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Saturday, May 24, 2014

Streaming App Users Sued by Copyright Trolls

Earlier in 2014, the Popcorn Time app brought easy downloading to the masses, though its sleek interface hid away the way it works. Nevertheless, its presentation made some users believe that it offered legitimate streaming technology – an illusion that recently shattered, with users starting to receive warning letters from copyright trolls.


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Popcorn Time is known to many as an app massively simplifying the viewing of videos online through a Netflix-style interface. At the moment, the software exists in various forms, and one of the more successful ones is Spanish version called Cuevana. Now a few German users faced issues arising from its use.

A few days ago, German law firm GGR Law reported that it has three clients who had received demands for cash settlements based on allegations of copyright violation. All of the recipients insisted they had never installed any BitTorrent app on their devices but used only streaming services.

Industry experts confirm that the use of illegal streaming websites came to the forefront in the country last year, when RedTube users began receiving cash settlement demands from a law firm. As a result, a government had to announce that viewing pirated streams is not illegal. This makes some wonder whether the latest settlement demands over use of Popcorn Time is each just another effort of copyright trolls.

The problem is that the approached Popcorn Time users believe the content in question had been accessed through streaming rather than BitTorrent, which is not exactly true. Although the app interface gives the impression of server-to-client streaming, it in fact uses BitTorrent. In other words, while streaming video to the inbuilt player, the file is also being uploaded to other users. This explains why the warnings received from the plaintiffs accuse app users of uploading the file via BitTorrent without mentioning any streaming. Apparently, the law firms do not even know that the download was made over the streaming app.

As you can see, it is very important that you have at least a cursory understanding of how software you use operates. The rules are simple: streaming video server-to-client or server-to-browser is either legitimate or non-detectable in most Western countries, while uploading video to others without permission is normally against the law.

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