More than 100 torrent and streaming sites have been blocked in the UK recent years, but now the High Court has made its first move against sites offering downloads of movie streaming software.
Following complaints from Hollywood’s Motion Picture Association over pirated content, the High Court issued an order forcing internet providers Virgin, BT, Sky, EE and TalkTalk to block five sites that provide access to movie streaming service Popcorn Time.
The order targets popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorntime.se and isoplex.isohunt.to, according to BGR. These sites all offer downloads of Popcorn Time’s application.
The order also required the five ISPs to block streaming sites watchonlineseries.eu, axxomovies.org, afdah.com and g2g.fm.
While supporters argue that Popcorn Time can be a handy tool for accessing public domain films, the service is known for allowing easy access to pirated content — hence the nickname “Netflix for pirates”.
“It is manifest that the Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its purpose,” Judge Birss noted in the order. “No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content.”
“The point of Popcorn Time is to infringe copyright. The Popcorn Time application has no legitimate purpose,” he added.
It may be a little more difficult to stamp out Popcorn Time completely, since the newly blocked sites are not the only place downloads are available. With the Popcorn Time code available as open source, there is no single version or developer for the ISPs to track down, either. There are mutliple teams developing multiple different versions of Popcorn Time, so the product is likely to pop up again soon. The difference now is, it’s almost definitely illegal.