File sharing and torrent software are nothing new, but when one site goes, another one comes to take its place. The next “big” thing to hit file sharing waves was Popcorn Time, a website and app that uses BitTorrent software to download movies for free.

Popcorn TimeIt was thought that Popcorn Time would not be as easy to get rid of due to its open-source network and lack of revenue model. Although movie studios have in fact sued individual downloaders in the past, it’s hard to say what power they have in this situation, as the creators aren’t making money off of copyrighted films. Popcorn Time developer Sebastian (no last name given) didn’t seem to be worried.

“We don’t host anything, and none of the developers makes any money,” he said. “There are no ads, no premium accounts, and no subscription fees or anything like that. It’s an experiment to learn and share.”

Popcorn Time did post a disclaimer letting potential users know the app may be illegal depending on their location, although it doesn’t specify which locations may actually target unlawful downloading.

Turns out Popcorn Time didn’t last that long. A post on Medium and on Popcorn Time’s website vaguely explains the shutdown:

Popcorn Time as a project is legal. We checked. Four Times.

But, as you may know, that’s rarely enough. Our huge reach gave us access to a lot of people, from newspapers to the creators of many sites and apps that had a huge global reach. We learned a lot from these people, especially that standing against an old fashioned industry has it’s [sic] own associated costs. Costs that no one should have to pay in any way, shape or form.

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.

The creators of this project still remain proud, saying that many of Popcorn Time’s users live in countries where it is impossible to purchase movies that are even remotely new. The farewell post criticizes the movie industry’s “ridiculous restrictions” and says that users deserve better.


Popcorn Time is back up. The torrent site YTS has taken over the project, reports TorrentFreak.

YTS developer Jduncanator told TorrentFreak, “It’s as if we have built another interface to our website. We are no worse off managing the project than we would be just supplying the movies. It’s our vision at YTS that we see through projects like these and that just because they create a little stir in the public, it doesn’t mean they are shut down.”