTime.sh Claims It Was Made By the Developers of the Original PopcornTime.io
The domain PopcornTime.sh surfaced this month with claims that the team was part of the original PopcornTime.io. According to TorrentFreak, people who were using outdated versions of PopcornTime.io got updates labeled “Hail Hydra” when the application started working again. The team members have not released their names, probably due to the MPAA crackdown.
Other signs that this may be connected to the original team is that the official GitHub repository for PopcornTime.io was updated with a new version that points to PopcornTime.sh. The official Popcorn Time Twitter account also supports PopcornTime.sh:
Back in October 2015, the Twitter account had posted this message:
This version of PopcornTime has said it’s not focused on active development but, instead, is utilizing “resilience-driven” development. According to the blog, this means they’ll fix urgent bugs, but are really just focusing on offering a streaming application without ads.
2. Meanwhile, the Owners of PopcornTime.ag Claim the .sh Version Is Controlled by the MPAA
Meanwhile, debates about Popcorn Time’s various versions are growing heated on Reddit. A subreddit community, PopcornTimeCE, which supports PopcornTime.ag, posted a discussion last week claiming that PopcornTime.sh is owned by the MPAA to track pirates. The moderator noted that PopcornTime.sh uses four nameservers (ptn.sh, ptn.re, ptn.wf, and ptm.pm) that are controlled by the MPAA. The moderator noted that it was possible the MPAA set up the site as a honeypot to track users. On competing subreddits, posters decried this discussion thread and said it was a smear campaign to try to get people to use PopcornTime.ag.
TorrentFreak also reported that the code used to update the old PopcornTime application (connected to PopcornTime.sh), used the its.pt domain, which uses four nameservers owned by the MPAA. However, TorrentFreak noted that the MPAA “probably isn’t behind the comeback.”
3. PopcornTime.io Was Shut Down by the MPAA Last Year
Popcorn Time’s original fork, PopcornTime,io, was shut down after the developers were hit by a lawsuit from the MPAA. The MPAA had filed a lawsuit in Canada against key developers, including VPN.ht in the injunction. The lawsuit was filed around the same time that a suit was filed agains the YTS operator in New Zealand. Earlier in 2015, the MPAA also brought down MovieTube. Chris Dodd, president of MPAA, 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…”
4. One of the Original Popcorn Time Developers Said He Isn’t Part of the New Spinoff
An original Popcorn Time developer who goes by the name of Wally had told TorrentFreak that he was working on a comeback. His name was mentioned in the MPAA’s complaint, but he wasn’t sued by the MPAA. He has said, to both TorrentFreak and on Reddit, that he’s not involved in PopcornTime.sh.
PopcornTime.sh is based on code from Popcorn Time’s spinoff, Butter. ButterProject.org claims to be a legal, open source project that lets people contribute to desktop and mobile apps that stream movies and shows.
5. It’s Unknown Which, If Any, Domains Are ‘Safe’ Or Really Connected to the Original Team
With no official names and no way to confirm who developed what, it’s unknown if any of the PopcornTime domains were created by members of the original team or if they are “trustworthy” to use. Reddit debates are heated, with different subreddits’ supporting different versions and claiming the other versions can’t be trusted.
The main versions of Popcorn Time include:
- PopcornTime.sh (just released and claiming to be from the original team)
- PopcornTime.ag (in direct competition with the .sh and part of the Reddit “battle”)
- PopcornTime.io (taken down by the MPAA)
- Popcorn-Time.to and Popcorn-Time.se (Time4Popcorn: The PopcornTime subreddit claims it’s insecure and infected with malware, while TorrentFreak has said this isn’t confirmed and it’s the most consistent application)
- PopcornTimeCE.ch (a community edition that supports the .sh version),
It’s important to note that none of these domains are legal, however. They all stream copyrighted content and could likely be targeted by the MPAA (if they aren’t, as some rumors suggest, already controlled by the MPAA.) If you want to stream TV shows and movies legally, subscribe to services like Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.