PopcornTime.io, the most popular website affiliated with the piracy brand, announced Friday it will shut down permanently. The news comes after a week of turbulence for the free movie service, popularly known as “Netflix for pirates,” and after Kickass Torrents proved unable to remove malicious software.
“I shut down all the servers, there is nothing I can do anymore,” the PopcornTime.io developer known only as Wally told TorrentFreak Friday. “I deleted any logs that can be harmful for any other [developer].”
The closure comes after reports that Popcorn Time developers departed PopcornTime.io because of an internal dispute over money and concern about an impending lawsuit. The .io fork stopped working not long after and, while the site briefly resumed operations, it now looks like the service is offline for good.
The Popcorn Time media player is a free, downloadable program that enables users to watch movies culled from the most popular torrent sites. By relying on a bright, clean interface and keeping advertisements to a minimum, the site quickly earned the nickname “Netflix for pirates” and was widely seen as the future of piracy.
A number of Popcorn Time variants still exist (“Popcorn Time” refers to a network of loosely affiliated, albeit competing, sites), though none were as widely popular as PopcornTime.io. Hackers have also figured out how to inject malicious software into Popcorn Time’s protocol.
This coincides with growing uncertainty about the future of Kickass Torrents, currently the most popular piracy website in the world and the most obvious location for pirates to download movies now that the end is nigh for Popcorn Time. The only problem is that the site, by all accounts, is overrun with malicious advertising that may redirect users to phishing links, or even ransomware. The site has failed to stay off Google’s Harmful Programs list, meaning it is blocked with a large red warning advising visitors about the danger ahead.