The Department of Justice (DOJ) has secured guilty pleas from two programmers who ran massive illegal streaming sites, following an investigation by the FBI’s Washington Field Office.
Darryl Julius Polo plead guilty “to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement, one count of criminal copyright infringement by distributing a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution, one count of copyright infringement by reproduction or distribution, one count of copyright infringement by public performance and one count of money laundering.” His co-defendant, Luis Angel Villarino plead guilt “to one count of conspiracy to commit copyright infringement.”
According to the report, at least one “site called iStreamItAll (ISIA), an online, subscription-based service headquartered in Las Vegas that permitted users to stream and download copyrighted television programs and movies without the permission of the relevant copyright owners. Polo admitted that he reproduced tens of thousands of copyrighted television episodes and movies without authorization, and streamed and distributed the infringing programs to thousands of paid subscribers located throughout the U.S. Specifically, Polo admitted that ISIA offered more than 118,479 different television episodes and 10,980 individual movies. In fact, according to the plea agreement, ISIA had more content than Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and Amazon Prime, and Polo sent out emails to potential subscribers highlighting ISIA’s huge catalog of works and urging them to cancel those licensed services and subscribe to ISIA instead.”
Evidently, Polo ran a sophisticated set of automated scripts that scoured pirate sites, torrents and Usenet groups 24/7 looking for new content. The content was then processed, stored and made available to subscribers of ISIA and Jetflicks, the other site in question. Both ISIA and Jetflicks were designed to work on a variety of operating systems, mobile devices, set-top boxes, consoles and smart televisions.
The level of sophistication is truly impressive and likely only a taste of what’s to come as technology continues to be democratized.