Whether you knew it existed it or not, Popcorn Time made a difference in the ongoing debate about fee-based content available online. The app, which worked like the BitTorrent system without actually “storing” data on your PC or TV, became an internet sensation that set off a firestorm of debate. This firestorm eventually led to Popcorn Time’s demise. A day after many articles were written about it the site went down permanently.
The creators said in a statement that:
“Our huge reach gave us access to a lot of people, from newspapers to the creators of many sites and apps that had a huge global reach. We learned a lot from these people, especially that standing against an old fashioned industry has it’s own associated costs. Costs that no one should have to pay in any way, shape or form.”
The costs of continuing the service obviously outweighed any net benefit the company could have hoped for. At best, they would have had to fight in a courtroom for years on end while, at the same time, having to honor a cease and desist order that would have blanketed their customers access to content. With the added attention to its’ product, Popcorn Time sealed its’ own fate and that is the real crisis that exists in the current system: we can’t even talk about the problem.
In its’ statement Popcorn Time said something that should ring true to all artists in almost all professions:
“Piracy is not a people problem. It’s a service problem. A problem created by an industry that portrays innovation as a threat to their antique recipe to collect value. It seems to everyone that they just don’t care.”
This is the case with film and television as well as music and internet content providers. What started as an industry of innovation has become an industry fueled by fear and an agency that stands in avarice to progress so long as it means less competition for the fortunate few who control and benefit from the levers of power.