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Explaining how Popcorn Time works can get you arrested in Denmark

How-to sites for the popular piracy app were shut down by authorities

Danish police have arrested two men in their thirties for running sites that helped people use Popcorn Time, an illegal streaming service that's been described as "Netflix for pirates." According to a report from Torrent Freak, the sites involved were Popcorntime.dk and Popcorn-time.dk. Both have been shut down and the rights to their domain names transferred to the Danish state.

Neither of the individuals were hosting illegal material

The case is particularly notable as neither of the individuals arrested were illegally hosting copyrighted material or copies of the Popcorn Time app itself. Instead, says Torrent Freak, both are accused of distributing information on how to access illegal content online. Inspector Michael Hellensberg of the Danish fraud squad told local media that the case was significant as "it shows that [sites' owners] can be revealed by the police. This has consequences and it also conveys the message that this behavior is illegal."

The battle between Popcorn Time's supporters and law enforcement looks like it could be a long one, with the software still easily accessible online and the support infrastructure — the system of torrenting itself — impossible to take down in any conventional sense. However, unlike the often confusing world of torrenting sites, the app's popularity springs from that the fact that it's easy to use, mimicking the design language of legal services. So much so, in fact, that Netflix describes Popcorn Time as one of its "biggest competitors."