Popcorn Time torrent service rattles content providers

A new app called "Popcorn Time" that organizes and streams torrents of video was voluntarily taken down by its creators after attracting worldwide attention and accusations that it was promoting piracy. But the code lives on, as a Popcorn Time project has been set up at GitHub to continue developing the software.

Deemed by TorrentFreak as "Netflix for pirates," Popcorn Time offers users a more attractive interface than the typical BitTorrent experience. The Buenos Aires-based developer claims it was developed as an experiment between friends, and that the app simply repackages existing content.

But response was negative enough that the group shut down its effort. Within days of announcing the app, Mega, the hosting service for Popcorn Time's installer, pulled down the file, saying it violated the terms of service.

"Of course, Popcorn Time was just as illegal as downloading torrents manually. It simply added an elegant veneer to the dirty world of movie piracy," VentureBeat's Devindra Hardawar wrote. But the attention paid to the app, and its revival in the torrent community, suggests that versions of it will plague content providers for some time.

Despite the controversy, video piracy for now appears to be drifting into technology's past: Fast Company notes that in 2011, BitTorrent made up 13 percent of all North American Web traffic during peak hours, but by 2013, that figure was just 7 percent.

For more:
- On the Media has this story
- Fast Company has this story
- TorrentFreak has this story

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