Popcorn time is a BitTorrent client like uTorrent, LimeWire or kTorrent – with a difference. Instead of having to wait to download the files before viewing, Popcorn Time has an integrated media player so users can stream their content.
Its ease of use and variety of content led to a huge surge in popularity – with some comparing it to Netflix – the benefit of using Popcorn time over Netflix being that it is completely free. After this surge in popularity, the original creators were forced to shut the site down after questions over the legality of the project began popping up. The creators claim it was entirely legal, and the fact Popcorn Time is still going today suggest that this may be the case.
Available for AirPlay, Chromecast, Android, iOS, Mac, PC and on Smart TVs (TVs that are internet enabled), this could be a good solution for those that want more recent content than is available on Netflix, or those who don’t want to pay the monthly fee.
The two versions of Popcorn time that are still available are popcorntime.io and popcorn-time.se. Although there were reports in November 2014 that downloads of the latter included adware – backed up by on the popular site reddit.
The adware issue has supposedly been resolved, although I’d steer away. For those wanting to risk it, this version now includes a free integrated VPN option, allowing users to hide their IP-addresses from the public. This means those put-off by the risk of being fined for the use of pirate software can watch safely.
Is Popcorn Time illegal?
The platform is not actually illegal. It’s a BitTorrent client, like LimeWire and uTorrent, and they don’t host any unlicensed content. It is actually the users that are infringing on copyright, and there is no way of identifying these users if they are using the integrated VPN service.
However, Popcorn Time does potentially infringe on ‘inducement laws’ – as the sites’ purpose is to encourage people to illegally upload and download copyrighted movies.
There is a continued legal battle going on, with Netflix not enjoying the competition – “If they know that they’re actually facilitating the downloading or streaming of copyrighted movies and they continue to do it, they’re in trouble,” stated the University of Richmond intellectual property law professor Jim Gibson.
Whilst I personally don’t encourage downloading Popcorn Time, users shouldn’t worry. The files you download when using Popcorn Time are stored — but only temporarily. Copyright-holders and law enforcement would never waste time going after private users – they’d look to simply block the source, Gibson explained.
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