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[liberationtech] popcorn-time

Jonathan Wilkes jancsika at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 6 13:41:33 PDT 2014


Hi list,
      Can some tech liberator out there versed in javascript and video 
streaming please take over the popcorn-time project?  It looks like it 
was developed pseudonymously by at least three teams now which have all 
disappeared (probably due to pressure from Hollywood).

If you haven't heard of it, see:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Popcorn_Time

Why should this interest you?

* Licensed GPL v3
* Has the most user-friendly interface I've seen in a piece of free software
* Runs on GNU/Linux, OSX, Windows
* Streams downloads efficiently and uses Bittorrent to seed while the 
user watches (with no setup or intervention by the user)
* Accessibility.  Looks like the project is getting bullied with a game 
of whack-a-mole, probably due to pressure from Hollywood. AFAICT there 
is no new technology being used-- the original devs used mostly 
pre-existing libs to make something that is easy to use.  What everyone 
on this list can do using Transmission and VLC can now be done by 
non-experts.

How to stop the game of whack-a-mole?

There needs to be something like a "popcorn kernel" team.  It should use 
exactly the same API as the software currently does, but just have a 
place where the user can type in an address from which to pull the 
content.  It'd be pretty easy to host a tracker with one or two public 
domain titles and test with that.  Then if a site like archive.org 
decides to adopt the YTF API to access its public domain videos, users 
can just add that address and start streaming the content.  (And again 
because they are also seeding this helps out archive.org, so it's a 
win-win.)

That would remove the only controversial line of code-- the url of YTF-- 
so that anyone who wants to improve the software may do it without being 
bullied.  Also, if there were a well-known organization dedicated to 
hosting and defending free software that could host the repo and front 
page it would lower the risk of a rogue, suspicious site putting up 
downloads with malware in them. (And each time Popcorn-time gets 
resurrected at some new domain that risk increases.)

The original code is still on github.  Not sure about the other 
incarnations.  It's worth noting that there seemed to be quite a bit of 
activity on each incarnation (bug fixes, improvements) so it might be 
worth it to try to find a link to the most recent incarnation.  (And 
since it's git it should be easy to audit the changes.)

I really wish I knew javascript and node.js.  Then I'd just do it myself. :)

Best,
Jonathan



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