In less than two years Popcorn Time has become a piracy icon, offering free access to Hollywood’s latest blockbusters but without obtaining permission.
This popularity has triggered a wave of legal threats including a lawsuit against three developers filed in Canada last month.
Despite being a major target for copyright holders the rise of new Popcorn Time alternatives appears to be never-ending. For example, a few days ago another Popcorn Time-inspired website launched at Popa.cr.
While it’s visually similar to the application, the browser version operates more like a traditional streaming site with a Popcorn Time theme. Nevertheless, it was enough to attract the attention of the Motion Picture Association (MPA).
Just hours after the site was first advertised on Reddit its operator received an MPA letter, sent on behalf of several major Hollywood movie studios.
In the email the MPA’s Jan van Voorn puts the site operator on notice, alerting him to European jurisprudence under which he may be held liable for linking to pirated movies and TV-shows.
“Without prejudice to our contention that you are already well aware of the extensive infringements of copyright, this Notice fixes you with actual knowledge of facts and circumstances from which illegal activities […] are apparent,” Van Voorn writes.
Among other things the email mentions that Article 14 of the E-Commerce Directive requires sites to stop offering infringing material. In addition, the Hollywood group cites other recent cases supporting their claim.
Without making a specific threat the MPA demands that the site’s operators stop offering infringing material within 24 hours.
“This Notice requires you to immediately (within 24 hours) take effective measures to end and prevent further copyright infringement. All opportunities provided by the Website to download, stream or otherwise obtain access to the Entertainment Content should be disabled permanently,” the email reads.
The site’s operator was worried about the email, but wanted to continue the site nonetheless. However, after a few hours he apparently changed his mind informing us that it wasn’t worth the trouble.
As a result, Popa.cr shut down on Thursday, but not for long.
Instead of vanishing completely the original operator decided to sell the domain and site to someone else, who brought it back to life today. How long it will last remains to be seen but the relaunch only adds to Hollywood’s frustration.
The MPA informed TorrentFreak that the email they sent is part of an ongoing strategy to curb copyright infringement and encourage consumers to use legal sources. This means that Popa.cr’s new owner is likely to receive a similar threat, along with others who start similar sites.
And so the Whack-a-Mole continues.