Why This App Just Made Hollywood's Piracy Nightmare Even Worse

Popcorn TimeScreenshotThis is the main page of Popcorn Time. Most of these titles are still in theatres or on DVD.

Popcorn Time is an app for Windows, Mac and Linux that is essentially a “Netflix for pirated movies.” It’s the easiest way to watch pirated movies from the comfort of your own home, which is why Hollywood should be scared. Other threats like Napster and LimeWire rose up to challenge the music industry, but here’s why Popcorn Time is on a whole different level.

Netflix, Amazon Prime, iTunes

Streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime usually have to wait for new movies to arrive on their services. Movie studios have a strict timeframe for their films to arrive in theatres, be sold on DVD, and then be available for streaming.

Viewers could flock to Popcorn Time since they can watch the latest movies for no cost at all. The app prevents you from having to scour shady torrent sites by placing the best possible copy of the film right at your fingertips. Netflix is perfect for binging on old TV shows or movies, but Popcorn Time will be able to satisfy instant demand for the latest titles.

Movie theatres and film studios

You can stream movies from Popcorn Time for free. This sounds like a reasonable alternative, considering ticket prices are high.

Movie theatre attendance is on the decline and people are opting to stream stuff from home. Film studios and movie theatres would be rightfully annoyed, since they’d be losing out on a crucial source of revenue.

Why this is going to be difficult for the film industry

Popcorn Time is free, and 20 developers are scattered around the world working on the project. The creators are quick to acknowledge that this is a violation of copyright infringement, too. All of these factors will make it difficult for Hollywood’s battalion of lawyers to make a serious case.

Torrentfreak chatted with one developer named Sebastian, but there was no indication given if he was the leader of this collective. When the music industry had to deal with the nightmare of Napster, Sean Parker made it clear he was the founder of the file-sharing service so the record labels were easily able to launch an attack on him.

Movie studios have gone after individual file sharers before, so that might be the only way to hurt Popcorn Time. However, services like virtual private networks make it easier to hide locations. This could complicate matters further, since studios would have a hard time pinpointing specific individuals to target.

TechCrunch writes that Popcorn Time was pulled from its installer program earlier today because it violated terms of service and the developers are seeking a new host. This is just a small setback, but Hollywood still has a long road ahead in combatting this ever-present threat in their industry.

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