Popcorn Time Shuts Down: Piracy Concerns Dog Movie-Streaming Website

Monday, 17 Mar 2014 07:51 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Popcorn Time, the free movie-streaming site that has been gaining steam over the last few weeks, has been shut down amid cries of piracy and copyright infringement.

The service, which used BitTorrent to distribute a huge selection of movies — some of which were still in theaters — debuted sometime last month and quickly became the go-to movie site in many countries.

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But despite the message from the open-sourced app's Argentinian developers ("Popcorn Time as a project is legal. We checked. Four Times."), it turns out it's actually not.

"Popcorn Time is shutting down today," the site's creators said in a blog post last week. "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."

Users reportedly liked the site for its attractive, Netflix-like interface that blinded them to the fact that movie piracy is punishable by jail time, felony charges, and a possible $250,000 fine, according to PCWorld.com.

But Popcorn Time's creators argued that it's not the downloaders who should be punished.

"Piracy is not a people problem," the blog post read. "It's a service problem. A problem created by an industry that portrays innovation as a threat to their antique recipe to collect value."

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