Last year, Popcorn Time exploded on to the scene by allowing users to watch nearly any movie they wanted, free of charge, as long as they didn’t mind that it was being pirated. As expected, the MPAA took an immediate dislike to the concept, and the most popular fork, PopcornTime.io, was shut down by court order last fall.
That seemed to be that, except earlier this month, users who had hung on to the software started receiving updates again, Torrent Freak reports. Following the updates, the software again became functional, but who was behind these updates remained a mystery, at least until yesterday.
A post appeared on the Popcorn Time Blog yesterday, announcing that the project was officially back. “After the ‘MPAA incident,’ we’re a little diminished, and we’ve chosen a new direction: we’re shifting from an active development of Popcorn Time to a more or less resilience-driven development,” the announcement reads.
That final line seems a little strange at first, but what it means is that most of the team is now working on a different project by the name of Butter, which is ostensibly legal, unlike Popcorn Time. Butter will be used as a base for Popcorn Time going forward, allowing the Butter developers to work on the project without the threat of legal action.
At least, that’s the plan. It remains to be seen whether the MPAA or other groups will look at it the same way. And in the meantime, the team behind the revived Popcorn Time prefers to remain anonymous, meaning that users will simply have to take the group at its word.
At this point in time, that shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who are still using these types of services. In the months following the shutdown, a number of clones popped up and were removed, with many of them trying to charge users. “The last four months have been chaotic,” the blog post reads. “We’ve seem some forks keeping up the good work and others who just wanted to attract users into a trap of adwares & malwares”
In the meantime, another alternative that is even easier to use, Torrents Time, has also surfaced. Available as a simple script that torrent sites can easily plug in to allow easy viewing of video files, it has already drawn the attention of Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN.
For its part, the team behind the revived Popcorn Time says it wants nothing to do with the monetization route that many similar projects have taken. “We’d like to add that we do not accept any donation and have no interest in monetizing Popcorn Time by any way: our philosophy hasn’t changed,” the blog post reads.