Popcorn Time: definition, operation process and legality issues

November 04, 2017

Best tips to stream on Popcorn Time legally

Popcorn Time was an instant hit when it was launched a few years ago. This media streaming service has improved BitTorrent file sharing providing an enormous number of materials to download absolutely for free. Today, Popcorn Time is growing with enviable success being subjected to changes designed to make the service virtually unavailable to law enforcement.

What is Popcorn Time?

Popcorn Time has been designed as an integrated media player, which is based on free software BitTorrent. The designed app presents an alternative to streaming services based on subscription. Sequential downloading is utilized by Popcorn Time for streaming media files on several torrenting websites existing on the Web. Users are able to place all the files into a queue so that the next file is downloaded as soon as the previous one is already received.

The designed application is supported by Windows, Linux and Mac software. The Popcorn Time interface is supplied with thumbnails and film titles, the list of which can be searched by genres and categories. Having selected a proper content and clicked on the title, the film is downloaded through BitTorrent protocol. As in the case of the torrent clients, as soon as Popcorn Time starts downloading a file, it also shares the downloaded movie with other users. In such a manner, it makes the downloaded content available to others until the file is deleted, that is usually accomplished automatically once the application is closed.

Popcorn Time has no funding, meaning that it is being developed through the small community behind it. Besides, it has no interest in advertising and strives to upgrade the service through their efforts.

Who has developed Popcorn Time?

Popcorn Time has been designed by an Argentina-based group. However, the founding fathers of Popcorn Time have kept their identities hidden. Nevertheless, the internet society relies on the group, called Pochoclin, who signs all the blog posts on the official website.

Is it legal to use Popcorn Time?

Providing a possibility to stream high-quality digital content for free, Popcorn Time quickly received welcome interest from the internet community. However, due to pressure from the MPAA, the Popcorn Time’s initial developers are forced to shut down its operation in March 2014. After this incident, the program has been renewed several times by other web developers. Ultimate success has been achieved by the original Popcorn Time team that made it back alive in October 2015.

The Bittorent protocol used by Popcorn Time for streaming is absolutely legal and allowed for utilizing. But viewing copyrighted material without paying for it may cause a problem in some countries. In other words, when you download from Popcorn Time, there is always a chance you may share copyrighted content and violate the laws without thinking about it.

It is an open fact that torrenting can reveal an actual IP address and get users into trouble for running Popcorn Time. However, much depends on the country where they are located. Different nations keep up with different copyright laws: some of them penalize netizens for infringing the rules, the others have nothing against torrenting.

The United States

Streaming Popcorn Time in the USA is not a copyright offense since the software is absolutely legal, but users should act with due diligence. BitTorrent swarms are under the close supervision of the Copyright Group. The members are able to identify IPs of users found infringing above-mentioned laws and punish with a fine from $1.000 to millions.


Canadian ISPs are required to store logs of users’ internet activity for a six months period. Having streamed movies on Popcorn Time, users can get into legal trouble.

Nevertheless, as long as the content is not reproduced, there is no harm in streaming on Popcorn Time. The site actually downloads streaming content even if it is watched online. Therefore, chances of being punished are high, so users should take additional security measures by using VPN software.


In Germany, internet surfing is operated under the strict laws regulating copyright infringement. Trying to watch movies or TV shows on Popcorn Time, users have to pay substantial fines. The only way to access the media streaming service and watch favorite content without being identified and penalized is by hiding actual IP address. Beyond all doubts, VPN services are extremely useful for accessing Popcorn Time in Germany safely and anonymously.


Australia has illegalized Popcorn Time because the service provides the possibility to stream and watch copyrighted material. Users caught while watching media content on Popcorn Time can be fined or face other legal implications regulated by the Australian legislation.

How to avoid getting punished?

Watching and sharing copyrighted material in different geographical regions can result in violating privacy laws. The Golden rule, though – do not use Popcorn Time if you don’t want to take risks and be caught. One of the most effective ways used by netizens to avoid being identified is to mask public IP addresses.

Therefore, using VPN for streaming on Popcorn Time, your real IP address in the Bittorrent swarm will be hidden, while your identity will be impervious to ISPs and copyright holders.

While some internet users avoid streaming on Popcorn Time, the others enjoy free content streaming, as the risks the service bears depends completely on the country they are located. The process of identifying and prosecuting internet surfers violating copyright laws becomes even stricter with every passing year. The owner-companies are aimed at modifying a sophisticated monitoring mechanism that scans the public torrent network. The system is able to detect whenever users download or share copyrighted content that could be punishable by law.

Nevertheless, users subscribed for a reliable VPN service can hide their IP addresses making them untraceable for internet providers and copyright holders. In such a way, IP addresses could not be logged along with proof of the violation of copyright rules.