The UK High Court has ordered all UK internet providers including Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin, BT and EE to block access to film streaming service Popcorn Time in the same way they do with Bittorrent sites like The Pirate Bay.
Popcorn Time, also informally known as “Netflix for pirates,” is a very popular video-streaming application which lets anyone watch torrent files over the internet by streaming so the files aren’t actually downloaded.
The order, obtained by Hollywood’s Motion Picture Association, targets five popular Popcorn Time sites- popcorntime.io, flixtor.me, popcorn-time.se, and isoplex.isohunt.to.
The High Court judge, Mr Justice Birss, cites under Section 97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, that the “Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its purpose. No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content.”
“The point of Popcorn Time is to infringe copyright. The Popcorn Time application has no legitimate purpose,” he added.
Welcoming the court’s ruling, Motion Picture Association’s European president and managing director Stan McCoy said “Court orders are a proportionate and effective measure to tackle sites dedicated to facilitating and promoting online copyright infringement.”
“The film and TV industry is comprised of hundreds of thousands of men and women working hard behind the scenes to bring the vibrant, creative stories we enjoy to the screen; content theft undermines that hard work,” he continued.
In response, a spokesperson for Popcorn Time said “We’re pretty disappointed from the judicial system in the UK and feel pretty sorry for the citizens of England for their basic rights, like the freedom of speech and net neutrality being revoked so easily.”
“We’re working full force now even more than ever on making Popcorn Time fully P2P and soon the software will not be depended on any domain or centralised server to operate.”