A Pirate’s Netflix?

Recently, Netflix has started offering their movie and TV show streaming services all over the world, with a few exceptions. While they now have to cater to a lot of different customers all over the world, their subscription prices remain the same for most countries of the world, and that is a problem for some of the poorer ones. If we also take into account the fact that the global versions of Netflix only have ~12% of the content the U.S. gets, then it really isn’t surprising at all to discover that people have found countless ways to cheat Netflix.

First, people changed their VPNs to access Netflix content, especially when Netflix wasn’t available globally. Then, crackers have started selling stolen accounts for 25 cents on the black market. Now, however, since Netflix promised to take down access via VPNs, a new threat emerges from pirate land.

Torrents Time is a new plugin for modern browsers which allows people to directly stream movies and TV shows from popular torrent websites in-browser. In a short time, the plugin has garnered enough attention from pirates that The Pirate Bay has started supporting it.

This isn’t the first service of this kind, as Popcorn Time and Popcorn Time Online also allows people to watch torrents through streaming, but because it has to host its own content, it is a larger target for anti-piracy groups, and thus is not as reliable as Torrents Time, which streams from other sources.

Because nothing is ever truly free, while you can download, install and use the plugin free of charge, you will have to start paying to protect your IP via VPN. You will get a warning that your IP is unprotected, and that you can try “Anonymous VPN” for $2 per three day trial. After that, you can sign up for $12/month or $70/year. If you’re using this service solely because the Netflix selection doesn’t please you and you aren’t afraid to pay a bit for your security, this service is for you. The creators seem to get their share through Anonymous VPN’s referral system, so you’re paying them for their work as well.

Of course, just as any other big pirating service, Torrents Time was quickly targeted by anti-piracy groups. This came as no surprise to both creators and early adopters, as it was obvious that Hollywood would go after them in a heartbeat. They were already sent several cease & desist letters, and because the website is hosted by LeaseWeb, which had to deal with piracy issues before, they might actually get shot down in no time if they don’t cease distribution of the software.

However, it seems that Torrents Time has a legal team of their own, which has responded to the biggest legal threat, by sending an aggressively-worder letter: “In your letter, you take the liberty of accusing my clients of distributing an ‘illegal application.’ We deny that allegation, as being un-substantiated, false and illegal in itself, under the laws of the Netherlands. You are therefore advised to seriously re-think you cease and desist demand and advise my Clients that you withdraw your demands,” the response continues. “You are also hereby warned not to attempt to take action against any third party who utilizes Torrents Time or hosts it or co-operates therewith in any other manner.”

At the time of writing, Torrents Time is still online and functional, but some people have claimed to not be able to get it working. We do not know what the future holds for this service, but given the talented and passionate team behind it, I’m guessing we’ll hear more about Torrents Time in the near future.