When the main fork of popular torrent video-on-demand app Popcorn Time closed in October, citing legal issues and splits within the development team, many suspected that the so-called “Netflix for pirates” was a goner.
But it seems that reports of Popcorn Time’s demise has been greatly exaggerated, with the developers releasing a new version of the platform, utilising new APIs to display content – and replacing the now-defunct YTS with TorrentsAPI as its movie provider – via reddit.
The new Popcorn Time also features a new VPN service to protect users and bypass countrywide blocks on sources used by the streaming app. VPN.ht is owned by Wally, who just happens to be the head developer for Popcorn Time. Wally told TorrentFreak that, by pairing the two programs, he could envision a fully functional Popcorn Time again very soon.
“I am still considering a full comeback, I just do not want to release a half working version,” Wally said.
While Popcorn Time allows users to view copyrighted content for free, Wally sees the service not as opportunist theft but instead as a lesson to Hollywood as to what film lovers want and how to give it to them. “The popularity of Popcorn Time should be an example for the MPAA to a build a future streaming platform that will be open to the entire world,” Wally asserts.
YTS was under legal pressure from the MPAA, as confirmed by its Chairman Christopher J. Dodd last week. “This coordinated legal action is part of a larger comprehensive approach being taken by the MPAA and its international affiliates to combat content theft,” Dodd said.
In response to legal action, the unnamed 21-year-old behind YTS – said to be a citizen of New Zealand, much like Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who could face prison for similar deeds – signed a private settlement deal with the MPAA to close down the site and cease producing YIFY torrents in order to escape jail time, according to TorrentFreak. The YTS.to domain name was later signed over to the MPAA.
Given the similarities between the legal infringements by YTS and the on-going prosecution of Kim Dotcom, the German entrepreneur is understandably aggrieved by what he calls “a double standard”.
“I think our case has chilled law enforcement and Hollywood against pursuing the criminal route in cases such as this. Quick civil settlements seem to be the new way to go,” Dotcom told TorrentFreak.
YIFY, one of the most popular torrent uploaders in the world, and its respective website YTS have been permanently shut down, according to TorrentFreak. YTS has been down for over a week, sparking concerns that it may not return, and trusted sources close to the matter have informed TorrentFreak that, indeed, YIFY and YTS are no more.
“Today we can report that this reign has come to an end. YIFY and YTS have shutdown permanently, as predicted earlier this week,” writes TorrentFreak. It adds, “TF has received additional explanatory details from trusted sources, but we have been asked not to reveal all of the information just yet. However, our sources confirm without doubt that the shutdown is permanent.”
YTS.to would regularly hit one million unique visitors a day, showcasing the latest in 1080p and 720p Blu-Ray rips. In an interview with TorrentFreak two years ago, YIFY put its popularity down to its consistency, low file size, and attention to detail, adding, “I believe this is important because people like stability and assurance with what they are downloading. By adding consistency to a reasonable file-size, we have filled a spot in the community, which seemingly has a lot of demand.”
YIFY was a primary source of movies for “Netflix for pirates” app Popcorn Time, which has been experiencing problems of its own.