Popcorn Time is dead, except it isn’t

Today, the people behind popcorntime.io, one of the most popular Popcorn Time forks, closed the doors. The reason is a bit vague, but also today, coincidence or not, they released a “legal” version called Butter (tu tu tu tu tu tu tu). It’s basically Popcorn Time, the same code, without the lines that made it controversial.

BitTorrent, the technique used by most PT apps, itself is not illegal. The protocol is meant to make downloading big files faster by using multiple sources (that’s why Popcorn Time is illegal in most counties; you are both downloading and uploading copyrighted material). This can obviously be used for movies and shows, but also for legal or “open” stuff. Butter is open-source, which means that anyone could take the code and make a new version. And yes, as you probably have guessed, you can also use it to make a PT clone. In fact, if everything would have gone according to plan, popcorntime.io would have also been based on Butter. Butter would have been in the open, and popcorntime.io simply just a fork (while still open-source). The creators presumably hoped this would make fighting claims from content-owners a bit easier.

It’s only just a matter of time before new PT versions arrive. Actually, there are other forks from the original Popcorn Time that still function. In recent weeks, we learned about a browser version made by a fifteen-year-old boy, which since then has had some trouble, like most other browser-related initiatives. Problems often are related to take-downs by the hosting companies, that might not be too happy with the controversial service.

Completely getting rid of applications based on code that is up for grabs is hard, very hard. So the battle between content-owners and pirates hasn’t come to an end. In a way, it’s a new beginning.
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