Popcorn Time is just the start and it’s not the first to provide an easy way to consume pirated content. The entire program is on GitHub, where any developer can access the code and make it their own. Besides that, the program leans on an API released by a popular pirated movie site that has so far successfully evaded the MPAA’s wrath. Popcorn Time is simply a pretty face on a community-driven project.
There isn’t a single entity here that Hollywood’s lawyers can attack. The developers can go underground and distribute their creations under multiple names. They’re not charging for the program or incorporating ads. Popcorn Time is Napster for video without a company that is trying to turn it into a business. It is the epitome of online guerrilla warfare. And Popcorn Time isn’t alone. A site called FliXanity essentially cloned Netflix’s look and streams pirated content, albeit at a really low resolution. Another called MovieHive is an Android app that’s a far cry from the selection and ease of use of Popcorn Time. Plus it has ads. But it works. It streams pirated content for free.
There are others. There will always be others.
Popcorn Time has already forked. After an early scare, the old developers ceded to a new team because the pressure and attention was simply too much. The program is just that good. Streaming is the future of both piracy and legitimate distribution. If Popcorn Time implodes again, another program will be built on top of the rubble and stand even taller than the first. The only thing that can slow its growth is Hollywood’s full embrace of the stream and, judging by the popularity of pirate services, it had better come soon.