Is Popcorn Time Legal or Not?

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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 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.

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?

Since Popcorn Time uses P2P network and BitTorrent protocol to show content, the legal groundwork doesn’t look so good. In addition, it also uses the viewers’ systems to seed the movies and shows to others once you have watched the media file.

That said, the developers of Popcorn Time suggest that using Popcorn Time is legal since it works just like other search engine that helps you to find publicly available content. However, the app motivates the users to watch and share pirated content, which is where the streaming service has come into trouble.

Can I get in trouble for using Popcorn Time?

Using Popcorn Time itself is not illegal. However, if you have stored the downloaded movies and TV shows onto your hard disk, then this act becomes illegal. When you use Popcorn Time, there is a chance you may share copyrighted video automatically.

Likewise, the seeding process can reveal your IP address and get you into trouble for using Popcorn Time. But, much depends on the location where you reside. Different countries have different laws governing copyrights. Some regions penalize users for infringing copyrights, while others have a lenient approach to using torrents.

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.

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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Senior Editor

Aazii's Biography :

A privacy advocate by day and a binge-watcher by night, Aazii loves to write about online security, internet freedom, and all the latest technological trends. Finding ways to secure any sensitive data and protect against existing and emerging cyber threats is his passion. Follow him on Twitter to stay in touch with his work!

2 Responses to Is Popcorn Time Legal or Not?

  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.

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