The Popcorn Time app allows users to browse a catalogue of films and TV shows, select one for more information, and then begin streaming it after a short buffering period – effectively making piracy as easy as using Netflix. In particular, Netflix points to a Google Trends graph, based on information collected in the Netherlands, which compares the popularity of searches for Netflix, HBO, and Popcorn Time. The graph indicated that the popularity of Popcorn Time has risen significantly over the past six months, with searches for the app now on par with Netflix and far above HBO. Netflix described the data as “sobering”.
The Popcorn Time app was originally developed by a group from Argentina, who claimed that movie piracy is a “service problem”, created by the overly restrictive, out-of-date attitude of the film industry. In March 2014, the programme was taken down by its original developers, after pressure from the MPPA, the US trade association that represents Hollywood studios. But, after the news was announced, new investors and teams took over and began independently developing the product.