Is Popcorn Time Legal in 2018 – Finally Busting The Myth!

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Have you ever had to wait for hours for a torrent file to finish downloading and then stream the content? With Popcorn Time, this is no longer an issue. Popcorn Time is an open source application that allows users to stream their favorite movies and TV shows. Practically, it applies the concept of BitTorrent P2P technology, which helps you to watch movies and TV shows without waiting for the download process to complete.

However, given that it uses BitTorrent protocol for operations, the question beckons, is Popcorn Time legal? We will explore different factors and see which countries allow Popcorn time. On a side note, you should use a Popcorn Time VPN to avoid landing in hot waters with copyright holders.

is popcorntime legal

How does Popcorn Time Work?

Popcorn-Time-Legal-Working

Popcorn time uses sequential downloading to stream movies and shows. It uses BitTorrent protocol to distribute content among peers. In reality, files are not streamed through servers, but they are downloaded and uploaded through other users, just how a P2P works.

However, instead of waiting for the download to complete, you stream simultaneously. The file is saved in a temporary folder on your device, but gets removed once you restart your device. Popcorn Time does offer an option to keep the downloaded file on your system.

History of Popcorn Time

Popcorn time was brought to us by a group of internet freedom fighters who did not believe in digital content censorship. Rightfully so, the Argentinian developers created a unique streaming client that offered great content all without any advertisements or paid subscriptions.

This resulted in Popcorn Time becoming tremendously famous on the internet. Soon numerous developers from around the world started contributing to the great cause by releasing new updates and features ever so frequently.

As expected, the Popcorn Time application got a lot of attention from media outlets. While some of it got the application great exposure, others brought negative criticism by calling the application Netflix for pirated contents.

Due to overwhelming heat the application received, original developers of the application discontinued the service not so long ago. Fortunately, the Popcorn Time application was open source, which meant many individual developers created clones (Forks) of the application.

So even though the original application got shut down, there are still really reliable Popcorn Time forks that offer the same experience with same great contents for your viewing pleasure.

Is File Sharing Illegal?

File sharing itself is not illegal, but if you are downloading and uploading copyright protected content then this act becomes illegal. Various regions frown upon copyright infringement and users could get into legal trouble. Therefore, a word of caution to all users who share and watch copyright protected content.

Is Popcorn Time Legal?

Is-Popcorn-Time-Legal-or-not

Popcorn Time is a movie and TV show streaming service that uses BitTorrent protocol to provide free content to its viewers. Even though Popcorn Time uses torrents, it is different from other torrent clients. The Popcorn Time application can stream media content without having to wait for it to download which make it super convenient for content viewing.

Since Popcorn Time uses the P2P files sharing protocol, which gets torrents from other peer computer instead of a particular server, it is easy to think that it must be legal. After all, P2P file sharing is not technically illegal either.

However, the legality of Popcorn Time streaming totally depends upon how you use it. If you watch copyright free content through Popcorn Time then you will not be breaking any laws. Copyright laws have been strict in the past, throwing people under the bus for downloading something as simple as a song.

Nowadays the norm has changed a bit and people can stream content without breaking any laws to some extent. This also applies to Popcorn Time application as it simply streams content to your device without downloading

However, there are some exception cases where individuals take piracy to another level by screen recording content and sharing it with others. This is illegal and can get you in a lot of trouble under the anti-piracy laws.

Can I get in trouble for using Popcorn Time?

To put it in the simplest terms “NO”, that is off-course if you act smart. If you are careless and feel like being a rebel by using your own default unprotected IP address, then definitely you can get caught. However, whether you will be fined or prosecuted for using popcorn time is completely another topic.

Every country has its own laws and regulations regarding copyrights. While some countries are very lenient, other countries have strict copyright laws that can impose hefty fines and lengthy jail terms for individuals involved in internet piracy.

However, as mentioned earlier VPN services can resolve this issue and guarantee peace of mind while browsing for your favorite content through Popcorn Time.

Has Anyone Faced legal Issues for Using Popcorn Time?

Since using Popcorn Time application is in itself legal, saving the contents such as movies and TV shows for sharing is not. Users who do save digital media obtained by Popcorn time are infringing copyright laws and could face legal actions. This is also quite concerning since the more recent versions of Popcorn Time automatically download media on to your device.

There are many known cases where Popcorn Time users have been interrogated or fined for pirating movies. For instance, Popcorn time users have been fined upwards of $320 for illegally watching the recently released Michael Douglas’s movie “Dallas Buyers club”.

Similarly, there have been other cases, which you can read about through The Verge or PC World that should spread more light on this controversial topic. More or less these reasons alone should be compelling enough for any Popcorn Time user to start using a VPN for viewing movies and TV shows.

However, if you live in a region where torrenting or the use of digital media for personal use is considered legal, then you have nothing to worry about and you can enjoy watching your favorite content without a care in the world.

Countries where Popcorn Time is Legal or Illegal

In this next section, we take a closer look at some of the regions and their stance over the use of Popcorn Time.

