What Exactly Is Popcorn Time, Is It Safe and Legal To Use?

Movie time is popcorn time and the platform Popcorn Time as the name tends to imply, does ensure that you have enough movies to chill with your popcorn. A sentence on the platform’s official site boldy states: “Just take care of the popcorn and leave the rest to us.” Like many other free streaming platforms like it, Popcorn Time has had to fight for its existence due to heat from authorities responsible for clamping down on copyright infringement. Ultimately, Popcorn Time has been victorious and though its original URL was shut down, it emerged with a new one months later and has since continued its operations.

What Exactly Is Popcorn Time?

The tech industry dubbed it the Netflix of pirated movies but the makers saw it as an honor rather than an insult. Basically, they are proud of being able to create a widely-loved easy-to-use platform as a worthy alternative the subscription-based Netflix.

Popcorn Time grants it’s users free access to content (movies and TV shows), however, unlike other streaming platforms like Putlocker and 123Movies that simply connect users to servers carrying the link for streaming, Popcorn Time makes use of the BitTorrent protocol whereby contents are distributed among peers – that is a particular torrent is obtained from another peer computer instead of a server, this is also known as the peer-to-peer technology.

Popcorn Time differs from other Torrent clients in that it provides a multi-media interface and instead of waiting for a download to complete before streaming begins as in traditional torrents, it uses sequential downloading to stream such that the streaming starts simultaneously with the download.

However, when the download is complete, the (seeded) file is only temporarily stored on the platform and is deleted upon a restart or when the application is closed. This way a user doesn’t get to keep a copy of the streamed file.

The concept of Popcorn Time is the brainchild of a group of developers in Buenos Aires, Argentina including Federico Abad and Matías Fork. Developed as free software (a matter of liberty rather than price), the source code was made available on their website such that contributors could download it – as a result, the platform has been localized into at least 44 languages.

The platform is made available to macOS, Window, Android and the Linux operating systems and is now accessible via the URL popcorntime.sh.

Is It Safe and Legal To Use?

When Popcorn Time launched its services in 2014 there were many positives, however, there was always going to be the problem of copyright infringement and it wasn’t long before the authorities came knocking.

Regarding the safety of this platform, Popcorn Time is pretty much safe compared to similar streaming platforms and this is because the app contains zero ads and the interface is as easy as Netflix’s, thus the issue of malware and adware is completely scrapped. That said, when it comes to its legality, it’s a whole different ball game.

Read Also: What Is SolarMovie, How Does It Work, Is It Legal And Safe To Use?

When Popcorn Time was soaring high in popularity the Motion Picture Association of America came hot on their heels and on the 14th of March 2014, the platform was pressured into shutting down its operations on grounds of copyright infringement. The MPAA at the time collaborated with three continents in its bid to shut down what was termed a major piracy threat. Developers of Popcorn Time, in turn, criticized the movie industry for being a hindrance to innovation and described them as ‘anti-consumer’.

Access to the platform was also shut down in the UK and Israel while in Denmark two were arrested for distributing information about the platform. The good news was that Popcorn Time being a free software had its source code available which was later forked by various developers around the world to continue the program. And then came August 2015 when popcorntime.io emerged as the successor to the original service, subsequently, it received backing from the original developers of Popcorn Time. Though the MPAA would later obtain a court injunction from New Zealand and Canada to shut it down in November 2015, it would resurface as popcorntime.sh in February 2016.

In conclusion, the use of Popcorn Time is deemed illegal depending on which country you’re streaming from. In the US, UK and most countries in the EU, it is highly illegal but for third world countries with less strict copyright laws, it’s pretty safe. Using a VPN to shield one’s location could however come in handy.


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