Released in the first quarter of 2014, any minute now Popcorn Time will celebrate its one year anniversary.
It’s been a roller-coaster ride for the various forks of the project after generating hundreds of headlines between them. Needless to say, many have focused on how the project provides sleek access to unauthorized content.
Predictably that ease of use has proven most popular in the United States but interestingly Popcorn Time also proved itself a disproportionate hit in the Netherlands. Last September one fork reported 1.3 million installs in a population of just 17 million.
No surprise then that Popcorn Time has appeared on the radar of Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN. The Hollywood-affiliated group has been relatively quiet in recent months but is now reporting action aimed at stemming the flow of users to the popular torrent streaming application.
Denouncing Popcorn Time as an “illegal service”, BREIN reports that it has recently shut down “six Dutch Popcorn Time sites” and reached a settlement with their operators.
BREIN usually keeps the names of shuttered sites a closely guarded secret, but on this occasion has chosen to name four out of the six.
PopcornTime.nl, Popcorn-Time.eu, Popcorn-Time.info and PopcornTimeFilms.nl are now non-operational and currently display the warning message below as per their agreement with BREIN.
This site has been removed by the BREIN foundation for propagating Popcorn Time Software.
Popcorn Time encourages illegal use and uses an illegal online supply of films and television series.
WARNING: Popcorn Time software uses peer-to-peer (P2P) technology allowing users to both up – and download. Streaming, uploading and downloading of illegal content is prohibited by law and will therefore result in liability for the damages caused.
NOTE: Uploading is illegal and causes greater damage than a single download.
SUPPORT CREATIVITY: Go to Thecontentmap.nl and see where you can legally download and stream.
According BREIN each site operator also agreed to pay a financial penalty relative to the circumstances of his or her case, but the big question is just how important these sites were. The answer in all cases is “not very”.
Firstly, none of the sites were affiliated in any way with either of the current large forks located at Popcorntime.io and Popcorn-time.se. None hosted the software either, instead preferring to link to their official sources.
“We are not a part or makers of Popcorn Time. This is just a fansite. Not hosting content, merely linking to files hosted elsewhere,” an archive copy of Popcorntime.nl reads.
“Popcorn-Time.info is a fanpage Popcorn Time,” that site declared before being targeted by BREIN.
“Popcorn-Time.info hosts no downloads of Popcorn Time on its server.
Popcorn-Time.info has no links with the developers and designers of Popcorn Time.”
None of the sites were particularly popular either. Alexa currently scores PopcornTime.nl as the most visited of the bunch with a global rank of 205,405 and 3,215 in the Netherlands. PopcornTimeFilms.nl is the least visited and ranked the 1.84 millionth most popular site in the world.
Nevertheless, BREIN is warning that it will continue to take local “Popcorn Time sites” offline. Legal proceedings could be initiated against those who fail to comply and the anti-piracy group isn’t ruling out criminal referrals either.
“For Popcorn-Time sites that entrench themselves in foreign countries including the illegal torrent sites which are used, BREIN cooperates with similar national and international organizations,” the group warns.
Considering the Netflix-related news that broke mid-January, it was almost inevitable that BREIN wouldn’t wait long before positioning itself against Popcorn Time.
In a letter to the company’s shareholders, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings specifically highlighted the Popcorn Time ‘problem’ in the Netherlands, describing the app’s popularity in the country as “sobering”.