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Popcorn Time Blamed for Huge Explosion in Movie and TV Show Piracy

Published Jul 6th, 2015 1:54PM EDT
Popcorn Time
Image: Popcorn Time

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Not all that long ago, downloading pirated movies was something left to technically savvy folks who knew their way around a BitTorrent client. Originally launched in 2014, Popcorn Time, often described as a Netflix for pirates, instantly changed that by providing an easy to use and intuitive platform that lets users stream movies from within a web browser or a smarpthone app.

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With the arrival and growing popularity of Popcorn Time, digital piracy has naturally seen a discernible spike across many parts of the globe. In Norway in particular, piracy levels are up 17% year over year. According to a Mediavision report recently referenced by TorrentFreak, “750,000 Norwegians from a five million population are now obtaining video from illegal sources.”

Put differently, a whopping 15% of the Norwegian population have watched pirated video content within the last year, a startling figure largely attributable to Popcorn Time, this according to a property rights group within Norway.

As one would expect, Norwegian authorities are none too thrilled with the drastic uptick in piracy. Consequently, there have been rumblings of lawsuits being brought against Norwegian ISPs at some point in the not-so-near future

Interestingly enough, Netflix is all to aware of the threat that services like Popcorn Time presen. During the company’s January earnings report, for example, they referenced the service by name while noting that piracy remains an ongoing strategic threat to their core business.

“Piracy continues to be one of our biggest competitors,” the report said. “This graph of Popcorn Time’s sharp rise relative to Netflix and HBO in the Netherlands, for example, is sobering.”

Compounding matters is that PopCorn Time is the handiwork of a team of anonymous developers, a fact which makes keeping the service at bay all the more challenging.


Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.