There are corks popping around the MPAA offices today. The American trade organization is claiming responsibility for shutting down several pirating services including a popular version of Popcorn Time, you know, the Netflix for pirates. This comes after the MPAA obtained an injunction in a Canadian against three operators of PopcornTime.io, which forced the site and service offline.
The MPAA also won an interim injunction in a New Zealand court against the operator of YTS, which it claimed was the home of the pirating group YIFY. The torrent site came online in 2010, and according to report by TorrentFreak, the pirating group was responsible for releasing some 6,000 titles.
“This coordinated legal action is part of a larger comprehensive approach being taken by the MPAA and its international affiliates to combat content theft,” said MPAA chairman Chris Dodd.
Both PopcornTime.io and YTS stopped operating about 10 days ago.
Shutting down YIFY is a major victory for the MPAA. This is a group that uploads the original pirated material. YIFY’s pirated content was found on many distribution sites and used for a good chunk of the streams available through Popcorn Time. With this release group, YIFY, also operated a distribution site, YTS, which made the group more public facing than others, which tend to more quietly release pirated content.
Like piracy in general, Popcorn Time will not be easily shut down. The so-called Netflix for Pirates was first released in March 2014, but was quickly shut down. However, before going dark, the creators uploaded the source code to GitHub, allowing anyone to download and develop on the original code base. Since then, several groups have taken up the Popcorn Time banner and charged forward in the face of the MPAA. PopcornTime.io, the fork that was shut down, was one of the most popular versions, but others still work — at least for now. As I wrote shortly after the first version was taken down, Popcorn Time is Hollywood’s worst nightmare and it can’t be stopped.