The rise, fall, and rise of Popcorn Time

github

In a move that did not surprise Yours Truly, the unlicensed streaming service Popcorn Time was shut down by its developers a few days after it had gained notoriety. There was no reason why the site was removed, other than the developers needed to move on with their lives (after just 4 days?) There was only one interesting legal statement:

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

I have no idea who they checked with, but that is not an accurate statement as I mentioned in my last post about the subject. The fact is that Popcorn Time were clearly engaging in copyright infringement by making the work available to the public, and the fact that it was using both a US registrar and US hosting services opened it to US jurisdiction, even if the developers were not based in the USA. On an interesting side note, it would seem that the developers are Argentinian, perhaps former Taringa enthusiasts?

Regrdless of the legal issues, the most interesting development so far is that the makers of Popcorn time have released their code as open source through GitHub, and now that it is out, it means that everyone in the world can put out their own version of the site. In a brilliant move, the developers have practically made Popcorn Time immune from regulation in the future, as there is no limit to the variants of the site that can see the light of day immediately. Well, there is the limit that not everyone could create their onw version, but any other developers from around the world can now produce, tinker with, and release, their own versions of the software.

Popcorn is a great idea, and you cannot kill an idea.

A big hint for future developers, avoid US-based hosting and domain name registrars.