'Netflix of piracy' service will be switched off, say developers

An illegal streaming service and app that had been dubbed the 'Netflix of piracy' will be discontinued due to a lack of interest, say its developers.

Popcorn Time is a multi-platform, free software BitTorrent client that includes an integrated media player, that attracted considerable attention when it launched in 2014, as it promised to allow people to use a single interface to access peer-to-peer torrents of pirated and other content from multiple sources.

The launch sent a shockwave through the sector, with Netflix citing it as a threat to its business model, but usage tailed off dramatically in the coming years, as the following graphic posted by the group behind the app illustrates:

Legal pressure from rights owners including the Motion Picture Association of America meant that its original creators abandoned the project early on, although the code for the app was open-source so other developers kept the service running.

The demise of the service suggests that consumers are happy to pay for the convenience of legitimate subscription streaming services, although the proliferation of different paid platforms has led to warnings that piracy may stage a comeback.

That gathered pace during the pandemic, when most films skipped theatrical releases and went straight to digital release.

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