It was bound to happen. Popcorn Time, the streaming video platform that allowed anyone to stream just about any TV or movie for free on a variety of devices is now gone. The creators of Popcorn Time have shut down the service despite their claims that the streaming was legal.
Popcorn Time was released last month and slowly began to spread by word-of-mouth. The platform allowed users to search through a vast collection of movie and TV torrents and stream them instead of downloading. None of the torrents were hosted by Popcorn Time, a fact it's creators cited when arguing for its legality. By early March the site had gained enough popularity for mainstream attention, almost certainly a factor in its shutdown.
Popcorn Time's creators had argued that movie and TV piracy are a service problem caused by antiquated methods of determining the value of content. They maintain that Popcorn Time was legal and insist that they checked up on whether this was true four different times.
When visiting the Popcorn Time website visitors are now greeted with a message from the platform's creators. The message states that they are "enormously proud" of the project, but that "standing against an old fashioned industry has its own associated costs. Costs that no one should have to pay in any way, shape, or form."
From the message:
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.
Of course, the open-source community will certainly not let such a popular project die. Already the developers behind the torrent site YTS have announced that they have forked the Popcorn Time software and will continue to develop it.