Dubbed the “Netflix for Pirates,” the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people over the past year.
Its popularity has also drawn the attention of copyright holders, who’ve made several attempts to shut the service down.
Today Popcorntime.io, the original and most used Popcorn Time fork, became the target of the latest takedown effort.
A few hours ago the domain name’s status was updated to “reserved,” which effectively means that the Internet Computer Bureau registry seized the domain name.
The UK-based registry previously took control of The Pirate Bay’s .ac domain name as well.
The domain name may still work for some if the DNS entries are cached, but it will soon be unavailable everywhere.
At first sight the Popcorn Time application itself appears to work just fine, most likely because it doesn’t use the .io domain for any crucial functions.
The server of the Popcorn time site is also unaffected. This means that people who enter the direct IP-address can still see the site’s homepage. However, none of the links work, including the download, as these all point to the .io domain.
TorrentFreak reached out to the Popcorn Time team for more information and we will update the article if we hear back.
The most likely scenario is that the Popcorn Time team will switch over to a new domain name. They already own popcorntime.re and popcorntime.cc but at the time of writing both point to the seized domain.
Update: The Popcorn Time team informs TF that they were not informed about any changes to the domain. The team confirms that they can no longer modify or update the domain name and is trying to find out more. In the meantime, they switched to popcorntime.re and popcorntime.cc.
Update: TF spoke to the operator of a site which had their .io name seized previously. They were never officially informed either.
Update: The domain name is no longer reserved, which means that the Popcorn Time team regained control, perhaps through an appeal. We’re waiting for an official statement.
Update: The Popcorn Time team informs us that the registry initially acted on an old court order. Upon close review the order doesn’t apply to the domain in question, so control was handed back to the Popcorn Time team. This means that the domain is no longer seized.