Posted: 15 Mar 2014 01:51 AM PDT
Last Saturday TF reported on the now-controversial torrent streaming app Popcorn Time, a piece that was followed by dozens of mainstream articles in the week that followed. It quickly became evident that this software had broken new ground with its beauty and simplicity.
Unsurprisingly, the first signs of trouble were not far away. During the middle of the week the software was removed from Mega.co.nz. It’s still unclear if that action was taken by Mega under its own steam or after it was prompted by Hollywood, but with the Popcorn Time developers confirming they had nothing to do with it, one or the other must be to blame.
But after a stormy week, with the software receiving critical acclaim, last night the veils were being drawn over the project. In a long announcement on the tool’s website, the Popcorn Time team confirmed they were stepping down.
“Popcorn Time is shutting down today. Not because we ran out of energy, commitment, focus or allies. But because we need to move on with our lives,” the team explained.
“Our experiment has put us at the doors of endless debates about piracy and copyright, legal threats and the shady machinery that makes us feel in danger for doing what we love. And that’s not a battle we want a place in.”
The Argentina-based team added that piracy is not a people problem, it’s one based around service created by an industry that “portrays innovation as a threat to their antique recipe to collect value.”
But just as another flood of articles hit the mainstream press, each waving goodbye to Popcorn Time before moving on to something else, there’s important news yet to report.
Popcorn Time is not dead and will live on, seamlessly.
Speaking with TorrentFreak, YTS (formerly YIFY-Torrents) developer Jduncanator has confirmed that Popcorn Time will not die with the withdrawal of its founding team. Instead, YTS will pick up the baton and run.
“The YTS team will now be picking up the Popcorn Time project and continuing on like previously. We are in a better position copyright wise as for us, because it’s build on our API, it’s as if we have built another interface to our website. We are no worse off managing the project than we would be just supplying the movies,” the dev explains.
“It’s our vision at YTS that we see through projects like these and that just because they create a little stir in the public, it doesn’t mean they are shut down. That stir is exactly what the public needs and it’s already evident that people are becoming more aware of copyright-related issues.”
The project, which can now be found here, is open to all former developers who will be given contributor access upon request. The Popcorn Time installer will be made available shortly.
Posted: 14 Mar 2014 10:26 AM PDT
As reported earlier this week, a New York federal court has granted the seizure of domain names, bank funds and social media accounts belonging to ripping software outfit DVDFab.
The decision follows legal action taken by AACS, the decryption licensing group founded by movie and technology partners including Warner Bros, Disney, Microsoft and Intel. The companies say that the Chinese company behind DVDFab violates the DMCA’s anti-circumvention clause by selling tools that can bypass their DVD encryption.
The orders of Judge Broderick, handed down after a DVDFab no-show, will see the company lose several domains, its social media accounts, bank account funds and payment processing options. Now, several days later, the effects of the ruling are being felt by other companies offering similar products.
First up Aiseesoft, another Chinese-based company behind a suite of video and ripping tools. The company was singled out in February’s USTR “rogue site” report for offering products that “allow users to circumvent technical protection measures and view video content in an unauthorized manner.”
Despite DVDFab never appearing on the “rogue” list, that company was targeted first, something that has clearly unsettled Aiseesoft. As reported by a Myce user, this week following the DVDFab ruling the company began sending out emails to its users, announcing its exit from the ripping market.
“Here I would like to represent our Company, Aiseesoft to inform all of you that as Aiseesoft settles a new product development plan, in which Aiseesoft will no longer sell software that rip or copy Blu-ray/DVD Videos,” the broken English email begins.
“According to that, we will remove some products that are relevant to Blu-ray and DVD tomorrow (20140314), which means you and your visitors will lose the access to any products that involved. It is a hard decision for us to make. But we have to focus attention on products that are promising.”
As can be seen from the Aiseesoft website, all DVD and Blu-ray ripping software has now been removed. While the company will no doubt be seeking its deletion from the USTR’s notorious markets list next time round, others not on the list are also seeing the writing on the wall.
Canada-based LG Software Innovations has also announced that it will discontinue its 1CLICK BLURAY COPY software.
Citing issues with the Cinavia Blu-ray protection mechanism, the lawsuit against DVDFab, and the apparent inability of companies outside the US to escape the jurisdiction of US courts, the company said that its forthcoming Blu-ray product will be shut down.
“Unfortunately, in light of recent events, we will not be releasing a final Blu-ray copy product for sale,” the company said.
“It was once thought that companies that were situated outside the U.S. could operate with impunity; this no longer appears to be the case. We do not wish to take any risks that could jeopardize our ability to continue to provide support and updates to our loyal 1CLICK users.”
But just as others exit the market, DVDFab says it is making every effort to undermine the actions taken against it, with new domains, a new support site, prize giveaways, product discounts and even protest graphics.
“In order to protect the interests of our existing customers, we have already recovered all the normal businesses to www.dvdfab.cn. At the same time, we promise to reverse the situation through every possible effort,” the company said on its new support site, ILikeDVDFab.com.
“DVDFab Team as a whole, will stick to the same mission in the years to come, to better your entertainment life. We shall not perish from this earth!”
In the meantime Slysoft, the business behind the famous AnyDVD software, remains on the USTR’s rogue list. The company, reportedly based in Antigua and Barbuda, has shown no public reaction to the DVDFab decision and continues to offer its products as normal.