A web version of Popcorn Time has been shut down by the MPAA only days after it launched.
Popcorn Time was an application that promised to be the Netflix of piracy, making pirating movies and TV shows as easy, perhaps even easier than the point-and-click interface of Netflix. Instead of downloading, installing a BitTorrent client like uTorrent, and then finding and downloading torrent files, Popcorn Time automates most of this for you, and gives you a Netflix-like interface to search for and play video content.
But for all of its simplicity, users still had to download and run the Popcorn Time app. At least this was true until last week, when a new website called BrowserPopcorn was launched by web developer Milan Kragujević. It promised the full functionality of Popcorn Time running inside a browser without the need to install anything.
Whether it was intended or not, BrowserPopcorn was a shot across the bows of the likes of the MPAA, who have already expressed serious concern about Popcorn Time. An even easier to use version would be even more of a concern for rights-holders.
Since it's launch, information has been made available on the underlying architecture of BrowserPopcorn, and its resource intensive requirements (on the server end) meant that it was unlikely to have been a huge hit. But all of this is now moot, with the developer of BrowserPopcorn choosing to shut down the site due to legal pressure. A message, which has since been removed from the BrowserPopcorn website, blamed the MPAA for taking down the site (a new messages now reads: "This was never intended to be a battle for piracy, more of an experiment with the streaming technology.").
While BrowserPopcorn is down, the developer of the app, Milan Kragujević, has made the source code available for a local version of the app that users can run on their own computers within a browser, something that other developers can perhaps use to create their own BrowserPopcorn.
Update: Since this story was originally published, the official BrowserPopcorn site no longer has any content, other than a "nothing here" message.