It’s over. Just days after launching a BitTorrent-based movie streaming site, Popcorn Time pulled the plug on Friday. And it’s not entirely clear why.
In a blog post, Popcorn Time implied that the open-source, transnational effort was brought low by pro-copyright agencies. “Popcorn Time as a project is legal,” the site said in a crossposting on Medium. “We checked. Four times.”
But while the site’s creators expounded at length on how popular Popcorn Time had been, the post concluded on a negative note.
”Popcorn Time is shutting down today,” the site’s creators said. “Not because we ran out of energy, commitment, focus or allies. But because we need to move on with our lives. Our experiment has put us at the doors of endless debates about piracy and copyright, legal threats and the shady machinery that makes us feel in danger for doing what we love. And that’s not a battle we want a place in.”
There was no question that Popcorn Time was going to run afoul of organizations like the MPAA and its counterparts in other countries. The bright, easy-to-navigate interface was compared, over and over, to Netflix layered on top of BitTorrent. The software used the BitTorrent network to download and then share contemporary, copyrighted movies. After the user finished the movie, all traces of it would be erased after the user restarted his computer.
The author of the post, Pochoclín, implied that it was the MPAA that brought down the site. “The bulk of our users is not in the US,” he wrote. “It’s everywhere else. Popcorn Time got installed on every single country on Earth. Even the two that don’t have internet access.”
The question, of course, is whether or not Popcorn Time will resurface elsewhere. Open-source projects have a way of doing just that. And if it does, possibly someone will retitle it “Grundy”—after DC’s zombie supervillain that was born on a Monday and was dead by the end of the week. Because zombies never quite die, do they?