Italian Internet providers must block access to Popcorn Time, the Criminal Court of Genoa ordered today. The order affects three domain names including those of the most used forks. Whether the blockade will be very effective is doubtful as the applications themselves will still work.
Branded a “Netflix for Pirates,” the Popcorn Time app quickly gathered a user base of millions of people over the past year.
The application is a thorn in the side of many copyright holders who are increasingly trying to contain the threat.
In Italy this has now resulted in a new blocking order issued by the Criminal Court of Genoa. The Court ruled that Popcorn Time assists copyright infringement and has ordered local ISPs to block several domain names.
The domains listed in the ruling include those of the two most used forks, popcorntime.io and popcorn-time.se, as well as the localized download page popcorntimeitalia.com.
While the ISP blockades will prevent people from downloading Popcorn Time from these sites, applications that have been downloaded already will continue to work for now.
Also, many other sites offering the same Popcorn Time software are still available. This means that the blockades will only have a limited effect.
Fulvio Sarzana, a lawyer with the Sarzana and Partners law firm who specializes in Internet and copyright disputes, informs TF that Popcorn Time could successfully fight the order.
Sarzana references a recent case in Israel where the Popcorn Time block was overturned because it hinders freedom of speech and says he’s willing to represent the developers.
For now the developers of the main .io Popcorn Time fork are showing little interest in fighting the decision. Instead, they’d rather put their efforts into making sure that the blockade has minimal impact.
“While they are able to block the website, Popcorn Time is a standalone program, so once a user has it downloaded it is unlikely that blocks will cause many issues other than new users getting the program from our site directly or in some cases updates.”
“However, we try our best to have things in place to make these blocks effectively null and void,” the Popcorn Time teams says.
Just a few days ago the same developers urged Hollywood to start competing with Popcorn Time. However, for now we expect that blocking efforts and other legal actions will remain top priorities.