Popcorn Time Is Still Running, via Its Community Edition and a Breakaway Fork

Editor’s Update: There is allegedly evidence of malware on a fork that purported to be the official domain of Popcorn Time CE – .tk, as shown here. The link has been removed and updated.

It’s like the service never went away. Popular movie and tv streaming service Popcorn Time is continuing to run and see development due to the advent of its Community Edition, also known as PopCorn Time CE.

It was inevitable. In a month that usually sees an influx of Oscar-chasing movies timed and primed for the awards season, nearly every prominent and likely Oscar contender has already been leaked on the internet. Screeners are everywhere and these days – they reportedly leak even without timestamps and watermarks.

With just a day remaining in 2015, some believed the age of P2P releases is under more scrutiny than ever, and filesharing would never be the same again. Recently, the MPAA boasted about the takedown of a major piracy icon and torrent release group YIFY along with its website YTS. The announcement was made in the confusion and aftermath of PopcornTime.io going offline, a streaming service that relied on YIFY’s YTS website for streaming content.

Popcorn Time and its Community Edition

YIFY was proclaimed as dead after a series of significant outages suffered by both PopcornTime and YTS, a consequence of MPAA’s actions that were unbeknownst at the time. Despite the doom and gloom, Popcorntime.io’s official replacement is already finding its wheels amid a sea of knock-offs and wannabes. Popcorn Time CE, on its official domain, claims to be “the official (for now) replacement of the original Popcorn Time that was located on the .io domain.”

Popcorn Time CE TV
Popcorn Time Community Edition Interface

A note from the developers behind the project reads:

It works nearly the same, but uses different APIs and has some other fixes/changes from this team.

Despite initial troubles and bugs that plague most programs, a numerous community with active developer interaction means that Popcorn Time CE is likely to build from strength to strength.

Alternative Forks

While Popcorn Time’s official fork will remain the original .io branch and its official successors (Popcorn Time CE) with a clean disclosure of source code and more, the most popular alternative fork is Popcorn-time.se, formerly Time4Popcorn.

For some time, Popcorn-time.se has been a major fork to use the “Popcorn Time” name, among many websites that claim to be the real thing.

Speaking to TorrentFreak at a time when Popcorntime.io was still active and thriving, developers behind the software stated:

we warn you that we’re victims of our own success and you should always be careful: The ‘Popcorn Time’ branding is used by a lot of malicious people trying to surf the wave and make a profit.

The official developers team behind Popcorn Time also note that they are not affiliated with the Popcorn-time.se fork in any way.

The .se fork has previously been accused of fielding adware, although that is a claim that does not seem to plague the fork any longer. Still, the last time the source code for the desktop version of the .se fork was updated was on August 21, 2015. Suffice to say, there have been updates and releases for newer versions of since that date, a fact prominently picked upon by supporters of the original .io fork.

Regardless of the controversies, Popcorn-time.se remains to be a popular alternative fork with continued development.

PopcornTime SE

Meanwhile, the original team of creators and developers behind Popcorn Time announced a new project titled Butter soon after the permanent outage suffered by Popcorn Time.io. The developers deem butter as “basically your beloved Popcorn Time stripped down of the parts that made people wary.” The binaries are expected to be released soon.

All of the above point to the fact that peer-to-peer technology and file-sharing aren’t going to disappear anytime soon. After aXXo disappeared, out sprung YIFY. The same is certain to happen again, among P2P groups and that’s not even considering scene release groups that are far more meticulous and patient while discreet in their ways. PopcornTime or a service similar as an alternative will always be around.

With just a day remaining in 2015, it bears mentioning that some things, never change.

Notice: If you use Popcorn Time, remember to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) in order to stay anonymous.

Samburaj is the contributing editor at Hacked and keeps tabs on science, technology and cyber security.