Video Streaming Service Popcorn Time Has Shut Down In Lieu Of Project Butter

It’s a sad day for fans of free video streaming as Popcorn Time has been shut down for what might be the final time. However, the service didn’t leave its fans hanging as its new Twitter account urged users to use some Butter instead.

The much loved Popcorn Time, a streaming service dubbed “Netflix for piracy,” is now off the air after a week of controversy and confusion.

The end of the service seemingly started on Oct. 23, when the website and its main fork, PopcornTime.io, stopped working. According to a Torrent Freak report, PopcornTime.io not working was the result of its engineers and developers leaving the project en masse over fears of legal action.

The company is currently on the verge of launching a private, paid network service that might make them susceptible to lawsuits. Many of the developers working on PopcornTime.io believe that, since the app is free, the company has no control over the content being streamed as it’s only providing a service. But this line of thinking has been contested by intellectual property lawyers before, most notably in the lawsuit against music streaming site, Aurous.

Despite the exodus of a majority of its pioneering employees, developers that stayed behind tried to keep Popcorn Time running. However, they couldn’t take control of the primary domain.

A message found in the cache of the now defunct popcorntime.io stated how an unknown individual had “been tempering [sic] with our infrastructure, mainly our DNS service.” Unfortunately, the remaining developers could not convince their service about their authenticity and their plans to stay online.

Shortly after, a developer by the name of Wally admitted to Torrent Freak that they had decided to permanently close the servers. The developer had apparently accepted defeat and revealed that he had already “deleted any logs that can be harmful for any other dev.”

While the incident surrounding Popcorn Time seemed mysterious and even worrisome, it doesn’t really mean the end for the service.

Countless netizens are still using the service to stream movies and TV shows, albeit on a different version of the app; after all, Popcorn Time boasts of a multitude of “forks.” In software engineering parlance, a fork is created when developers use a source code copied from one software to start a specific software independent from the original.

This was touched on by Robert English, PopcornTime.io developer, during a previous podcast. English explained that it was challenging to “shut down an open-source project because anyone can throw up a copy at any time and keep it working.”

Popcorn Time had eschewed making a profit for a long time, as English told Actuality earlier this year, that they’re here “to make an application that the community wants rather than what can be profitable as a business.”

However, that’s clearly changing now that Project Butter is about to arrive. This alternative to Popcorn Time was unveiled during the site’s alleged farewell message to its users on Oct. 23. The service reportedly uses the same core system as its “big brother” but is completely legal.

The landing page of Project Butter states that the site is the result of “a passionate and emotional debate” between developers who ultimately agreed to split Popcorn Time into two. It described the project as Popcorn Time “stripped down of the parts that made people wary.” And to further legitimize it, Project Butter has its own web page, G+ and Twitter and Facebook accounts.

Essentially, users can still stream their favorite TV shows and movies on their mobile devices and desktop computers through Project Butter. But the new service won’t be using the popcorntime.io infrastructure. The project hasn’t launched yet, but is expected to go live in a few days.

Meanwhile, Popcorn Time remains an open-source format for developers and users and is still available via popcorntime.se.

[Image via Twitter]