Late last year the main Popcorn Time fork, operating from the PopcornTime.io domain name, shut down its website unexpectedly.
The MPAA took credit for the fall announcing that it had filed a lawsuit against several of the developers in Canada. In response to these legal threats several key developers backed out.
Since the initial announcement there haven’t been any official updates on the case. TorrentFreak learned, however, that several of the accused developers have been negotiating a deal to settle the dispute out of court.
This week came the first public signs that the case is indeed moving towards a resolution. On Tuesday the PopcornTime.io domain changed ownership from Popcorn Time developer and defendant David Lemarier, to the MPAA.
This means that Hollywood is now officially in control of what was once the most popular Popcorn Time domain.
TorrentFreak reached out to the MPAA and Lemarier for more details several days ago, but both have yet to reply. The other defendants we contacted preferred not to comment on the case.
From the information we were able to gather in recent weeks it appears that the movie studios prefer a settlement over a full court battle. Perhaps to save costs, perhaps to avoid attracting more attention to the Popcorn Time phenomenon.
This would be similar to how they approached their case against YIFY/TYS, which was arguable the most prominent piracy group of the past half decade. However, instead of taking the operator to court the movie studios quickly arranged an out of court settlement.
With the PopcornTime.io domain now in the hands of the MPAA it is safe to conclude that this fork is not coming back.
Previously the software’s developers maintained that they were not involved in any infringing activity. Theoretically, some of the accused may still choose to put up a fight but considering the recent developments this has become less likely.
Meanwhile, several other Popcorn Time forks continue to operate, launching new features and services as if nothing ever changed.