cCloud, the once-popular and massive IPTV linking service, has decided to shut down citing a combination of legal pressure and a shortage of development support, reports TorrentFreak.
Promoted as the ‘Popcorn Time for Live TV’, cCloud was one of the first services that offered users access to premium IPTV streams for free through an easy to use interface.
cCloud used to work by scraping third-party sources to find free streams, showing them in a single interface that could be accessed on the web and platforms such as Roku and Kodi.
How Did cCloud Come Into Existence?
The cCloud project was started by ‘Bane’ who developed it as a tool for personal use when he could no longer afford expensive cable subscriptions. He decided to bring all pirate IPTV streams he could find into a single service.
The moment this service was made public, it gained popularity leading to an increase in the number of users.
“A week after launch, the website already had some heavy traffic, likely because it was so easy to use. After two weeks it had already grown beyond what I ever imagined,” Bane said.
The torrent-based app Popcorn Time was in the news back then. Bane cleverly used this opportunity and started promoting his service as the ‘Popcorn Time for Live TV’.
Takedowns And Legal Pressure
The growing popularity of the service, as well as an increasing number of visitors, caught the attention of copyright holders. Unhappy with the service, they started sending DMCA notices to Bane demanding links to their content to be removed.
“It was scary when I got my first DMCA,” Bane told TorrentFreak. Out of fear of being imprisoned, Bane pulled everything offline.
However, he didn’t feel it right to shut down the service permanently amid the high user demand. Since cCloud didn’t host any copyrighted material and depended on third-party links, Bane brought it back after a week with a more detailed explanation of its working.
This led to a decrease in the number of DMCA notices which in turn brought cCloud back on track. With help from volunteer developers, it kept growing and increasing making it one of the most-used apps on Kodi, Plex, and Roku.
While the project kept expanding, there was always a threat of legal pressure. For instance, the Canadian lawsuit that was filed against TVAddons in 2017 notably named cCloud as an infringing service.
A year later, the popular media player Roku also decided to ban the application, likely over copyright infringement concerns, which resulted in developers exiting the cCloud project.
Exodus Of Developers
“After the TVAddons situation things kind of went downhill. Developers who were helping me with various platforms decided to leave for good,” Bane recalls.
“So I was left all alone and had to manage all of the servers and the backend for each platform on my own. I tried to get help from developers and some tried to help but, once they realized how much work is involved to keep things running, they just gave up.”
Although the streaming link scrapers are automated, they are required to be frequently updated as ‘publishers’ update them constantly, which meant keeping cCloud online with a one-man team was not possible.
“cCloud Bots scrapers have been running for years but they are not bulletproof. Just like any other scrapers, they break if the source changes or is updated,” Bane says.
Decision To Shut Down
While cCloud worked, most of the time, it did consume a lot of time and effort. With the number of users decreasing, Bane decided to voluntarily shut down the service.
“Things have been running fine for years but sometimes you just have to let things go so I have now made the tough decision to let the project go,” he says.
While the official cCloud site remains online, the scrapers are no longer updated which means that the service is pretty much unusable now. Also, for the last months, many of the premium channel streams are not working.
“Most of the users want premium channels and those won’t be there anymore. The sad reality is that cCloud is dead already,” Bane notes.
The main servers are set to expire next month and the developer has no plans to renew the server in November either. This means that cCloud will eventually dissolve.
While Bane is upset about shutting down the service, he believes it’s for the best. cCloud served its purpose whilst proving a point. It may have also helped some big content providers although in a small way to offer IPTV services that are more common today.
“There currently are a lot of legal IPTV alternatives out there. This was not the option when I started the project five years ago. Today you have Philo, Hulu, YouTube TV, Fubo Tv and many more.
“In general, all of the big players have already stepped into the IPTV arena with affordable costs and stable streams,” Bane concludes.