Popcorn Time, the app that was once popular for making pirating movies as easy as watching Netflix, has shut down. Its original developers took the service down and abandoned the project merely a few days after it launched in 2014. But since the project was open source, other developers were able pick up where they left off, and it's been killed and revived a few more times ever since. It remains to be seen whether Popcorn Time is now gone for good, but it looks like the biggest contributor to its most recent demise is the dwindling interest in the app.
On its website, the developers posted a graph of "popcorn time" searches over the past seven years. While the app enjoyed a ton of searches in the months after its launch in 2015, the graph shows a sharp decline in interest by 2016. Its popularity continued to wane, and it never really recovered after that, at least based on Google Trends.
According to Bloomberg, the group behind Popcorn Time announced its closure in an email. While they didn't say whether law enforcement action was a factor behind their decision to shut down the app this time around, Popcorn Time has had brushes with the law in the past. The original version may have closed after authorities got involved, and Hollywood studios even sued individual users who allegedly downloaded and shared copies of movies illegally.
Developers associated with Popcorn Time previously talked about how they're not responsible for piracy themselves, because the service doesn't actually host any content. Instead, it relied on a peer-to-peer sharing system and only provided a way for users to access content hosted on other people's computers.