Movie Streaming App Popcorn Time Shuts Down

2:21 PM PST 03/14/2014 by Natalie Jarvey
Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

UPDATED: The app worked by streaming torrents from download sites such as The Pirate Bay.

The developers behind Popcorn Time announced Friday that they are shutting down the streaming video service. 

They took to publishing platform Medium to explain their decision, saying that "we need to move on with our lives."

"Our experiment has put us at the doors of endless debates about piracy and copyright, legal threats and the shady machinery that makes us feel in danger for doing what we love," they added. "And that’s not a battle we want a place in."

Popcorn Time, which has surged in popularity in recent days, launched in February and is a sort of Netflix for pirated video content. It was created by a group of Buenos Aires-based developers using the open source software website GitHub. 

The app -- which is available for Mac, Windows and Linux -- used technology to stream torrents available on download sites such as The Pirate Bay and YTS.

Those sites use the open source BitTorrent protocol to allow people to download pirated Hollywood titles. Popcorn Time makes it even easier to access that content by allowing viewers to stream the videos through the app instead of downloading large files onto their personal computers. 

Despite streaming pirated content, Popcorn Time has maintained that it is not breaking the law because it does not host any of the content. "Popcorn Time as a project is legal. We checked. Four Times," the developers wrote in the blog post. 

The decision to shut down comes after Popcorn Time was pulled from website host Mega, the site run by celebrity hacker Kim Dotcom, on Wednesday for violating the terms of service. The company initially announced via its Twitter account that it would resume operations. Instead, it shut down two days later.

Because the software is open source, it's unclear whether Popcorn Time will disappear entirely. But the initial developers are clearly distancing themselves from it. 

"Our huge reach gave us access to a lot of people, from newspapers to the creators of many sites and apps that had a huge global reach," Popcorn Time's developers wrote in the goodbye post. "We learned a lot from these people, especially that standing against an old fashioned industry has its own associated costs. Costs that no one should have to pay in any way, shape or form."
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