Illegal streaming service Popcorn Time has been the bête noire of the movie studios every since it emerged last year.
Now the UK’s High Court has ruled that the country’s five biggest broadband providers must block five websites that host the app download.
It’s a hollow victory for the copyright holders. The order means Sky, BT, EE, TalkTalk and VirginMedia will have to prevent their customers from viewing those pages, but others will spring up almost instantly.
Meanwhile, the Popcorn Time service itself – which recently made the leap to non-jailbroken iOS devices – will carry on regardless, thanks to its torrent-based distribution system.
Mr Judge Birss, who heard the case brought by Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros, Paramount, Disney, and Columbia Pictures, nails the application to the wall in his judgment:
It is manifest that the Popcorn Time…is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its purpose. No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content.
And no one who uses Popcorn Time cares either.
We’ve contacted the faceless crew behind Popcorn Time for comment and will update this story if and when we hear back.
Update: Here’s what Popcorn Time has to say about the decision:
We’re pretty disappointed from the judicial system in the UK and feel pretty sorry for the citizens of England for their basic rights, like the freedom of speech and net neutrality being revoked so easily.We hope to see some sort of protest from the citizens of the UK against this order, but given how easy it is for the judicial system there to hurt their basic rights, we doubt they will do so.We find this move they made pretty predictable and we’re sure that this is not the last of it. We’re working full force now even more than ever on making Popcorn Time fully p2p and soon the software will not be depended on any domain or centralized server to operate.