Popcorn Time has had a rough existence, but that’s likely due to its very nature. Those behind the app, which offers Netflix-style streaming of torrented media, have consistently asserted that the service is legal, but it seems that those whose oxen are being gored by the service disagree.
The U.K. High Court ruled yesterday that sites offering the Popcorn Time software are to be blocked. While smaller ISPs may be able to skirt around the issue, the five largest ISPs in the U.K. – Sky, BT, EE, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media – will be ordered to carry out the action, according to Variety.
“It is manifest that the Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the Internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its purpose,” Judge Birss writes in the judgment. “No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content. One can therefore entirely sympathise with the claimants in seeking to block its operation and use. ”
This type of action is nothing new. Multiple torrent sites, with ThePirateBay being the largest, have been blocked in compliance with similar rulings in the past. The only difference is that instead of offering torrent files, the sites in question offer software that points to those torrent files.
While none of the ISPs in question raised any opposition to the order, this won’t affect those already using the app in the U.K., Engadget points out. Like other BitTorrent clients, the app uses peer-to-peer connections, so the block won’t change how it operates at all.
As for those who haven’t downloaded Popcorn Time yet, it may be more difficult, but it won’t be impossible. Only five websites offering the software are to be blocked, and it’s very likely that after the order is carried out, more sites will begin offering downloads of the app.
This is certainly a blow to Popcorn Time, but it’s a minor one at best. This ruling only applies in the U.K., and as we’ve seen time and time again with torrent sites, the results of these measures are often only temporary.
Popcorn Time made headlines earlier this month when it finally made its way to iOS devices, and notably, installation and use of the app doesn’t even require a jail-broken device.
For the full details on the court case, the ruling is available for download as a Word doc.