Despite their popularity among millions of users, torrent sites are gradually losing their appeal for online pirates in favor of streaming content. Streaming doesn’t require waiting for a download or additional storage space – content can be consumed instantly. As a Bit Torrent powered streaming app, Popcorn Time allows users to watch thousands of the latest movies instantaneously – and at no extra cost. Moreover, it provides an attractive interface which closely resembles those of popular video streaming services.
Popcorn Time is open source software with an installer and project files available on the Internet. It includes the collaboration website, GitHub, an app built on a series of APIs. It will prove challenging to enforce against the platform since the app is not actually hosting any copyrighted content, there are no ads and developers don’t seem to make any money at the moment.
In the U.S. alone, the software has already been downloaded onto millions of devices. It’s very likely to appeal to a larger numbers of consumers as it doesn’t have a shady appearance of typical pirate sites but looks just like the ‘real thing’. With content often available sooner than via legitimate sites – Popcorn Time attracts those who don’t want to wait for it to be released to official channels.
So what can media companies do to respond to this emerging piracy threat:
- Monitor Popcorn time as a part of your P2P anti-piracy program. While enforcing against Popcorn Time itself might prove as challenging as enforcing on any other torrent sites, content owners have options to collect information about users and send notices to ISPs as a part of their notice-sending program.
- Attract viewers to legitimate platforms. One of the main appeals of Popcorn Time is the speed by which content is available on the platform. Blue-Rays and DVDs are a fading technology and main audiences are shifting toward online streaming platforms. Getting licensed content to legitimate online video services will entice viewers away from platforms like Popcorn Time.
- Be innovative in your strategy. As online pirates become increasing innovative, copyright owners need to innovate as well. Recently, a Dutch movie studio secured trademark rights for ‘Popcorn Time’ and its official logo in Benelux. Now they can potentially enforce against cybersquatted domains that include registered trademarks.