The official Popcorn Time, dubbed the “Netflix for pirated movies,” is back from the dead.
Popcorn Time first became popular thanks to its intuitive, Netflix-style interface that allowed users to stream torrents without having to delete the potentially incriminating evidence afterwards.
The streaming service has a rocky and somewhat confusing history. The original Popcorn Time website where people would download the streaming software was shut down in March 2014 following pressure from the MPAA, who viewed the website and its hosting of the software as a major piracy concern. But the streaming software has since been relaunched by other teams in various forms, and the most popular of them all — PopcornTime.io — was deemed the official successor by the original Popcorn Time team.
Last October, however, the team behind PopcornTime.io shut down its website after a lawsuit was filed against the domain by the MPAA, and the software stopped working. But a few weeks ago, the software began updating without explanation or warning — aside from a cryptic “Hail Hydra,” a reference to how hard it would be for the authorities to fully destroy Popcorn Time.
And sure enough, the official Popcorn Time software is now working again and back online. Now we have some sort of explanation for what happened, unearthed by TorrentFreak.
“After the ‘MPAA incident’, we’re a little diminished, and we’ve chosen a new direction: we’re shifting from an active development of Popcorn Time to a more or less resilience-driven development,” those purporting to be the original Popcorn Time team
announced. (It should be noted that because no one will confirm their identity, we cannot know for certain that those who have re-animated the original software are members of the original team.)
Part of this new direction means a split between two products: Popcorn Time and Butter. Butter is a streaming project that some of Popcorn Time’s former developers are working on. Butter has “neutral technology and no illegal content,” according to TorrentFreak.
The new Popcorn Time will be powered by Butter, but will remain a separate entity. “Most of our old teammates have left the ship to focus on a new technology, they called it Butter, and we use their platform as a base to make Popcorn Time,” the Popcorn Time team writes. That means that Popcorn Time will benefit from Butter’s development, but that, presumably for legal reasons, they will remain distinct products.
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