Popcorn Time, the Netflix for pirates, has already closed its doors

Popcorn Time, the multi-platform torrenting app disguised as a Netflix alternative, has gone offline. For those unaware, Popcorn Time was an app that allowed users to stream movies-- torrents-- just as you would stream a YouTube video. The creators claimed that Popcorn Time was perfectly legal, and that they had checked that four times!

However, it seems that it was all short lived, as the creators have put a message on their homepage detailing the history, accolades and reasons why they're shutting down-- including receiving legal threats that they don't want to battle.

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.

They also spoke about piracy as a concept, and why it exists. They mentioned that it is not a problem with people, but rather a problem with the industry itself refusing to abandon old methods of content distribution. By this, it seems that they mean that the traditional model of a movie being released at theaters for several months before being sold on disc or streaming platforms is a model that encourages piracy.

We've shown that people will risk fines, lawsuits and whatever consequences that may come just to be able to watch a recent movie in slippers. Just to get the kind of experience they deserve.

..and they're right. Piracy will continue until the industry adjusts itself to cope with the demands of the 21st century. It doesn't matter what laws are in place-- they won't discourage as many people as the lawmakers seem to think, and will just serve to complicate things more than they need to be. The music industry has adjusted with things like XBOX Music, Google Play Music, and Spotify, and it's time for the TV and movie industry to innovate in a similar way.

Source: Popcorn Time via BGR | Image via BGR

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LOL this is funny! All you need too do is go onto YouTube and search for your Movie! There are thousands of copies of movies on there!

Had they opensourced subapi there would be no need for resurrection as it'd have kept working from day one.

The original app still works, the providers are still there, it's the proxy scrapper that they took down (subapi) which renders it useless.

at first I was like yeah, but sometimes you can get away with it. UNTIL I LEARNED IT WAS A PUBLIC WEBSITE. wtf. even YIFY will go down now.

This uses YTS (formally Yiffy torrents) as a backend. Personally I prefer the YTS website. I find the comments useful when gauging the quality of the movies. And IMDB of course.

Nothing better than sitting in the comfort of your home and watching a 1080/720p movie on the TV/monitor. Cinemas are expensive, loud (ears ring for hours after going), often have annoying people in them (kids, people talking etc), and I can't pause to go make a drink / snacks. I'm sorry but the home experience is superior in every way. I certainly don't want to mess around with discs and piracy warnings when I can get it straight from YTS.

This reminds me an releaser called.. well let's just say aX shall we? He basically mocked the industry when they put the FBI warning before the movie, seriously, FBI doesn't have better things to do than be a puppet for the movie industry? How about them actually coming to 21'st century already.

The newest movies come here to the cinema about 3-4 months later - on DVD you'll be lucky if it's in the same year number - sorry but I'm not waiting that long. Oh and Netflix and others also don't work here so what choise do I have? Ay' ay' captain.

as a legitimate purchaser of movies, I can't stand the warnings on discs... I bought the effing thing didn't I?
even the "thank you" ones are really patronising. Just bugger off and let me watch the movie I bought

Same here, agreed 100%. Pirate copies obviously strip those out, so they're just left preaching to the choir with those warnings.

Also make the preview trailers an optional menu item, I already gave you money, you should be courteous enough not to show up begging for more right away. And they're hardly relevant years later when I pop the movie back in. Making me skip them individually every damn time just makes me rip the damn thing to my HTPC and then I'll never see the ads anyway.

It doesn't matter what laws are in place-- they won't discourage as many people as the lawmakers seem to think, and will just serve to complicate things more than they need to be.
A valid argument. Just as valid with regards to movies as it is to guns.

The law-abiding people won't break laws and those who choose to break the laws will receive a product at any cost.

Now, I bet that's a comparison you didn't expect.

If purchasing a movie ticket in a theater entitled me to a Blu-ray copy when it was released, I'd care. But since that'll never happen - and I still don't own a Blu-ray drive of any kind, most likely never will - Netflix will just have to do for me. I paid a great deal of money for movies in DVD format over the years, I'm not paying for the same content again just because it's been re-encoded into a higher resolution format, it just ain't happening.

The whole idea of paying for something over and over again just because it's in different formats (albeit the same material overall)... sorry, I just ain't buying that (pun very much intended).

This.
I have been saying this for years, they really upped the prices when 3D was introduced. A theater ticket in Sweden is almost $30, for ONE showing. How can $30 not entitle viewers to some form of license of the material?
Why not just give the people who pend $30 on a cinema ticket, some form of license that would let them download/pirate the movie since they already have paid for it.

br0adband said,
If purchasing a movie ticket in a theater entitled me to a Blu-ray copy when it was released, I'd care. But since that'll never happen - and I still don't own a Blu-ray drive of any kind, most likely never will - Netflix will just have to do for me. I paid a great deal of money for movies in DVD format over the years, I'm not paying for the same content again just because it's been re-encoded into a higher resolution format, it just ain't happening.

