Popcorn Time vs Netflix
The team behind the European fork of Popcorn Time says its service is doing Netflix a favour by pointing out why removing geographical restrictions from content is a good ideaPopcorn Time

Popcorn Time, a popular and controversial movie torrent streaming service that enables users to stream pirated movie and TV content, says that its service is actually helping Netflix in its dreams of going global.

On 31 March, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings told Australian media that the only way to stop people from using virtual private networks (VPN) to access US content that isn't available in their countries is to make Netflix go global.

Hastings also said that he is very concerned about piracy, whereby users have the money to pay but don't want to, but the European fork of Popcorn Time, popcorn-time.se, which is often known as the "Netflix for Pirates", disagrees.

"Popcorn Time gives Netflix leverage which they can use against restrictions content creators impose on them now," the team behind the European fork told IBTimes UK.

"These restrictions are blocking them from taking over more market share from this growing online streaming market and if they won't enter the void that is created due to this growing demand, other players will, and maybe they'll even have new and unique business models that Netflix will have a hard time competing against."

Popcorn Time now available on iOS

From 4pm BST on 8 April, users will now be able to get the Popcorn Time movie streaming app to work on all iOS devices, even if they haven't been jailbroken.

Popcorn Time is still going strong
The "Netflix for Pirates": Popcorn Time is still going strong, one year onPopcorn Time

The app, which has to be downloaded to the PC before being installed on the iPhone or iPad, also supports Chromecast and Apple TV, and the creators say that in a few days, they will also be releasing a free in-built VPN for all the platforms of the app, including web and Android.

"After trying to do this on our own for a while, we joined with our friends from iosinstaller.com and after tedious work with many fails and frustrating moments during these past months, they were able to make it happen," said the team behind the European fork.

"They were able to exploit a few weaknesses in Apple's OS and to enable users to install apps from a computer to the device."

Popcorn Time said that it realised that Apple wouldn't like the fact that it was trying to fight apple's close apps ecosystem, but it said it was important for people to have a choice about what they wanted to view.

The service is also celebrating its first anniversary, to mark an eventful year which saw the original creators of Popcorn Time abandon the project after receiving takedown notices from the movie industry in March 2014, before developers stepped in to revive the project, including the European fork.

Geographical restrictions or piracy – who is to blame?

On 7 April, internet users on Reddit discovered a part of the Netflix terms of conditions that they had not realised before – the fact that Netflix has the right to terminate or restrict an account without compensation or notice if the user is found to engage in "illegal or improper use of the service", such as using a VPN.

Over 2,000 users commented on Reddit in protest, with many stating that they feel they are not doing anything illegal because they are paying Netflix for a US account, rather than simply illegally downloading the movies and TV shows they want to watch.

A lot of users pointed out that they had to use a VPN as their internet service providers (ISP) limited their bandwidth, so it was impossible to get Netflix to work.

Other users also made the point that if movie studios and content providers didn't make it so difficult for people around the world to pay to access content they wanted to watch, they wouldn't have to pirate content.

"Most 'pirates' are willing to pay for content, but if you don't give people an option then it's your own damn fault your stuff gets pirated so much," posted the Reddit user KaelumForever.

"We don't feel guilty [about Popcorn Time] since we didn't create the torrent world. The torrent world has been here way before us with millions of users and will be here way after us with billions of users. We have no influence on the content that is offered in this world," said the team behind the European fork of Popcorn Time.