The MPAA issues takedown requests to Popcorn Time forks, including its legal spinoff

popcorn time legal spinoff butter under fire from mpaa online
After shutting down for what appeared to be forever last fall, one of the most popular forks of Popcorn Time resurfaced last month, leading to much rejoicing among those who walk on the darker side of the Internet. Of course, it didn’t take long for the MPAA to take notice, and it’s not only targeting Popcorn Time, but the ostensibly legal code that powers it as well.

The group has contacted GitHub, requesting that the site take down multiple code repositories related to Popcorn Time, TorrentFreak reports. Additionally, multiple takedown requests were sent to multiple projects forked from Popcorn Time. Many of these are unashamedly designed with the purpose of sharing copyrighted content in mind, but not all of them. But that, apparently, doesn’t matter to the MPAA.

“There are multiple ‘forks’ of Popcorn Time, all of which are 100% unlicensed and infringing, and many of which have been subject to litigation and court orders around the world confirming their infringement,” the MPAA message to GitHub reads.

One of these projects is known as Butter, which many of the original Popcorn Time developers shifted their development efforts to after the shutdown last fall. Much as the core technology behind BitTorrent does nothing illegal, Butter simply provides the streaming technology used by Popcorn Time.

Butter is used by several projects on GitHub, some of which are similar to Popcorn Time, and some which aren’t. One project among those targeted by the MPAA even belongs to the Brazilian Ministry of Culture, which probably isn’t using the software to stream an old DVD rip of Die Hard. A representative of the Brazilian Ministry of Culture told TorrentFreak that it plans to issue a statement on the matter soon.

Whether or not it’s being used for legal projects, Butter’s capacity to be used for copyright infringement seems to be reason enough for the MPAA to want it gone. “We hope you agree that GitHub’s responsibility to not knowingly assist in a massive copyright infringement operation does not end with its DMCA policy,” the group wrote in its message to GitHub.

We’ve seen this before with multiple technologies — some, like BitTorrent are still around and used for a variety of both infringing and non-infringing purposes. Others, like the peer-to-peer sharing networks of yore, exist mainly as pieces of history. Which way will Popcorn Time end up? For the time being, it seems that much of that lies in GitHub’s hands.

Movies & TV

11 Hollywood heavyweights who jumped from the big screen to the small screen

From Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep to James Franco and Mahershala Ali, lots of Hollywood A-list actors with successful film careers are flocking to television projects during the second Golden Age of Television.

Google Fi: Phones, plans, pricing, perks, and more explained

Google's wireless service, formerly Project Fi, now goes by the name of Google Fi, and it's now compatible with a majority of Android phones, as well as iPhones. Here's everything you need to know about Google Fi.

Is Google launching a game-streaming service? Watch our GDC livestream to see

Google is presenting its 2019 GDC keynote on March 19. Here is how you can tune in to watch the event, as well as what could be shown during the presentation. Google's Project Stream service could be on the agenda.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Social Media

New Zealand attack shows that as A.I. filters get smarter, so do violators

The shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand were livestreamed to social media, and while stats show networks are improving at removing offending videos, as the system improves, so do the violators' workarounds.

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.
Movies & TV

No TV? No problem. Here's how to watch the Final Four online

Whether you want to watch the Big Dance on your phone or on your smart TV, we have the lowdown on all the ways to watch March Madness you can handle. Grab your foam finger and some nachos.

Patreon is having another go at changing the way it charges creators

Patreon messed up pretty badly the last time it tried to change its payment system. Now it's having another go, though this time the changes mainly affect future sign-ups rather than its current community of creators.

Pinning websites to your taskbar is as easy as following these quick steps

Would you like to know how to pin a website to the taskbar in Windows 10 in order to use browser links like apps? Whichever browser you're using, it's easier than you might think. Here's how to get it done.

Switch up your Reddit routine with these interesting, inspiring, and zany subs

So you've just joined the wonderful world of Reddit and want to explore it. But with so many subreddits to choose from, exploring them can be overwhelming. Here are some of the best subreddits to get you started.

Confused about RSS? Don't be. Here's what it is and how to use it

What is an RSS feed, anyway? This traditional method of following online news is still plenty useful. Let's take a look at what RSS means, and what advantages it has in today's busy world.

Don’t be fooled! Study exposes most popular phishing email subject lines

Phishing emails are on the rise and a new study out by the cybersecurity company Barracuda has exposed some of the most common phishing email subject lines used to exploit businesses. 

How much!? British Airways glitch results in $4.2M quote for family vacation

Website errors sometimes cause flight prices to display at way below the correct price. But British Airways recently experienced the opposite issue when it tried to charge a family more than $4 million for a vacation in Mexico.