Norwegian Police Seize Popcorn-Time “Information” Site

Norwegian economic crime police have seized the domain name of a local Popcorn-Time website. The site in question didn't offer any copyright infringing material, but featured news articles and links to external sites where the popular application could be downloaded. No arrests were made.

popcorntFirst launched more than two years ago, Popcorn Time remains the go to application for many people who want to pirate the latest Hollywood blockbusters and TV-shows.

In response, rightsholders are doing their best to put a halt to its popularity. Late last year the MPAA scored a major victory when it shut down one of the most used forks, but many alternatives remain online.

To counter this threat, Norwegian rightholders called in help from Norway’s police unit and prosecution authority for economic crimes (ØKOKRIM), who today announced that they had seized the Popcorn-Time.no domain name.

Unlike the name suggests, the site didn’t host the application itself but instead posted news articles, as well as links to sites that offered the application. Below is a screenshot of the site in action, which currently displays a notice from the police.

Popcorn-time.no when it was still active

popcor-no

In a public statement the Norwegian police and prosecution unit notes that the domain is believed to be complicit in criminal copyright infringement by linking to third party content.

“The Norwegian domain popcorn-time.no helps electronic publication by linking to other domains where the required software can be downloaded. In addition, the Norwegian popcorn-time.no domain posted information, user manuals and news updates,” the police states.

No one was arrested in association with the site, according to NRK.

The majority of the site’s users came from Norway but overall the site was relatively small. This is also confirmed by the site’s Facebook page, which only generated 102 likes since its launch.

Despite its modest size, police conclude that the domain name seizure is significant as the site contributed to a serious social piracy problem.

“Illegal file sharing of copyright-protected material on the Internet poses a serious social problem. The Norwegian domain popcorn-time.no constituted, in our view, part of a global problem in constant and rapid development.”

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