Popcorn Time : Know the Risks

You’ve probably heard of Popcorn Time.  It has an interface similar to Netflix that let’s you watch movies instantly by streaming them using a BitTorrent app.  TorrentFreak wrote about the new open-source project over the weekend and since then it’s been featured on Time and all over the web.  With so much buzz centering around the new Netflix-like torrent app we wanted to make sure you know the risks of using it.

Popcorn Time

What to Know Before Using Popcorn Time

We’re not trying to talk you out of trying Popcorn Time.  That’s for you to decide.  We just want to make sure you understand the risks depending on where you’re located.  The Popcorn Time app uses BitTorrent technology to download movies from other users.  While the film downloads you can start watching it right away.  Then when you finish it uses your system to seed the movie to others.  Depending on where you live that could be a problem.

The developers behind Popcorn Time don’t hide from the risks of using their app.  Remember this is an open source project so they aren’t making any money.  That should help protect them from copyright holders but it won’t help users that use the app in countries like the United States.  Here’s the message they have posted on their site:

Downloading copyrighted material may be illegal in your country. Use at your own risk.

They aren’t responsible for your actions.  That’s fair enough.  Torrent users already know the deal.  Those new to Popcorn Time and P2P in general may not fully understand the risks.  For example in the United States using the app to watch and seed a movie like American Hustle would definitely be a copyright violation.  At best that means a warning letter from your ISP.  A threatening letter demanding a settlement is also a possibility.

I think that explains it well enough.  Whether you’re using Popcorn Time or any other app to download copyrighted content you should first understand the risks.  It really depends where you are from.  It’s illegal in some countries and fine in others.  Even if you’re located in a country where Popcorn Time is legal we would still recommend using a VPN service.  Private Internet Access is a popular choice of the P2P community.


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