The service’s anonymous developers announced in a blog post Feb. 24 that the “Netflix for pirates” is up and running once again, though they acknowledge they’re “a little diminished.”
Popcorn Time has a long, winding history. It was launched in 2014 by an Argentinian hacker who was frustrated with how hard it was to watch new American movies in his hometown. While pirating illegal movies usually involves trawling virus-ridden websites and managing torrent clients, Popcorn Time made watching a pirated film just as simple as booting up Netflix.
It was a huge hit, but the original version was quickly shut down due to legal concerns. Other developers used the source code to develop a new iteration, called PopcornTime.io, that became the go-to version. But that version of Popcorn Time was shut down by the MPAA back in November.
Now it’s back, but the service is no longer in active development, according to the blog post. The developers say they will fix urgent bugs but will mostly take a hands-off approach to Popcorn Time. The original creators of the service have moved onto a legal alternative called Butter that uses the same technology but won’t stream copyrighted material.
The Popcorn Time developers have long argued that their service is legal because it doesn’t directly host content or make any money. But it’s likely this resurrected version will still draw significant ire from Hollywood’s lawyers.