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The ‘Netflix for Pirates’ Is Making a Triumphant Return

Online Piracy And Illegal Downloading Of Music, Films And SoftwareOnline Piracy And Illegal Downloading Of Music, Films And Software
A photo illustration of pirated music being illegally downloaded Matthew Lloyd—Getty Images

This post was updated at 12:47 to include a comment from the Motion Picture Association of America.

Somebody get the popcorn—this is going to be an entertaining fight.

On Thursday, the developers behind the website Popcorn Time, which allows users to stream pirated torrents of movies online, announced they have relaunched the site after a lawsuit from the Motion Picture Association of America led to its being shut down last fall.

In a blog post titled, “We Are Officially Back,” the developers behind the site, which has been called the“Netflix for Pirates,” proclaimed that the site is once again open for anti-business. As for who these folks are, the post says simply that, “We’re Popcorn Time, a bunch of geeks from all around the world, nothing has changed … We can only promise we’re not the supervillains: if any doubt arises, you’re more than welcome to inspect the code (and send fixes while you’re at it) or grab our last build from our Continuous integration.”

As for the developers’ strategy for keeping the site up and running, they write:

After the “MPAA incident”, we’re a little diminished, and we’ve chosen a new direction: we’re shifting from an active development of Popcorn Time to a more or less resilience-driven development. We will keep an eye on the bug tracker (Github) and fix the most urgent ones, but you have to understand, once more, that we are a community offering an application for those without access to a real Streaming platform and a real catalog, for free, without ads.

“Sites like Popcorn Time that encourage and facilitate the distribution of stolen creative works undermine the hard work and substantial financial investment required to produce films and television shows,” says Chris Ortman, MPAA vice president of corporate communications. “The MPAA remains focused on protecting the rights of creators and the legitimate distribution of their works.”