Barely four days after a torrent-based movie streaming site was launched, it has been shut down. The closing of the open source project, called Popcorn Time, is unfortunately not surprising due to its legal issues with copyrighted content.
Just days after it was launched with almost no buzz surrounding it, word spread fast about its unique offering to users. This made the project an overnight success. The interface was bright and easy to navigate, and the project was thus said to be a mix of Netflix and BitTorrent. The Popcorn Time software used the BitTorrent network to download and share new copyrighted movies. After the user viewed the movie, all traces of it would be erased on restarting the computer.
The creators of Popcorn time were very proud of the project, despite the problems faced. The project had the merit of being installed by users on every single country in the world, including two that did not have access to the internet. This enormous reach gave the makers direct access to vast numbers of people.
Though they always stressed that Popcorn Time was legal, incessant questioning of this legality put pressure on them and their method of working. Though the creators of the site described in detail the immense popularity of Popcorn Time as a project, the post concluded negatively.
In it, the creators said, “Popcorn Time is shutting down today, not because we ran out of energy, commitment, focus or allies. But because we need to move on with our lives. 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.”
It was certain that the project was going to come under fire by various copyright and internet monitoring organizations, in various countries. According to Popcorn Time, their effort was brought down by pro-copyright agencies.
Calling the film industry old fashioned, the makers said that they learned the cost of standing against them. Their last post also criticizes the restrictions imposed by the industry, since many of the project’s users lived in countries where it was impossible to buy movies even if they were not as new. It even argues that people deserved to avail of better treatment in this regard.
The revolutionary program that feasibly enabled the piracy of film is currently out of commission. For now, the Popcorn Time project, as it used to exist, is gone, and the website that displayed its movie-streaming ability has been reduced to a mere blog post. The link to download the installer that sourced movies is also gone, along with most of the files.
It is to be noted, though, that nothing ever completely disappears from the internet. Since Popcorn Time’s code was made public and open-source by its developers, there was scope for somebody else to bring it back on, albeit to function in a legal manner. However, the real question was whether any developer with the code would choose to do so.
The movie installer that Popcorn Time offered can still be procured on many torrent sites. It is believed that though the software has been officially shut down, downloads of this installer will continue. This is because of the fact that there is a demand for such a project, due to its resounding but short-lived success.