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Thread: 'Netflix for pirates' Popcorn Time now available in your web browser

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    'Netflix for pirates' Popcorn Time now available in your web browser

    Hollywood's never-ending battle to protect copyright revenues has hit another snag with a new web browser version of Popcorn Time allowing people to watch content for free with two or three clicks of the mouse.

    Dubbed "Netflix for pirates", Popcorn Time has previously existed as a desktop app which needed to be downloaded to the user's computer first.

    Before the app, piracy had required a bit more tech nous, with the method of choice being a BitTorrent client and searching for torrents.

    Torrents are files stored and shared across many users' devices via "peer to peer" technology rather than stored and downloaded from, say, a website.

    Popcorn Time still utilises torrents, but the app does all of the grunt work in the background while presenting a slick user interface modelled on Netflix and other streaming apps, enabling files to be streamed instantly rather than having to wait for them to be downloaded fully.

    Now users don't even need to download an app — it's just a matter of typing in a URL into a web browser, clicking on something you like, and then opening a packet of Maltesers. (Or, um, popcorn.)

    The catch is the web app will bombard users with pop-up ads spruiking questionable "get rich quick" schemes and the like. These can easily be worked around however with a simple ad-blocking browser extension.

    We used AdBlock in Safari and the pop-ups vanished. And, of course, it may look a lot like Netflix - but it is still piracy.

    Movie studios, such as Voltage Pictures — which is still fighting in an Australian court to get the personal details of more than 4000 Australians it believes pirated its film Dallas Buyers Club — have already started going after individual users of Popcorn Time.

    Technology news website The Verge reports the new Popcorn Time web app is a rehash of a previous version, and that the new version was created by a 15-year-old Serbian boy who has no connection with the original app's creators.

    Named Milan Kragujevic, he said on Product Hunt, a website that features new sites, that he would keep his site live no matter what.

    He said he created the site because of geo-blocking, the high cost of content, studios insisting on digital rights management software that restricts users from being able to share content, and streaming sites not being available all over the world in all languages.

    "I live in a country where copyright law is almost non-existent, and simply I don't care," he said.

    "I will keep moving the website, changing domains and providers [if it is shut down]...

    "I don't need to earn a single penny from it, I just want to do it because I believe that piracy will eventually cause the streaming bubble to pop, and the movie studios will realise that."

    The result is a lot less sophisticated version than the original app, which includes star ratings, synopses, information on video quality, and personalisation features such as a "watch list" and favourites, all of which are not present in the web version.

    It's also slightly buggy — after you perform a search it seems to get stuck with that search term instead of showing you all the content available. You'll have to refresh the URL or press the back button in your browser to reset it.

    The web app library also appears to be more limited than in the desktop app. For instance, we were able to find seasons three to five of Game of Thrones in the Popcorn Time desktop app, but not in the web app.

    But it still has buckets of new release films that aren't yet available to stream in Australia through legal online channels.

    A quick search threw up many big ticket 2015 films—Pixels, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Paper Towns, Southpaw and Mad Max: Fury Road, for starters — available to view in the web app with just a few clicks.

    Of Australia's video streaming providers — Netflix, Stan, Presto and Quickflix — only Quickflix had a single one of these titles available for streaming (Avengers).

    Popcorn Time's original creator, based in Argentina, argues people pirate because of poor pricing and availability of content.

    The same reasons are frequently touted in Australia as being behind our high rates of piracy, with Australia notoriously late to receive movie releases, and at higher prices than elsewhere.

    Concerns have been raised over whether Australia's recent agreement to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership will create harsher penalties for Australian pirates, however the government has consistently said there will be no changes to copyright law as a result of the trade pact.
    Last edited by whiteLight; 10-20-2015 at 07:43 AM.
    CtrlAltDel, jep28 and poker like this.

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    The film studios have been chasing for years but they will never catch up.
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