Is Popcorn Time Safe?

Have you ever heard about the well-known Popcorn Time? You haven’t? Then let me introduce you an application, where you can watch hundreds of movies and TV shows for free. Does it sound suspicious? Well, there have been many arguments and discussions lately about if the Popcorn Time is 100% safe and legal, so I can mention at least a few of them so that you can make your own opinion and decide if you want to use it or not.

What is Popcorn Time?

Popcorn Time is an open-source project and free to use a streaming service that allows you to stream the latest movies and TV shows from all around the world. Speaking their words, it is the result of many developers and designers putting a bunch of APIs together to make the experience of watching torrent free movies as simple as possible.

Even though it works by using the BitTorrent protocol, there is an important variation between the two services. While you as a torrent user have to wait for the complete file to download before you can watch it, Popcorn Time allows you to begin streaming the content immediately.

Just like the BitTorrent protocol, it is based on the peer-to-peer (P2P) system to stream the content from several users computers at the same time. The only difference is that you don’t have to wait for the file to be downloaded before you can stream it.

The application provides a free alternative to subscription-based video streaming services such as Netflix. Although services like Netflix continue to enjoy the lion’s share of the market, services like Popcorn Time are more user-friendly.

However, it is said, that Popcorn Time makes the movie piracy much easier than watching Netflix. How is it possible?

Is It Legal?

Popcorn Time has got a lot of attention for all potential reasons in its short term of existence. To this day, many people don’t know, if it is legal to use it or not.

Did you know, that Popcorn Time has been designed as a pirate’s alternative to Netflix? The only difference is, that instead of actually streaming unauthorized copies of movies thanks to BitTorrent, Popcorn Time is using sequential downloading and uploading to play videos in its media player.

As said below, Popcorn Time is based on the peer-to-peer sharing and BitTorrent, which are both legal services, so you may think that using it should be legal as well. Popcorn Time is itself legal, but it all depends on how you use it, the same situation as with torrents. If you use Popcorn Time to stream copyrighted content for your personal needs and don’t share it, you are not breaking the law.

However, if you are sharing copyrighted content, potential problems arise. The new version of Popcorn Time save the downloaded files in your system, so it may confront you with the legal issues, while the file stored on your device can be shared with other users through the peer-to-peer platform and that’s not allowed by the law, and it is a case of digital piracy. You can remove those files from the system if you restart it, but you can decide to keep them as well. It’s all up to you, but you have to take into account the consequences.

Beside that you have to keep in mind, that laws are different from country to country and using Popcorn Time may be considered illegal.

I wanted to try it out and download their application on my own to find out more about the security. Here is a very brief guide on how to use the Popcorn Time:

How to Use the Popcorn Time

  1. Go to their website and download the application either for Android, Mac, Windows, iOS or for Linux 32/64:
  1. After you install and then open the app, you will see a wide library of the latest movies and TV shows divided into different categories:
  1. When you want to play your selected movie or a TV show, you are warned to turn on your VPN to watch the video safely:
  1. If you don’t turn it on, you will be alerted again and asked, why you want to get into trouble:

So, the question is:

Why Do You Need to Use a VPN?

If you want to use Popcorn Time and protect yourself and be sure about your security at the same time, you should consider connecting to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows you to change your IP address to any other IP address location, so that you can download torrents anonymously. VPN service offers a secure connection, high-speed bandwidth and private access to geo-blocked websites. You can select a country and a city, for example, the UK (Liverpool), where you want every other user to see you appear to be.

You can choose between more than hundreds of VPN companies like CyberGhost, PrivateVPN, NordVPN, ExpressVPN or PIA. Irrespective of where you are, if you want to use Popcorn Time without any risk of legal problems, you should choose one of them to be sure you can stream movies and TV shows freely and anonymously.

Even though free VPNs are readily available, I advise you to keep away from them. One of many reasons is the fact they usually come with bandwidth and speed limitation, but what is worse, some can even compromise your privacy with low-grade encryption. PIA (Private Internet Access) is the most commonly recommended for peer-to-peer users, and a VPN purchased yearly through PIA can cost as little as $3.33 per month.

However, a VPN is not just for those who want to stream their favorite movies without bumping into authorities. It’s for any user who wants to feel safe when surfing the web while gaining unlimited access to online content.

Does it Worth the Risk?

It all depends on how much you are willing to risk, obviously if you want to be safe you will need to use a reliable VPN service. I do recommend using a good VPN service, because using programs like Popcorn Time to watch copyrighted content without paying for it may cause, that the big movie companies have almost unlimited resources and access to your personal information and data so that they could catch you in any case.

There have been some lawsuits filed in the past against Popcorn Time users by movie production companies for watching a single movie, so you should be extremely careful and consider all the options available.


Even though it’s free and many people use it, I personally don’t recommend using Popcorn Time, while it can be risky even with a turned on VPN. Moreover, other disadvantages may be the fact it may be an infected program, while it is not 100% protected, movies may be in low quality, and it may contain lots of ads. On the other hand, it is totally free of charge, so if you don’t mind the risk, it’s entirely up to you.

I prefer other legal websites, where you can find many torrents even for free without any risks. You can try some of these – Internet Archive, Public Domain Torrents, Legit Torrents or Hulu, or check more information about how to find free and legal torrents on the Internet. Enjoy the free watching, but keep in mind to be always careful and protect yourself as much as possible.

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