What just happened? Two Las Vegas men have pleaded guilty to multiple criminal charges related to their involvement in running two of the biggest illegal television show and movie streaming services in the US. The sites would steal copyrighted content from legitimate services and sell access to subscribers through unauthorized outlets.
Per the US Department of Justice, 36-year-old Darryl Julius Polo pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of copyright infringement by reproduction or distribution, one count of criminal copyright infringement by distributing a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution, one count of copyright infringement by public performance and one count of money laundering.
According to his plea agreement, Polo operated a site called iStreamItAll which was a subscription-based online video streaming site based in Las Vegas that served up copyrighted movies and TV shows to stream or download. Specifically, Polo boasted of the fact that his service had more content than Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime and Vudu with around 118,479 TV episodes and nearly 11,000 movies.
Automated computer scripts were run around the clock to locate, collect and process new content for the service.
Co-defendant Luis Angel Villarino, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement. In his plea agreement, Villarino said he worked as a programmer for Jetflicks (as did Polo), a similar service that also made unauthorized content available to users.
Sentencing for Polo and Villarino is scheduled for March 13, 2020, and March 20, 2020, respectively. Other defendants in the case are slated to head to trial from February 3, 2020.
Andy Chatterley, co-founder and CEO of online content protection agency Muso, said television is the most popular content for piracy. “Given the fragmentation of content across multiple streaming services, perhaps this isn’t surprising,” he added.