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Most popular Popcorn Time fork goes offline, wants to become a legal service

The most popular fork for Popcorn Time (popcorntime.io) has gone offline after a week of internal confusion. It cumulated with an announcement on Popcorn Time’s Twitter account on Friday, where it said it would be moving to its “legal” Project Butter.

A few days before the announcement, Popcorn Time reported that “someone” was tampering with its infrastructure, and it couldn’t verify its identity with Gandi.net, its domain registrar. Several developers left the project after hearing rumors of a paid VPN service in the works, which apparently overstepped the boundaries for a torrenting service and may have led to lawsuits.

Related: Music industry sues so-called Popcorn Time for music, Aurous, days after launch

The exact details are still not official, but it looks like Popcorn Time went through some serious internal issues before the shutdown. All of its services went offline earlier today, making it impossible to find the torrent homepage or stream any torrents on Popcorn Time.

It is not the first time Popcorn Time has been shut down, in March last year the original developers backed out of the project and shut it down. Popcorntime.io spang up a few weeks later, reviving the project, and receiving the green light from the original creators. But it is the first time the team that worked on popcorntime.io has decided to stop working, making avid torrenters wonder what comes next.

Popcorn Time isn’t dead, it is still available through popcorntime.se, but the most popular and safe fork appears to be gone for good. The SE fork has been known to spread malware, adware, and spyware, unlike the IO fork that for the most part has been a clean service.

Part of the team that stayed on will work on Project Butter, a legal version of Popcorn Time that will host legal movies and TV shows from BitTorrent. It plans to filter out all of the illegal streams, massively lowering the amount of content available.

Related: Studios sue 16 users of Popcorn Time, the ‘Netflix for Pirates’

Popcorn Time has caused a huge change in the torrenting business, letting users click two buttons and watch a movie or TV show, instead of finding a fast, clean torrent; downloading it; and waiting for however long it takes to seed. Netflix even claimed the service is one of the most detrimental services to the film industry.

Now that it is gone, will another Popcorn Time replace it, or something even more scary for the film industry to face?