Can I watch Popcorn Time legally in USA?

Watching Popcorn Time in USA is not an issue since the software is legal, but you should throw caution to the wind. The Copyright Group keeps a close eye on BitTorrent swarms of selected media. They can identify IP address of users found infringing that particular copyright. This could lead to DMCA, warnings from ISPs, lawsuits, and hefty fines (ranging from $1,000 to millions).

Is watching movies on Popcorn Time illegal in Canada?

In Canada, the situation regarding the use of Popcorn Time is a bit complex. Canadian internet providers are now required to keep logs of users activities for six months. This poses a big problem for Popcorn Time users. If you are watching movies on Popcorn Time in Canada, then could get into legal trouble.

However, as long as you don’t reproduce the content, there is no harm in streaming. This is in accordance with the Canadian law. Popcorn Time actually downloads streaming content even if you are watching it online. Therefore, chances of being fined are high and it’s better to take precautionary measures by using a Canada VPN.

Is Popcorn Time legal in Germany?

Germany has strict laws regulating copyright infringement, as there are severe prerecessions. If you try to watch movies or TV shows through Popcorn Time, you will have to pay heavy fines. One way of accessing the streaming service and watching your favorite content is by obscuring your IP address. A VPN is a tool that will help you become anonymous and safely access Popcorn Time in Germany.

 

 

Is it fine to watch Popcorn Time in India legally?

Recently in India, various users were shown notices for accessing different torrent websites. However, there are no regulations restricting the use of Popcorn Time in India. There is no harm in watching your favorite movies and TV shows through Popcorn Time, as long as you don’t use the content for re-distribution.

Is watching TV shows on Popcorn Time legal in Australia?

Popcorn Time is illegal in Australia because it allows users to stream and watch copyrighted content. Hence, you may face fine or other legal implications if you get caught while watching movies or shows on Popcorn Time. However on technical grounds, the software is not illegal, but the way it operates raises a lot of questions.

Are the Creators of Popcorn Time Infringers?

As we have already discussed the legalities of Popcorn Time and we know that users who are watching copyright contents through it are in some ways infringers. However, what about the developers of the application, aren’t they the sole infringers in the first place?

Well not necessarily, simply because the developers just created a tool for viewing contents and they do not either host and nor do they manage content on their client, therefore having no control over the service.

Since Popcorn Time, application is just a tool for accessing movies and TV shows and developers are not selling any of it for monetary profits. Therefore, in our opinion the developers of the application are not infringing any copyright laws.

Let us just assume that developers of Popcorn time are infringers and pending any legal charges, it is highly unlikely that they would ever face any charges, simply because they are difficult to identify and locate. Regardless, ordinary Popcorn Time users should be very careful while using it and take precautionary measure like using a VPN service to ensure complete privacy and anonymity.

Use a VPN While Watching Popcorn Time

VPNs work wonders for torrent users. This technology can hide your footprint on the web by encrypting the traffic in and out of your network. Another cool feature that VPN providers offer is IP masking. The way it works is your default IP address is replaced by one of your VPN provider’s IP this way no one can track you on the internet.

If you choose to use a VPN, while using Popcorn Time, your internet activity will remain hidden from the world. Not even your internet service provider could monitor your activities let alone the government. We are not saying you should download illegal content, but if you are going to do it any way then at least use a VPN so that you can remain anonymous and avoid any potential legal issues.

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Popcorn Time Legal Reddit

Reddit is a great place for engaging in new topics and matters concerning our daily lives. While scouring through different topics we stumbled upon legalities concerning Popcorn Time. Some users are concerned whether using Popcorn Time service is legal or not.

Legal from PopCornTime

Final Thoughts

Popcorn Time uses the concept of BitTorrent P2P (peer to peer) file sharing technology. Watching and sharing copyright protected content in different countries could lead to violating piracy laws, intentionally or unintentionally.

Therefore, you should not use this software unless and until you are using Popcorn Time VPN to make yourself anonymous. A VPN will hide your IP address in the BitTorrent swarm and make your identity impervious to copyright holders. This way, you can enjoy uninterrupted content on Popcorn Time from anywhere.

 

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Usman Hayat

Usman Hayat

Author
All Posts by Usman Hayat

Usman Hayat's Biography :


A business school grad specializing in marketing, Usman found his love for writing during studies. Salmi now pursues a career as a digital privacy & security advocate for VPNRanks working as a blogger. Salmi loves reading about sci-fi & technology while cricket is his game of choice. When the world cries ‘online freedom’ Salmi stands resolute raising his voice for the rights of netizens everywhere.


2 Responses to Is Popcorn Time Legal in 2018 – Finally Busting The Myth!

  1. jux says:

    how about the Philippines ?

    • Dear Jux,
      Thanks for reaching out to us. Philippines is one of those countries where the rights of copyright followers are protected in true letter and spirit.
      Therefore, you must secure your online locations through Popcorn Time while using the service in Philippines.
      Cheers!!!

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