Branded a “Netflix for Pirates,” the Popcorn Time phenomenon took the Internet by storm over the past year.
There are several versions of the application in active development and the most popular ones all have millions of users.
Besides the users, software developers have also shown a keen interest in the tool. While most forks have a small group of code developers there are many more chiming in with new code, fixes and improvements.
TF spoke to the team behind the popular Popcorn Time .io fork who recently made a visual presentation of how a ‘swarm’ of developers contributed over time.
The data is based on statistics from the development platform at a time when around 250 people had contributed. This number has increased to 283 today and will likely hit 300 during the weeks to come.
The motion in the video is meaningless, but the above shows that the application itself was built by a swarm of developers, just like all videos are streamed by a BitTorrent swarm.
It also shows that a lot of people don’t mind being publicly associated with the project. While some use only their nickname, it’s not hard to identify some of the key developers.
Most contributors, however, don’t believe that they are crossing a line. While Hollywood characterizes the software as illegal and one of the greatest threats it faces, most developers just want to code.
The core Popcorn Time team doesn’t believe its doing anything wrong either, but admit that users may run into trouble, something we’ve seen happening recently.
“So far, no jurisdiction has yet clearly said that Popcorn Time, the application, was illegal. The use of that application, however, is indeed illegal in most countries when downloading copyrighted content,” they tell TF.
While Popcorn Time does rely on APIs which almost exclusively link to pirated files, the code itself is legal and open source.
“Popcorn Time is nothing more than the combination of a web-browser, a torrent client and a video player. The content, copyrighted or in public domain, isn’t distributed by us,” the Popcorn Time team says.
“Popcorn Time is Open Source, so you can look at each line of code and notice that none of these lines are illegal or contain links to copyrighted content,” they add.
This is a position pretty much all of the 283 developers agree with.
People who are interested in more information on how the swarm video of the development process was made can find more details here. Perhaps the Popcorn Time team will consider publishing an update when another year passes.