How dangerous is it to use Popcorn Time?

Many people have the same thought with the Popcorn Time service: it is illegal, but at the same time too good to just ignore it. Why is Popcorn Time so popular and what is the risk of using this illegal service anyway?

"Popcorn Time is Netflix, only better" is a common cry. There is certainly a kernel of truth in that. The offer is in fact much more extensive than that of the American streaming film service. Unlike Netflix, Popcorn Time does contain the latest movies and episodes of series. For example, you don't have to wait years before the last season of the popular series Homeland is finally available. In addition, the latest Hollywood squatters appear in the catalog in no time. Since Popcorn Time, like Netflix, has a very user-friendly interface and supports streaming of Full HD images, not everyone feels the need to take out a subscription of ten euros per month. Why pay for something when there is a better alternative available for free? Also Read: Streaming Movies for Free Without Popcorn Time.

How Illegal Is Popcorn Time?

Although Popcorn Time has turned out to be the audience favorite among movie and series enthusiasts, you are not allowed to use the program by law for two reasons. Both downloading and distributing copyrighted files is prohibited without permission from the copyright holders. Popcorn Time therefore actually involves two violations, namely downloading and uploading protected files.

To understand this better, it is good to take a closer look at the underlying technology of the program. Popcorn Time makes good use of the bittorrent network to stream video files. As soon as you start watching a movie, the program downloads a part of the movie in the background from other bittorrent clients. These are computers that have already saved the relevant video file. While watching, you automatically share the images with other users. In this way you also contribute to the bittorrent network. P2P technology is a wonderful tool for sharing movies among themselves, but unfortunately it is forbidden to use in this form.

Popcorn Time and the Legal Consequences

Whoever installs Popcorn Time and streams movies, theoretically runs the risk of being sued. Copyright organizations and film companies can hold offenders liable for lost revenue. There are no known examples of this in the Netherlands.

The BREIN Foundation recently informed us that it will not take any measures against individual users of Popcorn Time for the time being. This copyright organization prefers to tackle the supply side of illegal streaming services, although it says that could change due to future developments. Furthermore, film companies can of course also sue individual users of Popcorn Time on their own initiative. Incidentally, that is a rather difficult job, because internet providers in the Netherlands do not, in principle, hand over customer data to third parties for privacy reasons. For that reason, the users are still relatively anonymous. The chance of being caught in the Netherlands is therefore small, but of course there is always a risk.

Across the border

The Dutch BREIN Foundation is actually quite sympathetic towards Popcorn Time users. Similar organizations across the border opt for a tougher approach. For example, the Norwegian agency Rettighets-Alliansen sent a warning letter to about 50 to 75 thousand alleged Popcorn Time users in recent months. The organization has built the database on the basis of IP addresses that it has requested from internet providers. In Germany, law firms make a sport of sending fine letters to distributors of copyrighted content.

Among the victims are many Popcorn Time users, as they automatically share the files with other computers within the bittorrent network. Incidentally, the amount of such fines is not sickening, often an amount of more than a thousand euros is paid. Furthermore, many countries are taking measures to restrict the use of Popcorn Time. For example, British internet providers are no longer allowed to pass on various websites that contain the installation file of the streaming service. Finally, in Denmark, two men have been arrested who run Popcorn Time instructional websites.


The makers of Popcorn Time are treading on thin ice. Various agencies from the film industry, copyright watchdogs and governments of many Western countries denounce the illegal offer. They are pulling out all the stops to get the service offline. Logically, the people who monitor the development of Popcorn Time prefer to remain anonymous for that reason. We tracked down a major developer (KsaRedFx) of the illegal streaming service and asked him or her some questions.

The use of Popcorn Time is illegal worldwide. What is your opinion about this?

Popcorn Time is indeed illegal in most countries, but not everywhere. Our website clearly states that downloading copyrighted material may be illegal in your country and that you use it at your own risk. To protect our users, we advise them to use a VPN server so that their IP address is camouflaged. If they want, they can also use Popcorn Time's built-in VPN server for this.

Why are you actively contributing to the development of Popcorn Time?

Personally, I would like to show with Popcorn Time how well we can build a streaming service without having to deal with all kinds of bureaucratic authorities. It is not very complicated to offer a fantastic streaming service with new films and series worldwide. Furthermore, with Popcorn Time, I want to challenge film companies to compete with us. Ultimately, I hope they come up with a streaming service that offers a similar or better experience at a reasonable price.

Many copyright organizations are eager to take down Popcorn Time. How do you prevent that?

Once a user has downloaded Popcorn Time, they only visit our website for program updates. The current offer comes directly from bittorrent. Since the files are stored on millions of computers, it is impossible to stop using Popcorn Time.

Are you afraid that copyright organizations will hold Popcorn Time employees accountable, as has happened to the makers of The Pirate Bay before?

I am aware that the possibility of a lawsuit against us is real. However, we do many things differently than The Pirate Bay and offer a very different service. Legally speaking, we are entering a gray area with Popcorn Time, which makes it difficult for many authorities to start lawsuits.

Recent Posts

$config[zx-auto] not found$config[zx-overlay] not found