The whole idea of paying for something over and over again just because it's in different formats (albeit the same material overall)... sorry, I just ain't buying that (pun very much intended).

But you don't have to buy them again. DVD's are watchable on a blu-ray player.

br0adband said,
I paid a great deal of money for movies in DVD format over the years, I'm not paying for the same content again just because it's been re-encoded into a higher resolution format, it just ain't happening.

Your loss. The quality difference between Blu-Ray and DVD is night and day.

Wall-swe said,
This.
A theater ticket in Sweden is almost $30, for ONE showing. How can $30 not entitle viewers to some form of license of the material?
Why not just give the people who pend $30 on a cinema ticket, some form of license that would let them download/pirate the movie since they already have paid for it.

Why should it include some extra license? That doesn't make any sense at all. I agree though, $30 does sound stupid, but like some stupid prices we pay in Australia for most of our goods, it's all relative: Priced to what the market can bear and the living standards of said country (Your pay, the pay rates of the employees at the cinema, rents, utilities, etc.).

When you go to the cinema, you're paying for the "experience" and a single showing. If you go again, then you pay again. By going to the cinema once, it does not entitle you to a gold pass for that movie to see it as many times as you want either (Which is essentially what you're advocating, though for a lifetime).

If you went to a concert, would you be expecting their latest CD to be given to you for free too?

Perhaps the difference is to do simultaneous or near simultaneous theatre and Blu-Ray releases of titles to cater to both crowds; those who like the big screen and big sound, but don't want to pay for it at home, and those who have the gear at home and watch it at home. This is a much more realistic proposal than your gold pass idea.

Ultimately, there are reasons for some of the practices, some legitimate if you're willing to realistically approach the industry, however, some people seldom do and only ever look at their own position. A good start would be reducing the ticket price to reasonable levels ($30 is horrible). I found I started going to the cinemas more when I could rock up for $10 a ticket to watch it in a clean cinema with a really good projection and sound setup, and was much more willing to do it regularly. This is contrasted to when I go to others that charge $16+ to watch the same thing with a poorer experience, and it's no wonder the cinemas are often less than half full.

Edited by Ideas Man, Mar 15 2014, 12:57pm :

Wall-swe said,
This.
I have been saying this for years, they really upped the prices when 3D was introduced. A theater ticket in Sweden is almost $30, for ONE showing. How can $30 not entitle viewers to some form of license of the material?
Why not just give the people who pend $30 on a cinema ticket, some form of license that would let them download/pirate the movie since they already have paid for it.

$30 for the movie and then $8 for some candy or popcorn that would cost $1 at the grocery store. Then you got people on cell phones, crying babies, people who laugh at every scene even if it's not funny. I stopped going to theaters over a decade ago.

Here in the Netherlands at my local theatre is it 12 euro for a 3D ticket and 10 euro for a ticket which is not a 3D movie. The owner of the theatre told me personally that this price for the movie is not giving them any profit at all.

The profit comes for them from selling the snacks. A small bag of M&S cost 5 euro here. A small cola will costs you already almost 2 euro. In the supermarket you can get both in larger amount for 2 euro.

Once I also had a weird person in the theatre who thought it was ok to make a phone call with his friend. Someone asked him to hang up and be silent. The person then stood up and walked in front of the room yelling "Who said that?! I will beat you up!".

I personally only go theatre if the movie I want to see is really a must-watch with other friends. The last movie I saw was the Hobbit Part 2 with almost 20 people, family and friends.

Wall-swe said,
This.
I have been saying this for years, they really upped the prices when 3D was introduced. A theater ticket in Sweden is almost $30, for ONE showing. How can $30 not entitle viewers to some form of license of the material?
Why not just give the people who pend $30 on a cinema ticket, some form of license that would let them download/pirate the movie since they already have paid for it.

30$!!!!!!?!?!?!?!
Are you sure you're making the conversion right?

Holy cow. That's lots of money for a single movie. That's trice the price of a netflix month and much more than the movie in Blu-Ray.

Ever since buying a project and turning one of my bedrooms ino a movie theater, I see no reason to go back to the theater. Anyone from Neowin in the area should come over for a movie sometime!

warwagon said,
Ever since buying a project and turning one of my bedrooms ino a movie theater, I see no reason to go back to the theater. Anyone from Neowin in the area should come over for a movie sometime!

How much is your popcorn?

Thing is... why can't people just be patient and wait for it to come out on said disc or streaming service after it's been on in the theatre?

cleverclogs said,
Thing is... why can't people just be patient and wait for it to come out on said disc or streaming service after it's been on in the theatre?

