If you’re on the internet and don’t know about Popcorn Time, the ‘Netflix for free’ software, you’re probably in a country that has somehow blocked it. In a nutshell, it lets you stream huge amounts of TV shows and movies for free, via torrent sites, while simultaneously downloading a copy of what you’re watching to your computer. Did someone say ‘legally questionable practices’?
Aurous, on the other hand, claims to be completely legal, or at least on the less grey side of the legal divide. It’s a piece of software that, once installed, lets you stream music for free, without ads and without downloading anything to your device. Its creators claim that it doesn’t stream anything directly from illegal filesharing websites that use the BiTorrent protocol. Instead, there’s an internal database of links to content, from where search results are directed to users using the BitTorrent protocol, since it delivers those results faster. You can also import playlists from other services, such as Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube and Pandora. Aurous also says it will help users compensate artists; it has signed up with ProTip, a sort of tipping service that uses Bitcoin’s blockchain technology to pay rights holders. We’re not sure about how long this particular piece of free lunch will last, given the way piracy watchdogs have gone into hyperdrive mode in the last while, but until such time, we have to say it’s hard not to like it.