Popcorn Time is an illegal streaming movie service that has exploded in popularity, making it faster and easier for pirates to watch Hollywood movies for free. As the site prepares to commemorate a full year online, though, it’s facing an array of challenges ranging from legal action to suspicion from Netflix. The biggest difficulty facing Popcorn Time might not be blowing out its birthday candles, but surviving long enough to enjoy the cake.

Like Kleenex’s effect on the tissue industry, “Popcorn Time” has become Internet shorthand for illegally streaming movies onlinePopcorn Time software, which has been employed by a number of sites, doesn’t download a movie like traditional torrent sites do, but connects one user to others trying to watch the same film. The only problem is that watching a movie without paying is illegal, and it’s simple for law enforcement to insert itself into a “swarm” of movie watchers and quickly identify who’s doing what.

Still, PopcornTime.io has soared to success and earned the nickname “Netflix for pirates” by using a clean interface and quickly removing outdated movie files. That level of success doesn’t come without a price, though, as the Ghost blogging platform discovered when it received a notice from Greek copyright enforcers, who demanded that the administrators remove a blog affiliated with Popcorn Time. Founder John O’Nolan announced the news in a tweet earlier this week.


O'Nolan, a former executive with the WorldPress UI Group, told TorrentFreak Ghost doesn’t actually host any infringing content, though the Greek Society for the Protection of Intellectual Property sought more information about the account anyway.

“We were incredibly shocked to be contacted by a representative in 2015 requesting the personal information of one of our users,” he said. “The clear lack of understanding here is worrying on many levels.”

This comes after the “Netflix for pirates” slogan made it all the way to, well, Netflix. CEO Reed Hastings wrote in a letter to shareholders that “Piracy is one of out biggest competitors … Popcorn Time’s rise relative to Netflix and HBO in the Netherlands, for example, is sobering.”

It’s not clear what, if anything, Netflix can do to intervene in the steady level of piracy, but the letter seemed to indicate a change in philosophy from when Hastings famously said the company examined popular piracy titles when trying to decide on new streaming titles.