The last few days have been and are still very confusing to users of Popcorn Time. An internal dispute has been going on among the developers, apparently because of the affiliation with the VPN provider VPN.ht. The VPN service was founded by some of the Popcorn Time developers and was some time ago integrated in to the software.
This has undoubtedly generated a significant stream of revenue but has also obscured Popcorn Time as a purely ideological project and has made it a bigger and easier target for lawsuits. One thing is making access to copyrighted material so easy that everyone can do it but another thing is profiting from it.
From the info gathered here and there (mostly rumours and definitely nothing official or final) the situation is as follows:
December 18th it was officially announced on popcorntime.io that three members of the development team had decided either to leave the project or were kicked out. To be more accurate the proponents of the commercial angle kept the project and the opponents have left. In what seems to be a desperate attempt to foil the plans to continue the Popcorn Time project without them, one or more of the departing members decided to wipe as much as possible Popcorn Time related including website, development platform (github), social pages etc., resulting in downtime for both website, social pages and the service itself. For a moment yesterday (October 23rd, 2015) the website was back up but is yet again not accessable and the service can’t be used either.
Many have dubbed this the death of Popcorn time but of you are to believe the rumours this is far from the truth and the current situation is merely temporary. It seems the departing members have started up a new project called “Butter Project” (visit the website) and they have posted some interesting comments on the new website:
- on one hand popcorntime.io will continue to deliver the exact same experience to our beloved users.
- on the other the butter team will operate in an absolutely clear legal framework to develop the best technology we can.
What the Butter Project will be is uncertain at this point but a rumour is that it will be very much like what Popcorn Time is now but with a few changes:
- No affiliation with a VPN provider so the integrated VPN service will have to be removed.
- The clear framework will most likely be obtained simply by removing all copyright protected material from the menus. It will still, however, be accessable but users will have to install third-party plugins to create the connection.
So it seems that the Popcorn Time project will continue down the same path as before and we just need to be a bit patient for the systems to get back online.
Regardless of what happens, you can bet the people at the unofficial Popcorn Time project, Time4popcorn, are having a party right now. 😉