The MPAA just announced that it is responsible for the demise of Popcorn Time: a popular program that brought Netflix-style ease of use to pirating movie torrents. There have been multiple versions of Popcorn Time, but one of the two biggest versions of the service (popcorntime.io) was shut down in October after a dispute between its developers. (Another major fork of the software, popcorn-time.se, is still available.) The MPAA says that its six member companies filed a lawsuit in Canada against the operators of popcorntime.io, and a separate lawsuit in New Zealand that targeted the operator of a Bittorrent site which provided Popcorn Time with pirated movies and TV shows.
"Popcorn Time and YTS are illegal platforms that exist for one clear reason: to distribute stolen copies of the latest motion pictures and television shows without compensating the people who worked so hard to make them," MPAA CEO Chris Dodd said in a statement. "Development of high-quality entertainment requires significant investment of time and resources, and creators rely on a fair and lawful ecosystem that minimizes the significant impact of piracy."
The movie and music industry won't ever win the war on piracy, but they do win some battles — and Popcorn Time was a big target. The service made watching illegally obtained movies and TV shows incredibly simple and user-friendly by concealing all of the messy parts of stealing movies; users didn't need to know how to use peer-to-peer download programs, or search for content in a sea of dubious magnet links. Its accessibility no doubt led to its massive popularity, and also scrutiny from the MPAA. The organization has aggressively gone after the service, and successfully took down a browser version of Popcorn Time last month. It's possible that other developers will bring the most popular version Popcorn Time back, but it's clear that anybody who works on it will be making themselves a target for the movie industry's lawyers.
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