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Piracy Epidemic Blamed on 'Too Easy to Use' Popcorn Time, Lawsuits on the Way

Posted by: , 21:19 AEST, Fri July 3, 2015

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Norway experiencing dramatic rise in movie and TV piracy, and right-holder groups blame it on Popcorn Time
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The Movie and TV show piracy rate in Norway has risen dramatically over the last year, and movie studios are blaming it on the rise of an open source software.

While Norway has been in the piracy headlines recently, but it was largely for the positive news of the country's music piracy rate having dropped dramatically. But while Spotify and other legal alternatives have been helping to practically eliminate music piracy in the country, at the same time, a software tool called Popcorn Time has been making it easier than ever to pirate movies and TV shows.

For the uninitiated, Popcorn Time started out as an open source project to make streaming and downloading videos via BitTorrent without the user requiring any technical knowledge whatsoever. With the searching, streaming and downloading simplified to a few mouse clicks, Popcorn Time was dubbed the Netflix for pirates - except unlike Netflix, Popcorn Time gives you almost all of the latest TV shows and movies, including films that were still showing in cinemas.

While the original Popcorn Time development was stopped due to pressure from rights-holders, the original creators of the program - in their infinite wisdom, or calculated evilness, depending on your perspective - made the software open source, which meant that development of the tool went on even after the original project had been forced to cease.

This allowed Popcorn Time to live on and gain further popularity, to the point where the real Netflix even started to express concern about this so called Netflix for pirates.

Now, a report published by consultancy firm Mediavision is showing that people participating in movie and TV piracy in Norway has risen 17% in the last year, while at the same time, the use of pirated streaming has doubled.

This dramatic rise in streaming piracy is being blamed on Popcorn Time by Norway's anti-piracy group, Rights Alliance Norway. 

"The reason for the increase in piracy is Popcorn Time ... It is unfortunately an incredibly easy way to watch movies. But one should be aware that this is a criminal offense. We are now collecting the IP addresses of Norwegian users of Popcorn Time," says Rights Alliance Norway chief Willy Johansen.

Apart from targeting downloaders, Rights Alliance Norway is also looking to sue ISPs to force them to block access.

"There is nothing that can be sent to the court today. But we’re working on it together with our attorneys to look into the possibility of getting this stopped through a lawsuit against broadband providers," warned Johansen.


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