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Popcorn Time, the piracy app that spooked Netflix, shut down

It is the end of Popcorn Time. The infamous app that illegally enabled streaming pirated movies and TV series has been shut down.

Popcorn Time's popularity has of late been skyrocketing.
It was in 2014 that the app came into the scene and it soon became one of the most popular platforms for consuming unauthorised video content. In a financial report released in 2015, Netflix Inc. warned investors about the rise of Popcorn Time, and CEO Reed Hastings stated: "Piracy continues to be one of our largest rivals."
The service's developers abandoned it soon after its launch, and emails leaked following a Sony Group Corp. attack suggested law enforcement might have been the reason. However, because the code for the app was open-source, other developers rushed in to produce fresh versions.

The app's creators wrote to the reporters on Tuesday, announcing the app's demise. Popcorn Time's goodbye letter announces "R.I.P." at the top of the page, with an illustration of a bag of movie theatre popcorn with X marks for eyes. A chart indicating interest over time based on internet searches for the app is also available on the site, similar to the one Netflix released to investors in 2015.

Also read: "Mapping the piracy scourge. A four-part series"

Netflix is concerned not only about HBO, but also about pirates. Netflix stated in a letter to shareholders that piracy is one of its "greatest rivals," and it particularly mentions one pirate service that has piqued its interest: Popcorn Time. The Popcorn Time software is designed to make pirating movies as simple as watching them on Netflix. The programme lets you explore an iTunes-like inventory of movies and TV episodes by their posters, choose one for additional information, and then begin streaming it after a brief buffering time. It is so simple to use that anyone should be able to pick it up and start viewing it right away.

Netflix referred to a Google Trends graph that compares the popularity of Netflix, HBO, and Popcorn Time search in the Netherlands. The graph shows Popcorn Time's popularity skyrocketing in the last six months, to the point where it is now on a level with Netflix and much ahead of HBO. The data is "sobering," according to Netflix.


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