Since it came about last year, Popcorn Time has become the Netflix for torrented fims and TV shows.
Popcorn Time is a high quality BitTorrent client/player that made other apps like Cartoon HD and HD Cinema look positively third rate. It was easy to use, had a huge library and was regularly updated with fresh content.
However, due to the explosion in piracy attributed to Popcorn Time, countries like Norway have begun cracking down on those using the service. According to a Mediavision report, ‘750,000 Norwegians from a five million population are now obtaining video from illegal sources’. A truly staggering figure.
Norway is incredibly tough on piracy, which is why the Rights Alliance — an anti-piracy group — has collected IP addresses on thousands of Popcorn Time users, ranging between 50,000 to 75,000. It’s not known what they plan on doing with this information, though the Rights Alliance claim those on their list may well receive a ‘surprise in the mail’.
This implies that the Rights Alliance could now get a court order in order to force ISPs to uncover the individual users behind the IP addresses they have.
However, it’s not as straightforward as all that as the Rights Alliance must determine which IP addresses have been used. Most Norwegian internet users have dynamic IP addresses which regularly change and don’t necessarily identify the user. There are other legal problems persist. According to law professor Olav Torvund: “One must have acted intentionally or negligently and known or understood that material is being shared with others [when using Popcorn Time]”.
We shall see how this plays out for Popcorn Time.