Because it takes months for it to hit dvd / bluray / UV, and up to a year and a half to hit steaming services..

Ryoken said,
Because if you don't live in the US/Canada, you can be waiting a YEAR or more for them to come out.

First world problems...

So what? What's the difference - it's still a new release by the time you get it. Crikey, I used to watch Star Trek TNG on the BBC and that was a few YEARS behind the USA. Did it matter? No.

cleverclogs said,
So what? What's the difference - it's still a new release by the time you get it. Crikey, I used to watch Star Trek TNG on the BBC and that was a few YEARS behind the USA. Did it matter? No.

You are narrow-minded. Nobody wants to wait for something not worth it eg. Hollywood movies.

cleverclogs said,
So what? What's the difference - it's still a new release by the time you get it. Crikey, I used to watch Star Trek TNG on the BBC and that was a few YEARS behind the USA. Did it matter? No.

The problem with that is that now everyone uses the internet and wants to like a movie/TV shows Facebook page or join in on the discussion of the show on forums, etc. To me this is part of the experience and you just can't do it without spoilers unless you pirate to avoid the months-year wait for some shows to air in other countries.

cleverclogs said,
Thing is... why can't people just be patient and wait for it to come out on said disc or streaming service after it's been on in the theatre?

The internet should not have temporal or geographical restrictions. Everyone should be able to get everything at the same time.

Edited by Setnom, Mar 15 2014, 10:15am :

Setnom said,

The internet should not have temporal or geographical restrictions. Everyone should be able to everything at the same time.


That's the good thing about the internet. it actually has no geographical restrictions

cleverclogs said,
Thing is... why can't people just be patient and wait for it to come out on said disc or streaming service after it's been on in the theatre?

Another reason is that you want to hear it in another language.

cleverclogs said,
Thing is... why can't people just be patient and wait for it to come out on said disc or streaming service after it's been on in the theatre?

1. Because piracy doesn't really cost them anything. That's a sad fact, but it's human nature to want things for as little as possible. Save for the people who get brought into the named brand thing, where they'll be quite happy to pay for $200 for a 'designer' label on clothes, even though they'd made by the same kids in the same factory as the $1 tshirts in wall mart.

2. After funds, the biggest reason people pirate is to get to see the movie sooner rather then later. People can wait, but the chances are if you do wait, you'll miss not only the social interaction with your friends who've had the luxury of seeing it at the cinemas but you'll probably see reviews or memes etc that give some of the major plot line and spoilers away before you get to even see the movie.

3. Not everyone gets to watch movies at the same time with releases being staggered round the world. America tends to get the hollywood movies first, then the rest of the world lags behind sometimes as much as 2 years on discs. And if we're talking about streaming TV content, outside the USA some shows just never get streamed legally, or are several years out of date before the first series even gets aired.

4. Offering the same quality of service as you'd expect from a pirate movie. We've all seen the info graphic about piracy vs dvd.
http://thumbnails.visually.net...dvd_5029117fe4977_w1500.jpg Unfortunately, this is entirely the case. It's not as bad as it used to be, but certainly a ball ache if you just want to watch a movie. The last few bluray movies I purchased all had java based menus and while they look cool they're just a pain in the ass to wait to load, wait for them to fail to check for updated content, wait for them to finish showing the trailers, find the semi-hidden button to actually get to the movie you want rather then clicking on the trailers etc. Heck, I even tried the UK's Sky streaming service. They don't even have subtitles on their content, something that I'm paying 5x the price of a standard over the air service. Or indeed, sports where I can go the pub, watch it for free and buy 3 pints of beer for the same 'day' pass of streaming.

The only saving grace so far is the offer of regieristing some bluray movies with the ultraviolet service, but that's more awkward to use then it should be with the majority of the time spent on the site trying to figure out how to even register for an account, then pissing about trying dodge their attempts at getting you pay to stream movies/tv shows etc.

Netflix does it well, although not great outside the USA, the interface is simple and it gets to the point. You want to watch ####. Job done, thanks.

Sagum...

1: bogus, time and time again, people don't mind paying for services and goods. Individuals might not, but the general population does. Look at Netflix
Problem is, besides Netflix nothing else I know I can legally use (I'm in NL and we only have Netflix). The moment Netflix came available, me and millions of other dutchmen purchased the monthly Netflix service...
And the dutch are notorious modern pirates. Half the piratebay uploads are ours, usenet is spammed with dutch material (upto 90% of the material on Usenet comes from dutchies)...
If the nation that is notorious from the beginning of the internet for making a giant mess out if it by sharing everything. Plus our national feel of 'entitlement' of "I pay taxes to make _home copies_ so i can download what I want".

