The end of this story was written the day the Motion Picture Association of America sued users of Popcorn Time - the MPAA has officially shut down several torrent-related sites, including the system that powers Popcorn Time. This was accomplished through court cases in Canada and New Zealand, and resulted in the shutdown of PopcornTime.io, which happened on October 9th, and YTS, which ended min-October.
Chris Dodd, MPAA Chairman said,
Popcorn Time and YTS are illegal platforms that exist for one clear reason: to distribute stolen copies of the latest motion pictures and television shows without compensating the people who worked so hard to make them.
The problem for the MPAA with a move like this is, while the website that serves the apps might have been shut down, it is easy enough to register another domain and update the software. In fact, that appears to be exactly what happened. The apps have been updated and continue to operate, and the website has a note reminding people to ensure they are using the latest version. This is likely because it is now interacting with a new torrent system instead of popcorntime.io.
If the MPAA is actually interested in preventing, or at least reducing piracy of its content, they might want to reconsider their tactics. This type of brute force approach has never worked. Copy protection on cable, VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray have always been easy to circumvent using cables available at almost any electronics retailer. In fact, many people never even knew that recording movies and television off of television was technologically prevented because of how easy circumvention has been.
Pulling down websites is the same kind of brute force approach. The web isn't the simple place that the MPAA thinks that it is. In fact, it is a very complicated place, where software is easy to move and software is easy to update. It is more like the Hydra of ancient Greece, where you cut off its head and 2 more grow back. It is likely that the newest version of the software has a collection of domains it checks looking for content, all with the same back-end software. So, all they have accomplished here is to make the beast stronger than before.
How might they successfully combat the problem? I'm not sure, but perhaps less expensive licensing agreements could be a start, allowing companies like Hulu and Netflix to keep their costs down, or increase their overall catalog size. What are your ideas? Let us know in the comments.