Want to keep the TNW Conference vibe going?? Tickets for TNW2022 are available now >>

The heart of tech

This article was published on February 17, 2016

The original Popcorn Time is back from the dead — but nobody knows who’s running it

The original Popcorn Time is back from the dead — but nobody knows who’s running it
Owen Williams
Story by

Owen Williams

Former TNW employee

Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their word Owen was a reporter for TNW based in Amsterdam, now a full-time freelance writer and consultant helping technology companies make their words friendlier. In his spare time he codes, writes newsletters and cycles around the city.

Popcorn Time suddenly went offline last year with the Motion Picture Association of America claiming it had successfully shut down the service by catching the people behind it. Now, it’s suddenly back from the dead.

The original app suddenly started functioning again today — and received an update titled “Hail Hydra” with a number of bug fixes.

Screen Shot 2016-02-17 at 1.13.00 PM

The Website also reappeared, at a different domain name, as well as the official GitHub becoming active again and the original Twitter account tweeting the news.

What’s strange, however, is that nobody seems to know who is behind the updated app.

Torrentfreak talked to the original team, which claimed to have nothing to do with the revived app — and are still actively being sued by the MPAA.

It gets weirder — a number of the domains being used by the app are still controlled by the MPAA, yet the project still uses private keys that match the original team’s for distribution.

It’s entirely possible (though unlikely) that the MPAA could be trying to use the app as a honeypot to track movie pirates.

That said, the app has seen active development quietly being made on Github for weeks and the updater is using a domain that appears to be in someone else’s control..

The updated version only makes minimal changes — using the new ‘legal’ Butter engine the team had originally created for getting access to movies and removing the premium VPN option from the app. It also allows you to customize where the torrents are actually sourced from.

For now, proceed with caution. Given that it’s unclear who’s really in control here, it’s probably safer to use other options.

Popcorn Time