Popcorn Time may be the poster child for stealing streaming content in 2015, but it looks like this will also be the year that its kernel bursts. Thanks to lawsuits filed by Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) members in Canada and New Zealand, the creators of two crucial forks for the site will be forced out of action.

In the same vein, as part of the same push against piracy profits, it has confirmed that a lawsuit was also behind last month’s shut down of a notorious torrent site, YTS.

Popcorn Time home - Piracy Profits

 

The news shows just how far beyond the “Netflix for Pirates” and “BitTorrent for Dummies” tags that it has attracted Popcorn Time actually goes.

Far from being some forward-thinking call for liberated entertainment, as is the lofty (and ludicrous) claims from its original developers, Popcorn Time was just another sleek front for unlicensed content providers seeking piracy profits.

As the MPAA’s lawsuit has served to uncover, since late last year the service has promoted a built-in add-on service called VPN.ht. This add-on is intentionally integrated into the Popcorn Time app to generate revenue for its operators by obscuring the widespread illegal copyright infringement that Popcorn Time is designed to deliver. Within the app, users can easily sign up and log in to VPN.ht, which then masks their online location to mitigate the risk of being caught infringing copyright.

Here’s where the piracy profits come in: VPN.ht sells subscriptions.

It costs $1 for the initial monthof use, followed by $4.99 for every subsequent month. Alternatively, if you’re willing to hand over all your money to this shady operation in one go, $39.99 buys a full year of keeping one’s content theft away from the long arm of the law. This past July, analysts believe the add-on generated at least $20,000 for its operators.

And who’s behind this potentially lucrative add-on, you might well ask?  Of course, it is owned and maintained by one of Popcorn Time’s principal operators…

What, you expected straight-shooting and transparency from a site that trades in stolen content?

In simple terms, Popcorn Time is just the shiny black Escalade exterior, a luxurious-looking vehicle from which far more damaging business is conducted. Namely, denying compensation to creators for their original work, profiting by selling services around that content, and creating an implausible alibi for its actions in the name of “innovation.”

The truth is, we already have innovative services delivering streaming movies, music, and television. They’ve been around for years, are affordable and widely known by anyone with an ounce of tech savvy. Those who engage in content theft know this and no amount of rationalization makes their actions any more justifiable.

Popcorn Time was all about piracy profits and not its time is up. Affordable streaming services are here to stay, increasingly popular, and illegitimate competitors will continue to be stamped out by rightsholders. The next evolution of digital entertainment is here, and there’s no reason for it to be illegal.