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Popcorn Time is dead. Long live Popcorn Time!

Death is not always the end

Popcorn Time is dead. Long live Popcorn Time! Image by: Pavel Danilyuk (edited)
Thomas Macaulay
Story by

Thomas Macaulay

Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC. Writer at Neural by TNW — Thomas covers AI in all its iterations. Likes Werner Herzog films and Arsenal FC.

Pirates around the world are in mourning after the death of one of their idols: Popcorn Time.

The “Netflix for piracy,” which used the BitTorrent protocol to let users (illegally) stream films and TV shows, has passed on to the digital afterlife. At least, so it would seem to visitors of popcorn-time.tw.

A message was this week posted to the website, emblazoned with the letters “R.I.P.” Alongside the fatal abbreviation was a macabre revamp of the service’s iconic logo. Underneath the gruesome image, a Google Trends screenshot illustrated the declining interest in the service — a clue, perhaps, that its tragic end was caused by cruel neglect.

Popcorn Time is dead
Digital death comes in many forms. Credit: popcorn-time.tw

Viewers may have now moved on to other streaming services, but Popcorn Time had countless fans in its heyday.

After launching in 2014, the app exploded in popularity — and controversy.

The service was a boom to penniless movieholics, who couldn’t afford the exorbitant price of cinema tickets.

Supporters raved about the ease of finding films that were still in cinemas or neglected by streaming services. The user-friendly interface and slick looks also stood out among the seedy styles of many torrent sites.

Critics, meanwhile, warned that the service was a threat to the entertainment business.

Legal action swiftly followed.

Popcorn Time's (illegal) catalogue brought shame to rival platforms
Popcorn Time’s (illegal) catalog brought shame to rival platforms. Credit: laboratorio linux

Under pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America, the app was first shut down shortly after its release. It was then resurrected in various iterations — some of which survive to this day. Indeed, as Motherboard notes, the nature of Popcorn Time’s existence means it could live as long as the internet.

With that lifeblood coursing through the project’s veins, the obituaries seem premature.

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