Yet my country is moving to Netflix.... yeah 20 years of semi-righteous feeling that "Everything on the internet is free to me" we don't mind paying for service and quality (well torrents have better quality usually).

yes, I don't mind waiting a bit for series, but I follow series on Facebook, I participate on IRC, I'm all over the internet where my favorite series are being discussed. I can't even visit Neowin if I don't wish to be spoilerd to death which will ruin my watching experience and in the end if I have to PAY or endure horrible commercials to watch it... I won't.
These TV producers FORCE me to live in the US of A so I can watch my favorite series without those _same_ TV producers ruining my watching experience.
UK has it great, stuff like Merlin and such is broadcasted on BBC, which I can watch, legally, without waiting months.

Xerino said,

Because it takes months for it to hit dvd / bluray / UV, and up to a year and a half to hit steaming services..


If they EVER hit legal streaming services regardless if they are 5 or 10 years old.

Regards, European Netflix user (American Netflixers don't know how good they have it and even then it's imperfect)

spenser.d said,

First world problems...

Ahh the cry of "I have nothing to add, so I'm going to imply that you're not allowed to complain about any of the problems that affect our lives because there are worse problems elsewhere in the World. What problems did you expect us to complain about seeing as we live in the first world? Want us to complain about 3rd world problems?

Just got my goat stolen and my sister died of Malaria #3rdWorldProblems

It's not even a "first world problem", because it affects all countries! The internet is GLOBAL, don't forget! Therefore, also second and third world countries have the same problems.

Shadowzz said,
Sagum...

1: bogus, time and time again, people don't mind paying for services and goods. Individuals might not, but the general population does. Look at Netflix
Problem is, besides Netflix nothing else I know I can legally use (I'm in NL and we only have Netflix). The moment Netflix came available, me and millions of other dutchmen purchased the monthly Netflix service...

I never said people don't want to pay for services and goods. We do. I do, and I know plenty of people who do too. But yes, lets look at Netflix.

I was lucky enough to beta test the Roku hardware before it was launched in the UK, along side the Netflix, again before it launched in the UK. It was somewhat of a joint launch.

We got given pre-made accounts by Netflix to use since the UK Netflix didn't exist at the time of testing. I had access to the USA Netflix, all the shows and movies. It was great, I was extremely excited that Netflix was here and offering what seemed like worldwide access to what America had. After the NDA was lifted, I told a lot of people to buy a Roku and get a sub for Netflix as soon as it was released.

I had 3 months Netflix subscription remaining on my test account when it was released in the UK.
I was very sad and disappointed when I had to create my own account and it reverted back to 'UK' allowed content on Netflix. Most of the popular content was missing, TV series were reduced etc.
While I'm pretty sure there is proxies you can set up and such to watch USA Netflix, it's still nothing more then piracy (as in, watching it without the copyright owners permission) again.

You might have it better in your own country, and indeed the UK might have it better now, but it's still going to be far from and international streaming service while the media giants control what people are watching around the world for what I can only assume is DVD and Bluray sales via drip feeding people content.
There is nothing wrong with making money on a business, after all that's what a business does and it must be more profitable for them to do it that way even with the loss of sales due to piracy it causes.

But when people can't actually get the content they want to watch, when the limitation is artificially implemented as a restriction, you're forcing said people to wait, or pirate.

cleverclogs said,
So what? What's the difference - it's still a new release by the time you get it. Crikey, I used to watch Star Trek TNG on the BBC and that was a few YEARS behind the USA. Did it matter? No.

Because now by the time it's out on BR and DVD I've had the entire movie spoiled within days of its theatrical release. And there is no way to prevent it aside from becoming a hermit in the woods.

It will ALWAYS be pirates having the upper hand. ALWAYS.
After 30+ years, pirates are still winning when it comes to TV and movie sharing, even games.
It doesnt matter what law comes out, nothing will change.

And that suits me just fine

Not a pirate personally (love the BR format), but I totally agree that the concept of big theatre releases followed months later by General Availability in whatever easily consumable format you desire, is an Old World model that definitely encourages people to be pirates.

This needs to stop.

ZipZapRap said,
Not a pirate personally (love the BR format), but I totally agree that the concept of big theatre releases followed months later by General Availability in whatever easily consumable format you desire, is an Old World model that definitely encourages people to be pirates.

This needs to stop.

wont stop.. they sell the movie at theaters and then sell people BR's again.. and then make money one your Netflix subscription years later..

if it reduces profits then they will never do it.
Pirates will always pirate in my opinion..

Lachlan said,

wont stop.. they sell the movie at theaters and then sell people BR's again.. and then make money one your Netflix subscription years later..

if it reduces profits then they will never do it.
Pirates will always pirate in my opinion..

If they hurried up they would make alot more money... hence why breaking bad was released on netflix same time as american release in the UK, because they made money of the subscriptions and views rather then people wanting to see it on release... if I got shows and films the same time as the americans I would pay for netflix or other such things...but no I have to wait