Advertised as the ‘Netflix for pirates,’ the Popcorn Time illegal streaming service may be trying to make a comeback, after being shut down in 2015. This is bound to be a massive headache for paid streaming services like Netflix and Disney+ as well as for movie studios.
The movie piracy platform has struggled since its initial launch in 2014. Within a year, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) shuttered it within a year, and copies of the original service continued in various forms—some of them even adding features—but were continually chased by the authorities. Now, the creators have plans to resurrect their website.
The unauthorized service models itself on Netflix, offering its users a large library of films and TV shows that can be streamed on a web browser or mobile apps, available for both iOS and Android. But instead of charging a monthly fee for streaming, as Netflix does, Popcorn Time was free.
Also, unlike Netflix, Popcorn time was illegal since viewers did not have permission from the copyright holders to watch the content. In the U.K., illegal viewing of shows and films can incur pricy fines and potentially even prison. It also reduces official viewing numbers as well as revenue, which can cause companies to cancel plans for future movie sequels or television episodes.
The creators of Popcorn Time, in an exclusive interview with torrent and streaming blog, Torrent Freak, announced that they were preparing to start up again. They explained that “internal issues” caused them to lose their hosting provider, Cloudflare.
There were no details about when the comeback would be or what it would look like. Over the past years, clones—known as “forks”—have appeared, which are identical to the original site. However, it seems that the creators intend to improve upon the original design. Popcorn Time was popular because of its polished, official-looking video on-demand service, rather than the far less professional piracy websites that require users to click through many links.
The service relies on BitTorrent technology, as does The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites. But instead of downloading the file, users can stream it on their devices.