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UK ISPs ordered to block Popcorn Time

ISPs in the UK have been ordered to block access to sites which offer access to Popcorn Time, dubbed ‘Netflix for Pirates’. 

The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) filed a request with the High Court this week, to block the software, which allows users to stream movies and TV, and despite opposition from the biggest five service providers in the UK, the request was honoured. 

In addition to blocking several domains which offer the Popcorn Time software, the filing demanded restrictions be imposed on several other BitTorrent sites, which are alleged to host content which infringes on copyright. 

Related: Popcorn Time adds Chromecast and VPN secrecy for WindowsThe ruling was made by Judge Colin Birss who has overseen copyright actions in the past, including the controversial case brought by MediaCAT and its law firm ACS Law, which came off the back of the company sending out thousands of phishing letters to users, accusing them of pirating pornographic content. 

In issuing his ruling, Judge Birss stated in no uncertain terms that he believes Popcorn Time to be solely intended for watching pirated content. 

“It is manifest that the Popcorn Time application is used in order to watch pirated content on the internet and indeed it is also manifest that that is its purpose. No-one really uses Popcorn Time in order to watch lawfully available content,” he said. 

“The point of Popcorn Time is to infringe copyright. The Popcorn Time application has no legitimate purpose.” 

The URL’s which host the Popcorn Time were always going to fall under the eye of the law in the UK. The site GitHub, which hosted the repositories containing several of the most popular versions of the app, were hit with a takedown notice back in July 2014, and the software has only become bigger since then, putting out versions for Android and the recently publicised workaround which allowed non-Jailbroken iOS devices to run the software.

While it’s tough to argue for the streaming software, it’s a little alarming just how quickly new URL’s can be added to the growing list of restricted sites, which TorrentFreak claim is now sitting at well over 100 sites.

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