Is Popcorn Time's wild run coming to an end? One of the two biggest versions of the illegal streaming service, popcorntime.io, was reportedly shut down for good last week after a dispute between developers. The website itself is unavailable, the app no longer works, and an official Twitter account announced last Friday (in what it described as "probably" its last message) that users should instead download Butter, a legal version of the app.
Earlier last week, a number of popcorntime.io's core developers left the project, fearing that the proposed inclusion of a paid anonymizing VPN service would lead to legal trouble. (Many people involved in the project have held the belief that because the app doesn't make any money, it's legal. Intellectual property lawyers would likely disagree.) According to a report from Torrent Freak, the remaining developers did try to keep the service running after their colleagues left, but were unable to take control of the original popcorntime.io domain.
"There is nothing I can do anymore. I deleted any logs that can be harmful."
"In the last few days someone has been tempering [sic] with our infrastructure, mainly our DNS service, and we can’t convince our provider Gandi.net that we are us and want to stay online," reads a message on the cached version of popcorntime.io. Since then, a developer for the app identified as Wally has told Torrent Freak that they have shut down the site's servers completely. "There is nothing I can do anymore," said Wally. "I deleted any logs that can be harmful for any other dev."
So, is this the end for Popcorn Time? Yes and no. Popcorntime.io was the most popular version of the app, endorsed by the streaming service's original creators (who left the project in March last year), but other forks remain, including Time4Popcorn, which is hosted at popcorn-time.se. However, while the .io version was generally thought to be safe to use, the .se fork has been frequently accused of hosting adware and viruses that infect users' computers.
In other words, one of the qualities that made Popcorn Time so popular — its relative safety compared to shadier pirating sites — is no longer assured. Other developers may attempt to resurrect the streaming service in one way or another, but for now, Popcorn Time looks down for the count.Verge Video: Dealflicks wants to change how you buy movie tickets